Don’t panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. (Isaiah 41:10)
My wife just returned from the hospital to recover from a partial nephrectomy, where they removed part of her kidney to get rid of a cancerous tumor. She had never stayed at a hospital for any health issue before. So, after all these years, this initial admission was quite scary. The fear of what the surgery might find, the actual pain of the surgery itself, her frightening experience with a bad reaction to her meds—were all new experiences to her.
Finally, after 5 days, she was discharged and headed for home-sweet-home. Except she now discovered what 6-8 weeks of recovery meant. The limitations included no serious bending or twisting, no lifting anything over 5 pounds and taking a lot of pain meds. She hates swallowing pills. It makes her feel like throwing up. To avoid the nausea, she needs to have food in her stomach. But it’s hard to put food in her stomach because it makes her feel like throwing up. Kind of a catch-22. None of which helps in alleviating her pain. But she’s always been a tough person and she’ll get past all this—probably much quicker than the projected 6-8 weeks. Certainly, much quicker than I probably would.
It made me think of the Apostle Paul. Think of the trials he faced. First, he was dumped of his donkey and was blind for 3 days. He was put in prison a number of times, he was whipped more times than he could remember, he faced death over and over, he received 39 lashes from the Jewish religious leaders 5 times (40 lashes were considered a death sentence), he was beaten with rods 3 times, he was stoned once, he was shipwrecked 3 times, he spent a day and a night in the sea, was in continual danger from rivers, robbers, from his own countrymen and everyone else, he was often weary, in pain, and without sleep. Yet somehow, he managed to write nearly half of the New Testament (13 out of 27), start at least 14 churches and then revisit many of them as they grew.
And sometimes I think I’ve got troubles? Really?