For the past six days, I have been living in the hospital. Saturday 9 P.M., because of stomach aches which frequented with fever and nausea, I decided to bring myself to the ER of the nearest hospital from our home.
I knew there was something strange but I thought I should just get a doctor’s prescription for a pain reliever so I could go back home and get some sleep. Little did I know, it will be the beginning night of a week-long fatigue.
At 10 P.M., intravenous medications were injected to me. I confirmed that something was really wrong when the pain relievers (which were so strong that each accompanied a burning sensation) were not easing my stomach pain. This is only when I decided to call my mom (Sorry, ma, for all the worrying I caused!!!).
There were three initial assumptions: problem either in my kidneys, ovaries or intestines. To know, I had to undergo Blood Tests, WAB Ultrasound, CT Scan, Papanicolaou Test and Transvaginal/rectal Ultrasound. All these, including injections after injections, happened in about twelve hours.
Sunday 3:00 P.M., a surgeon confirmed that I have Appendicitis. Immediately, I was admitted and scheduled for an early morning operation.
All my plans and schedules for the entire week shattered right before my eyes as the doctor said that my post-Appendectomy recovery will last for two weeks.
- Urgent projects at work got me worried. I did not know how I will notify my clients and bosses about the situation.
- I also worried about who will take over my discipleship group schedules. Cancelling on them was not an option, but I did not know how to delegate to/ask who either.
- I also learnt that I won’t be able to play tennis for the next six months therefore, I am going to miss out training preparations from December to February for a competition on March.
- The answer to who will be my bantay while I am in the hospital was also a concern since my mom and sister have work appointments that they cannot just drop on-the-spot.
“Lord, how should we get through this?”
Where is God when these things happen? Where is God when crisis seems to negate the promise of his blessing upon those who follow Him?
To be honest, God made His presence constantly felt in grace-filled ways:
- He caused an instinct to kick in, to respond with a sense of urgency when I realized something was wrong. The doctors said that if I had waited/delayed it the next day, my swollen appendix could have ruptured. It could have been worse without God’s leading.
- God also embraced us and covered us with the prayers of family and friends, their visits, and kind words.
- He was able to provide the right person to take over my discipleship group schedules this week until next week (Thank you, Grace!). She even took the time to visit me in the hospital not only to ask how I was but to ask how she should go about the discipleship duties.
- God also synched the schedules of my mom, sister and another church friend so I won’t have to be alone in the hospital. I am blessed by how they have taken care of me especially when I could not lift myself up, lie myself down and even walk. They were the ones who took care of the things that I needed so I could focus on resting.
- God also touched the hearts of my bosses and clients at work — that even though most of my projects with them are urgent, they understood and even sent their well wishes. I am especially touched that my closest colleague dropped by for a surprise visit.
I woke up an hour before they carried me to the OR on Monday morning. I asked God what He wants to tell me on that day, and this is what He said: The Lord Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen… For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back? (Isaiah 14:24, 27)
He truly comforted me with His sovereignty. And as I was laying inside the OR while waiting for the Anaesthesiologist, I was reciting Psalms 23:1-3 in my head: The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
The operation took longer than expected but nonetheless, it was a success. God held on my appendix, not allowing it to burst but be removed immediately. God also gave wisdom to all the doctors and specialists who took care of me. God answered our prayers not because of anything we could offer Him but because He is good, sovereign and able!
The beginning of the post-operation recovery period was pretty tough and painful. I could not move and my stomach would often cramp. Pain relievers and antibiotics were continuously injected to me. I could not sleep but I felt groggy. There was even a time when my blood pressure went low and I had a hard time breathing. Some nights, I was feverish. Some days, my arm nerves would pop because it could no longer keep up with the IV flow. I also remember wanting to lift myself up from the bed on my own but could not.
In pain, I begged my Father, “Lord, this is so painful. Please help me.” And yes, He guided me through and through.
I had longer times reading the Bible, meditating on the chapters of Isaiah. I could not journal/write because both my arms had drip injections, but I won’t forget those intimate conversations with Him — from two in the morning reminders on how I should remember and seek Him first in all that I do to afternoons when I would just tell Him all that has been bothering me lately. And He would comfort me.
I also praise God even in such circumstance because He allowed me and my mom to make new friends while in the hospital (nurses, co-patients, co-bantays and doctors). By God’s grace and leading, my mom and I were also able to share the gospel to my co-patient and one of her friends. I also had a fruitful conversation with my mom about Jesus and how His life should impact ours.
Few hours ago, I was discharged from the hospital. I am now at home and will be staying in for the next eleven days in order to recover. God released me free from the pain and even free from all the hospital bills!
See, it is very easy to question God during unfavourable and painful situations. In an article of Dave Zuleger entitled “Can A Good God Bring Pain?”, he said: “So, what is the good from God in pain? Where is the joy in suffering? It’s in more of God. It’s more dependence (2 Corinthians 1:9), less sin (2 Corinthians 12:7), deeper faith, and increasing, everlasting, unshakeable joy that can only be found through refining. To be sure, this process only works if you have a vision of life and reality that prizes God’s glory as the only place anyone can be fully and eternally happy.”
And in an article of Janel Barr entitled “God Chose This Trial For Me”, she said: “The valleys of life are low, but they are also deeply filled with grace that we would never be able to experience at the top. Trials help us see the character of God in ways that we can never experience when everything is going fine. I bless the Lord when he gives ease and calm, but more than that, my heart longs to know God in a deeper, more intimate way. Often, this requires my faith being tested in ways that I may not want or by circumstances that I would not choose. When our hearts start to despair and want to scream out, “Enough!” we need to fight the urge to believe that God’s sovereignty in our lives is cruel. The fight for faith in suffering is the fight to remember, believe, and feel the truth that in all God is, and in all God does, he is good and works all things for our good — even if we need to reach the end of the story before we see how.”