Thursday, March 22, 2018

And On the Third Day in Hell …

by Mary Ellen Shedron

Even in my strangest dreams, I never envisioned myself alive or dead in Hell.  Yet in waking life, a most bizarre 72-hour nightmare thrust me straight into Hades’ utter blackness.  In the nightmare’s throes, I lost sight of the God who never forsakes.

In the end, He made good on His eternal promise.

Two physicians allowed pain to ravage my body, mind and soul as they suddenly decided to play “referral roulette” with my life while refusing to write a prescription for pain medication … not even enough medicine to last until I could make contact with their referred specialist.

Just so you don’t think I was trying to scam the doctors for meds and make fast money by selling to street junkies, I am a patient of both physicians.  One is a primary care physician, the other a neurologist.  The pain med?  Something I’ve taken by prescription for roughly 10 years to battle severe neuropathy pain from multiple sclerosis.  The “referral roulette” game threw me into cold turkey withdrawal.

Through the first 24 hours, I tried to stay busy and hopeful, constantly reminding myself it was NOT my loving God who caused this situation, but humans.  I forced my mind to repeatedly recall Job’s plight and how God abundantly blessed him for his faithfulness through immense suffering and loss.

My hope began disintegrating about hour 26.

Loud and repeated begging of God to allow sleep to offer some respite went unheeded.  As my body wrestled with itself to cope with the assault, panic attacks became an almost welcome diversion.  Their length and severity became a separate challenge to tolerate.  As endless hours wore on, breathing became labored.   My heart thumped.  My head throbbed.  I was disconsolate.

By hour 50, I hastily wrote instructions for my family: No visitation. No funeral. No obituary. Cremation.  As my body silently screamed, death seemed the only viable outcome … either by my body’s complete shutdown or my own hand.

Soon, my mind and soul slipped into a dimension of transcendent darkness.  I cursed.  I railed at God, whoever and wherever he was.  “So all your perfect promises in Deuteronomy and Hebrews about never forsaking me are worthless!  Lies, all lies.  How could I be so naive?”  I cried.  I screamed.  My fists pounded and bruised my legs as if to cause diversionary pain.  It brought only momentary relief.

In day three’s wee hours, I began driving to a hospital emergency room.  Not far into the trip I stopped, turned around and drove home.  Why go to an emergency room for help?  Doctors, albeit not the ER physicians, allowed this nightmare.  Dare I risk being denied help again?

I couldn’t conceive how the pain could possibly worsen, yet it did. “Oh my God” I cried over and over and over.  “You promised not to forsake me.  My God, what happened to you?  WHERE ARE YOU?”  I was no longer able to recognize my God’s presence.


dear god


Now barely able to walk, I somehow forced my legs to move so I could try once more to drive to the ER.  Apparently, my car knew the route because my mind was waging its own war vs. driving.  Should I have called 911 and requested an ambulance?  Of course.  Why didn’t I?  My pain-drenched mind told me “they” would just label me a strung-out addict who wanted a quick fix.  Since God had forsaken me, how could I count on any mere mortal to truly help?

Leaning heavily on my walker, I shuffled into the ER … the dreaded location of endless waiting, crying children and terse staff.  At 4:30 a.m. on the third day, a friendly voice greeted me.  Within mere minutes I was wheeled to an exam room.  A  most kind physician immediately rent the curtain of hell encircling me.

When he and the nurse momentarily left the exam room, I lay back on the cot and gingerly rested my pulsating head on the pillow.  Instantly my tear-swollen eyes locked onto the overhead light suspended from the ceiling.  Though the light wasn’t turned on, I could see the outline of my body on the cot in the light’s reflector panel.

Though I was the only person in the room, I could see a dark-haired man standing at the foot of the cot dressed not in hospital garb, but a flowing white gown.  His facial features were nondescript. He spoke not, but a most soothing comfort emanated from Him.

A drug withdrawal hallucination?  An overactive imagination fueled by ungodly pain?  A delusional mirage?

“My God!  My Savior! You DIDN’T forsake me!  O, precious Lord!”

His soothing comfort calmed my soul.  I knew He heard my cries and numbered every tear.  Though my railing again drove nails through His hands and feet, His forgiveness flowed freely.

I know not every aspect of why my trek into Hell occurred.  I do know my God did not fail or forsake me.

For now, that’s all I need to know.


Mary Ellen Shedron    Mary Ellen Shedron   After a 23-year career in print/broadcast/web journalism, Mary Ellen now pursues God’s heart and her passion for encouragement writing.  Catch her latest inspirational outreach via  At 50-something, Mary Ellen is single and wonderfully blessed with family and friends who help her battle multiple sclerosis.


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