We’ve heard it all too often: overcome fear with God’s word and lots of prayers.
But how do we actually apply it on a practical basis especially when it comes to major decisions such as surgery?
I recently underwent a major surgery at St. Luke’s Medical Center QC that entailed opening part of my abdomen so the doctors could get something out.
I had a whole year planning about it, thinking, praying and even agonizing about the surgery. Thing is, I have never been hospitalized before and just the thought of needles and the smell of disinfectant on hospital floors made me cringe. Still, I was certain I had to go through it especially after hearing God reveal a promise on a ministry that I would be involved in after the surgery. A gentle whisper from God as I was reading my Bible one night made me sure of three things: God gave me a ministry; He would strengthen the ministry and third, I would have to go through with the surgery.
Delaying and bargaining
In my heart, I understood I have to go through the pain of surgery to be free from something that has gripped me for quite some time. It was an elective type of surgery which meant it was not an emergency procedure but it had to be done to correct the situation.
In 2013, I already went through laboratory procedures. But for some reason, I did not get past the clearance stage with the cardiologist. I had already completed all the tests but when I first came to him, I ran a fever so I was not cleared that week. When I came back, he was not in because of a family emergency. After a couple of weeks, I saw him but this time, I had a nasty cough so he did not clear me for surgery. The following week, he had a flat tire, he was not able to come on time. That drama went on for a couple of months and I looked at it as a sign that maybe I was not meant to have the procedure yet. So I decided to defer it. Needless to say, my family and friends badgered me into going through with the operation. I told them I had not given up on it but I just have to wait a little while to ease my anxiety too. Yes, going to the doctor’s office repeatedly stressed me out.
A sister of mine told me to find another cardiologist next time seeing it also as a sign to switch doctors.
During the time of ‘waiting’, I bargained to God and asked him if he could just supernaturally remove the lump inside me and make me a miracle case. But deep within me I know His answer. I know surgery was going to happen.
I came to a point when I could really feel God’s voice inside me asking me what is it that I am waiting for and why I have not returned to the doctor yet. He said everything that I have asked for prior to the surgery are already in place: my car, my monetary resources and the people who would pray for me are already present. ‘What are you afraid of? What else do you need?’ I felt God ask me intuitively.
In truth, I feared for my life. I was afraid I would lose so much blood on the operating table, I was afraid something could go wrong. I was afraid of things that I know would never happen because God had already promised me that something beautiful would happen after the surgery. Still, I felt afraid.
It took a lot of prayers and spiritual warfare before I was able to overcome this. I read a lot of scriptures, I listened to a lot of teachings from my favorite pastors and I asked friends to cover me with prayer so that I could defeat the work of the enemy in my mind.
I knew I already had the decision that I would go through with the procedure and something inside me said I should not wait longer lest I want the season of grace to expire.
Still, I did not go back to the doctor because I didn’t have the time for it.
I was too busy with work and it occupied my mind day and night. Heck, there were days when I would forgo lunch just to beat the deadline. That eventually took a toll on my health that resulted to a high fever one weekend. I had to take a sick leave for two days until I was well.
The Right Timing
Despite the nagging feeling inside me urging me to go through with the procedure, it seemed I could not find the time to go to my doctor - until something unexpected happened.
It wasn’t until I remembered aaking God to propel me into the procedure in His own way that I enabled me to make peace with what happened to me at the office.
Despite my hardwork, I was unfairly treated at work and was even accused of abandoning my responsibilities. The supervisors wrote a rather discriminating letter to me and my ‘neglect’ on my duties. This totally caught me off guard because never in my entire many years of service have I intended to slack off from my duties. I had been give time off of a week from work and during that time, the most logical thing for me to do was to back to my physician and re-take all those laboratory tests in preparation for the procedure. Come to think of it, I finally have a week for my health. Still, my heart cried out to God. ‘Lord’, I said, ‘Please hear me out. Vindicate me. Bring justice to me. You have placed me in this career, you are the rightful judge of my labor. Please do not let your daughter be treated unfairly.’
After a week, I came back to the office and presented to my superior, my doctor’s letter ordering my hospital admission scheduled on the next day itself.
One of my superiors even quipped ‘So it was providential,’ referring to the supposed ‘punishment’ meted out on me.
"Remember the gift you gave me two years ago?" my superior said. "It’s a booklet that said everything happens for a reason. I read that and I committed it to memory."
When I heard that, my heart warmed. In my own little way, I have ministered to her and I felt joyful. I praised God in my heart.
The unfair situation actually worked to my advantage.
It brought to mind one of my favorite verses:
"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Genesis 50:20
For the Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants. Psalm 135:14 ESV
So this explains why throughout the week, my flesh was agonizing but my spirit had this certain peace that told me to wait on God. A calm, small voice reminded me incessantly that God is in control and He is my vindicator.
This verse anchored my prayer to God during that week of trial:
"May the Lord judge between you and me. And may the Lord avenge the wrongs you have done to me, but my hand will not touch you. 1 Samuel 24:12
The Day of the Operation
I’d like to say that I woke up really early for the 8AM schedule but in truth, I didn’t reallt sleep at all. Anxiety was there the whole night not to mention the room visits by two nurses and one doctor that effectively interrupted my sleep. Before I was wheeled to the Operating room, I said a quick prayer thanking God for the beginning of my healing season and asking for forgiveness for all my sins - the ones I am aware of and the ones I am not aware of. I told God that I am honored that He used me as a conduit of blessings to other people and I thanked Him because I know that He will use me more after the operation.
I was still a bit nervous as I waited to be taken inside the OR itself but that sense of peace knowing that everything is according to God’s plan consoled me. I held that peace before everything went black.
Waking up to a brand new start
I made it through the procedure! The first two days were difficult as it was marked with nausea, fatigue, lots of pain and discomfort but it was fun too. Many of my friends came to visit me and showered me with gifts and food and prayers.
After three days, I was served solid food! Two days of IV fluids and soft food, I was excited to taste real food again.
I suddenly realized I have friends who actually care for me. They made the whole experience easier and many of them reached out even while I was at home recuperating.
More importantly, I have become a deeper, more mature person deep inside.
Indeed, I am willing and ready for the ministry God has promised me.
Because of this experience, this I know for sure:
"Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven
With the saving strength of His right hand.” Psalm 20:6 (NKJV)
**Are you up for surgery too? How do you feel? You can reach me at twitter @I_will_flourish**