It was a beautiful sunrise. The pale light of dawn had brightened into a glorious golden glow, kissing the clouds with tints of pink and orange as it heralded the arrival of a new year. But idyllic new year feelings were the furthest thing from my mind. As I watched the sunbeams dance across my hospital bedsheets, my thoughts retraced the events that had brought me there. Two nights earlier, I had suddenly developed an excruciating pain in the lower right side of my abdomen. I was rushed to the emergency room where I underwent emergency surgery to remove a ruptured gangrenous cyst. Now I faced a hospital stay and several months of recovery.
For the first twenty-four hours after the surgery, I was too overwhelmed to think clearly, but as the pain lessened and the shock subsided, questions came in a flood. I felt confused, discouraged, and afraid.
It was then that I noticed a pair of tiny birds soaring into the dawn, and I was reminded of a verse: “What is the price of two sparrows—one copper coin? But not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.”1 It was comforting to be reminded that my life rests in God’s hands, and that He will always be there to help, hold, and guide me, no matter what comes my way. “I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’”2
The year that followed proved to be an unforgettable one. The surgery was the first of many health struggles during the subsequent weeks and months, yet I felt Jesus always close by my side, comforting me, giving me His grace and strength, and reminding me of His unfailing love and care. The difficulties and challenges were balanced by countless beautiful experiences, blessings, and joys that gave me a deepened appreciation for life and for the One who does all things well.3
As another year dawns, I think back on that New Year’s morning at the hospital. The memory reassures me that my future, while unknown to me, is known to Him. With my hand in His and my eyes on His promises, I can trust Him for the year ahead.