“Treasures of Darkness” illustration by Gary Gaede

Advent Day 5 – Thursday, December 6

Be still and know that I am God.

The doctor said, “The biopsy I took shows that you have polyarteritis nodosa.”

I asked, “What’s that?”

“It’s an autoimmune disease. It’s rare. You need to see a rheumatologist. I’ll write it down for you and you can do research.”

So my husband and I left the doctor’s office puzzled and afraid. I spent that night at my computer, learning about this rare autoimmune disease. I discovered that it was so rare that perhaps I was the only one in the whole Sioux Empire who would hear this diagnosis. Further, I learned that, without treatment, I would probably die within five years. It was one of the darkest and scariest times of my life. Should I see doctors at the Mayo Clinic? Should I see a rheumatologist in Sioux Falls?

The rheumatologist I found in Sioux Falls had treated one other person with polyarteritis nodosa, in Grand Forks. How fortunate I was to find him! He was knowledgeable enough to bring my disease to remission in two and a half years.

Willis and I had built a water feature with a perennial garden in our yard. It became a place for me to be still, read, pray, and heal. God and I spent a lot of time together there beside the water. I could be still, and know who was in charge.

It’s been a while since remission, and yet when trouble touches my family, I fall back on Psalm 46:10—“Be still and know that I am God”—knowing that God will calm my soul. With God’s help, I am able to be quiet in the face of adversity.

Heavenly Father, remind each of us to just be still and know that you are ever with us to calm us in the dark times of our lives.

—Gail Hanna