Photo Credit: Mikaela Hamilton
The past week was a whirlwind. On Monday I went to my primary care doctor because I had an infection in my lower lip. She seemed a bit concerned, so she gave me some antibiotics and sent me home to recover. Needless to say, I didn’t recover. The infection went from bad to worse and landed me in the ER on four different occasions and then finally I was sent to a specialist, who was so concerned about the infection that he immediately ask my wife Liz to leave his office so he could perform, “Civil War Surgery” on my lower lip, which left me physically and emotionally traumatized.
On Wednesday night things still seemed to be getting worse and the doctors were concerned that the infection might spread to my brain. In general, infections in the brain are not conducive to a long life. So my wife and I prayed for protection and healing. I told Liz and my kids that I loved them. I cried a bit and then I went to bed. By Thursday things started to slowly improve and since then the infection has slowly gone down. So it seems at this point that I’m out of the wood. The Civil War Surgery on my lip and the strong antibiotics are working.
Needless to say, the whole ordeal has been emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually draining. It’s tough coming face to face with the frailty of your life. It’s hard paying co-pays and seeing the doctor’s bill increase. It’s difficult going to bed thinking tonight could be your last night. And yet in the face of this difficulty, I wanted God to teach and train me. So as I went through this ordeal, I asked God to reveal things to me. Here are four things that I learned.
- I am not alone. During this week, there was a host of people who prayed, called, posted on my Facebook wall, and sent encouraging texts. Each buzz of my phone was a reminder that I am not alone in this world. My life matters. God has graciously surrounded me with a lot of good people and I am thankful for each one of you. Especially for my mom, who called to say she had a dream that I had died from the infection. In general that is not an encouraging word.
- I married well. This entire week Liz has been a star. Not once did she complain about waking up throughout the night to give me my medicine. Not once did she grumble about driving through the snow to the ER at 2am. She was good to me in my time of need. I am grateful for her.
- Waiting for healing is necessary. Here is a dose of reality. Healing takes time. At the start of last week, I didn’t like this reality very much. I wanted healing for my lip now. I wanted the pain to be over. I wanted redemption now. But then I realized that God has been patiently waiting for the healing of our entire world, ever since sin destroyed our world in Genesis 3. This helped me to see that healing is something we wait for. It doesn’t happen quickly. And so I need to get comfortable waiting. My healing will come. But it may not come as quickly as I would like it to come.
- Jesus Is Always With Me. As my body shook, as I went through “Civil War Surgery”, as I lay in bed not knowing what was going to happen, Jesus’ words from Hebrews 13:5 echoed loudly. I will never leave you or forsake you. I literally spent hours preaching those eight simple words to my soul last week. I preached them to my soul in the ER. I preached them to my soul when I was under the knife. I preached them to my soul when I couldn’t sleep. Those eight simple words were repeated 1000s of times to my soul and they gave me buoyancy as I faced the storm in my body. In this, I learned that I need to get good at preaching those words to my soul. Jesus will never leave me or forsake me. In whatever situation I face I need to remind my soul that Jesus is with me.
At this point it seems that I’m out of the woods. But if I not, I know that Jesus is at my side and he will walk with me every day until my final day when I see him face to face. I hope you have that same steadfast anchor for your soul.