Heart surgery was not on my short list of Things I Want To Do in 1990, but it turned out to be one of the things for which I was most thankful in my forty-nine years of life. Receiving a mechanical mitral valve was a valuable procedure that changed my life physically and spiritually. During my recovery period, both in the hospital and at home, I enjoyed the deepest communion with God that I had ever experienced. When I was wheeled into the O.R. I had such overwhelming peace that I had not even a twinge of fear; on the contrary, I felt happy anticipation and could sense God's presence as though He stood beside me holding my hand. If it sounds unbelievable, it was! But I was there and I know it was true .
Recovery and recuperation were painful; yet God gave me grace to identify with the sufferings of His Son, and thus learn to know Him better. Read on as I share my thoughts during that time with my heavenly Father:
Father, I have been at the doorway of physical death. My heart was cut open after its beating had been stilled. Without the knowledge and skill of the surgical team, the end of my life on earth would have come as I lay on the operating table. Yet, even knowing that beforehand, I could face death calmly and happily, knowing that You were the One to decide my fate. Jesus trusted You, Father, even unto death, and I trusted you, too.
When I awoke, I could not speak because of the tube in my throat. I did not take one breath without the machine that made me breathe. I was at the mercy of the nursing staff, humbled and helpless. Jesus, too, was humble and submitted Himself to the care of loving friends during His life. In death, His helpless body was gently and lovingly cared for by those who dedicated themselves to that task.
Alone in my room, sedation wearing off, I endured the pain of the incision in my chest, the sutures in my heart, the wires and tubes protruding through the cuts made to give them entrance. The breastbone, now back together after having been cut open and propped apart, was so tender and painful. But, as I struggled to turn or move in the bed, inch by painful inch, I remembered that your chest was crushed and bruised as You hung on the cross. Your breathing was difficult and painful, Lord Jesus, and you could not move without the greatest distress.
My hands and arms were sore and bruised from needles and IV tubes, but your hands were pierced with huge nails. Oh, the agony you must have endured as the weight of your body pulled on them, those loving hands that had ministered to so many.
Lord, there was no dignity in my hospital stay. I was made naked and ashamed; poked, examined, stared at -- until I wanted to be invisible. But what about you? The precious Savior, God of all creation -- stripped, beaten and hung for display on a cross!
Jesus, I know a little more of your sufferings now; an inkling of your pain and of the degrading experience of the cross. How I thank you for glimpses of YOU, suffering for me.
Yet, I know that the physical torture, the embarrassment, were only part of the suffering you endured as you bore my sin and the sin of all the world in your body. And, Jesus ---
the Father turned his back on you, But He held my hand all the way through my sickness, surgery and recovery!
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for your unspeakable Gift! I cannot experience the same suffering. I pray I will never feel far from God. I praise you for your love and sacrifice, and for allowing me to share the fellowship of your suffering and learn from it to adore you even more!
"That I may know Him,
and the power of His resurrection,
and the fellowship of His sufferings,
being made conformable unto His death."
For further insights into the sufferings of Jesus, read my poems "Forsaken"
"The One You Seek"
If you are seeking a relationship with Jesus Christ,
read my poem,
"The Road He Chose For Me"
which is posted on Skywriting.net