Driving the Road to Hana on the northeast coastline of Maui, Hawaii, can be treacherous. There are 617 hairpin turns and fifty-nine one-lane bridges. Carefully navigating this narrow winding road for sixty-four miles creates constant tension for the driver. It is hard to enjoy the tropical scenery while being transfixed on survival.

The Road to Hana illustrates my journey with Jasmine. She was isolated for the first two weeks in the ICU due to COVID, meaning even I, her husband, could not visit her. I spoke with her nurses twice daily to receive updates on her condition. Each time, I felt the grip of underlying tension in my gut, like driving around a blind turn on the Hana Highway. Sometimes the narrow road was clear with encouraging signs of improvement. Still, other times the news was disheartening—disappointment, a setback, uncertainty. It became clear that progress would be slow, and I prepared myself for a long journey.

If you have been on a similar journey, you can relate to the emotional struggle that I experienced under those conditions. I could only visit Jasmine by video. I spoke words of encouragement—of people praying, updating her on things happening with the grandkids, and looking forward to the day she would come home. I prayed that God opened her ears to receive my words and lifted her spirits, but I could not know for sure. While trying to lift her up, deep down, my heart was filled with sadness and grief because I wished I could see a smile, a wave, anything that said, “I hear you,” but the only movement was the rise and fall of her chest being controlled by the ventilator. The only sounds in the room were the whirl of the ventilator and beeps from machines that indicated she was alive.

The blind turns on the Road to Hana compel the driver to remain vigilant, but there is more along the way. Remember the bridges? Sometimes you just need to park, get out of the vehicle, and stand on a bridge to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation—the waterfalls, the rock formations, and the lush green forests. Those times are relaxing and refreshing. Standing on a bridge meant reflecting on the hundreds of people praying for Jasmine’s healing and pausing to spend private moments with God.

Hana is the destination for most people, but they miss the wonder that lies beyond. Only a few miles past Hana are the Pools of Oheo, also known as Seven Sacred Pools, with beautiful waterfalls feeding into pools of fresh mountain water. While we prayed for Jasmine’s physical healing, God was taking me further on this journey. He always has a purpose for everything that happens, and I did not understand why God would take Jasmine down this path. She certainly did not deserve it. I now realize an integral part of His plan and purpose was to deal with me, to excavate the depths of my soul. Questions arose from within:

Was there something within me that He wanted to dislodge? 

Was there something I needed to surrender, confess, repent of, or commit to? 

What had my relationship with Jasmine been in the past? 

How would it be different in the future?

Like sitting beside a quiet pool at Oheo, I reflected on what God might be doing in me, and He revealed what He wanted of me.

(Adapted from a chapter in the book by Morris Isara, What Now, God?, available on Amazon)