Saturday, April 16, 2011

God uses surgery to majorly bless us

For about two days, Jon had been complaining that he had stomach pain. Jon's body is pretty sensitive to the things he eats and to his environment, so we really thought it was just something simple. By the end of day two, this pain became persistent and sharper, and he really felt that it would be best to go to the ER just to find out what was going on.

Our lovely friends graciously watched Daphne for us and we headed over to the hospital. The waiting room was relatively empty. There was a little girl who had cut her foot and some waiting family members of an ER patient. We waited the obligatory hour or so, and then Jon got called back. I remember thinking, "This is probably just something he ate, or he pulled a muscle lifting weights, and they're going to tell us everything is fine."

In the hospital room, we were separated by a curtain from an older woman who had experienced a strange dizzy spell. She told the doctor that she became so cold it felt like she had been placed in a meat locker. The doctor solemnly said, "Like you were cold." Jon and I looked at each other and died silently laughing. We spent a lot of time laughing in that room, and we realized it was the longest amount of time we'd spent together alone since Daphne was born.

"I feel like we're on a date," I shyly said to my husband of three and a half years.

Poor Jon got stuck with a lot of needles and then had to have a CT scan. As we waited to hear the results, we sat with each other and counted our blessings. It was so wonderful to know that we had friends who could watch Daphne, we had jobs that were flexible enough for us to take off because of the ER visit, that we had a God who was going to be by our side no matter what the results were. It was so nice, this conversation we were having, so nice to just give thanks in that hospital room.

Not that we were really all that worried. Jon's stomach had actually stopped hurting, and he was slightly annoyed that he decided to come. Then, Dr. Whitehead ("Dark hair, Whitehead, that's what I say to help people remember me," she said when we first met, grabbing a hunk of her very curly hair), came in and said with really no prelude, "You have early appendicitis."

"What?!" Jon said at the same time I said, "Oh!Em!Gee! Are you serious?!" (Yeah, I can't believe I said that, but I did.)

We were stunned. It meant he would have to have surgery, something neither of us have ever done. Fortunately, they caught it early, which meant we could go home that night and get some sleep before surgery the next day.

God orchestrated that so perfectly. If Jon hadn't come in when he did, it's possible his appendix could have ruptured. God gave Jon time to go home and eat, to sleep, to pray. He gave me time to clean our apartment and prepare for my mom to come stay with us so that she could watch Daphne. There were so many blessings weaved throughout this experience that Jon and I marveled at how good God was.

This wasn't the last time Jon praised God during this situation. Not surprisingly, after he came out from the anesthesia, Jon apparently repeatedly declared, "God is good!" When our pastor came and prayed with us later, he hoped that someone in the recovery room was touched by God through Jon's praise. I hadn't even thought of that, but it made me smile.

I'm married to a true man of God. I complain without end about how he doesn't pick up after himself, about how he says he'll do the dishes 'tomorrow,' about how he doesn't do everything exactly my way, and this is a man I could have lost. Granted, appendectomies are very common, low-risk surgeries, but as they wheeled him away from me down to surgery, a piece of my heart sliced open in sadness at how I treat this precious gift from God. We talked briefly about what could happen, and we prayed several times surrendering our control to God, but it was in that moment that I truly realized how much I'm blessed to have Jon as my husband.

Later, Jon told his visitors that this experience had brought him closer to God than he had been in a very long time. He explained that the cares of this world and his responsibilities overwhelm him daily. He noted that now that we are truly in over our heads, as far as things being out of our control (specifically doctor bills that we certainly can't pay), he feels at peace. We absolutely must trust God and surrender because this situation is beyond our reach. And that gladdened his heart like nothing has for years.

It's strange to say that surgery blessed us, but throughout this entire experience, we were confronted with blessings. We are both so grateful to God for the revelations of goodness and also for Jon's healing and recovery. The God we serve has a better plan than we could have had for ourselves. I mean, who would plan an appendectomy for their life? Probably no one. But, without this one, our family would have missed out on a lot of gifts from our Father.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

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