Five years ago on a Good Friday my chest was opened up and 2 blockages in my heart were bypassed with veins from my left leg.
I was frightened but mildly relieved that rather than being admitted to a psychiatric ward for imagining fatigue and periodic shortness of breath; I was being admitted to a hospital. I thought it was menopause, being overweight and well, getting old. But open heart surgery at 55? I was in shock.
I tried to convince the doctor that after waiting a whole month to see him, I could wait until after Easter. My grandson was coming to visit and there was the Easter Egg Hunt at the church, Easter Sunday dinner. But the doctor (and Thad) was adamant. When the doctor said that I had “the widow-maker” and could die, I got the message loud and clear.
I was frightened. I was most definitely frightened. The Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz kind of frightened. I was more afraid of the pain of healing and recovery than about surviving. I knew eternity was in my future and although I did not particularly want to exit stage left right then, I was ready to join a new caste and a new play if it was God’s will. It was the path from here to eternity that made me want to shout “Stop the world, I want to get off!”
But it was Good Friday. As I lay in the hospital bed on morning of surgery, I had ample time to wrestle with my thoughts and feelings.
I thought about God’s plan for me. God’s plan… Good Friday… Jesus on Good Friday…
My surgery paled considerably when I thought of Jesus being tortured and nailed to a cross this very day. God loved us so much that He sent his son to be the sacrificial lamb so that we might walk with Him to eternity. I thought about the pain God must have felt and the pain His son, Jesus endured on our behalf – on my behalf. In that moment the “peace that transcends all understanding” descended on me and that changed everything. Prayers turned into peace. Fear turned into faith. My heart and body lay in the hands of the surgeon, the anesthesiologist, and the nurses who God had graced with gifts of healing. But my soul rested in the hands of my creator, my Father, Lord God. All would be well.
While I may have gained another scar showing both my path of pain and spiritual gain, Easter that year and every year since has filled my heart and renewed my soul reminding me of God’s ability to make each of us a new creation and each day a new beginning.
The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10