And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:7, KJV

I was a senior anesthesiology resident; she was a 5-year-old patient with severe asthma. I will always remember the day we met. Let’s call her Jill. She was a frequent visitor to Loma Linda University Medical Center emergency department because of uncontrollable asthma, and she had been admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) many times in her short life. That day, I was called to help with an arterial line because Jill was again in the PICU; and, although she was doing better, she was still requiring repeat blood gases. As I walked in, I looked into her beautiful face with its shy smile looking up at me. She was sitting on her bed as big as life, with her legs tucked under her.

As we spoke, my wonder grew. Jill understood exactly why I was there and what I would be doing to her. As I set beside her, getting everything together, she pulled a pillow onto her lap, laid her arm on it with her little wrist up and said to me, “It works best this way.” While I worked, she never flinched and never cried out. She wouldn’t watch, but she always had a calm expression on her face whenever I glanced up to see how she was doing. After the procedure, I could not help but take her small hand and squeeze it. I told her she had been so brave and that I hoped she would feel better soon. She just gave me her shy smile and I walked out, never to see her again; but I was forever changed.

Where do we get that kind of unshakable peace? We all desire it, we look for it in different ways, and yet few people I know have achieved the peace that I met in that small patient. As Philippians 4:7 says, the peace of God “shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

This young girl had been to LLUMC on numerous occasions and had experienced help in her times of need. From these experiences, a trust began to grow, a peace, a knowing, that when she could not breathe and needed help, kind people were there, ready to give her exactly what she needed. Sometimes pain was involved, but relief would come. God asks the same of us. “Prove me now, saith the LORD” (Malachi 3:10, KJV). By reaching out, with whatever level of trust/faith that we have, God meets us there, rewards our faith, and little by little our trust in Him grows.

I was the recipient of a little girl’s trust, not because I was going to wave a magic wand and make her all better. No! In fact, I was going to hurt her and she knew it; but experience had taught her that LLUMC had kind people who only wanted good for her and who knew how to make her breathe easier.

Let’s lean into the experiences that are put in front of us, and, in them, find a God we can trust.

Charles Cook, LLUSM class of 1983, is an anesthesiologist in Portland, Oregon.