re-entered the waiting room just as the Linburghs arrived.
"Joanne!" Carol ran over to her
friend and put an arm around her. "Joanne, I'm here for you. It's
going to be okay."
Joanne looked up at Carol as if
she'd just noticed her.
"How do you know it'll be okay?
You don't know. Nobody knows what's going to happen. And why?
Why does everything have to be so unpredictable?"
Carol was stumped. As she stared
into the red-rimmed eyes of her best friend, she saw something
she'd never noticed before. Joanne had no hope. She had nothing
to put her faith in and felt that no one was in control of her
life. The only thing that kept a sliver of hope in Joanne's eyes
was the woman who had given her birth, the woman who lay weakly
in a hospital room nearby. Did I look so lost and without hope
only an hour ago? Carol wondered.
While Carol was pondering this,
her own mother came up beside them and removed a damp lock of
hair from Joanne's face. "Maybe God doesn't want us to know what's
going to happen because He wants us to put our faith in Him,"
she stated simply. "Do you believe there is a God, Joanne?"
Joanne sniffed and wiped her tear-stained
face with the back of her hand. "There must be. There's too much
proof for there not to be. I've always believed that. I just thought
God wasn't for me. But since my mother seems to think that God
is for everybody, I promised her that if she and her baby get
through this okay, then I'll give God a chance."
Mrs. Linburgh smiled and nodded.
"Your mother's right, but maybe instead of putting your trust
in God only if they make it you should trust God to help
them make it."
Joanne paused for a moment, then
nodded. "I guess you're right, but I'm just not ready to jump
into a lifelong commitment just because of the circumstances."
Mrs. Linburgh pursed her lips. "That's
true. Which is why you should trust God because you know He's
always going to be there for you, and because you know what He's
done for you. Do you know the sacrifice He made for you, Joanne?"
sniffed and stuck a stray lock of hair behind her ear. "Yes, My
mom told me many times. Jesus died on the cross to save me."
"Do you know what He saved you from?"
Joanne shook her head.
"He saved you from a place full
of fire called hell. It's a place of eternal death--always dying
but never escaping the pain. But honey, if you don't trust God
as your own personal Savior, then I'm afraid that's where you'll
spend eternity. I don't want to see you go there and neither does
your mother. That's why we worry about you so much."
Carol noticed her mother glance
at her quickly. She smiled to herself. If only she know that
I'm no longer lost and on my way to hell. The thought brought
tears of joy to her eyes. Lord, please don't let Joanne leave
this waiting room without knowing the kind of peace and hope I
wanted to agree, to accept the God of her mother and Mrs. Linburgh.
She really did. But what she didn't want was to be let down. To
be disappointed by God. She didn't know if she could handle it
if something happened to either her mother or her new little sibling
only a month after the death of her father. She shook away the
thought and tuned back to what Mrs. Linburgh was saying.
"…won't disappoint you, Joanne.
He knows what is best for us. For you. Whatever happens, God has
everything under control."
Joanne looked to her best friend,
who was smiling through her tears. Carol tightened her grip around
Joanne's shoulders and nodded. "We'll both be in this together,
Joanne. Melody helped me realize the same thing you're realizing
now. Now, whatever happens, I'm trusting God."
Out of the corner of her eye, Joanne
saw tears of joy start their trek down Mrs. Linburgh's cheeks.
Joanne's own expression was one of surprise, but she was also
comforted by the fact that she wouldn't be starting this new chapter
of her life on her own….Carol would be entering it with her. Joanne
sucked in a deep breath, then nodded her head. "Okay. I want God.
What to I do?"