Many years ago my husband needed a relatively simple operation. He did all of the pre-operative steps, paperwork and had a chest x-ray…which many physicians would never have ordered as part of this particular issue. The films were read and approved. The operation and subsequent recovery proceeded as expected. Problem solved. Proceed with life!
About five and a half months later, he began to notice some minor issues that occurred with increasing regularity. Life went on. The issues became symptoms and the symptoms became more significant. We found ourselves in an Emergency Room for tests at the end of a very long day. They ruled out what we thought was the problem, but noticed “something” on the chest x-ray and scheduled him for a follow-up appointment with a local physician.
Over the weekend, additional symptoms surfaced and within 4 days, we were being given a very scary diagnosis: cancer. As part of the medical work-up, the physicians mentioned that they “sure would like to have had a previous x-ray for normal-to-growth comparison” and lamented that one wasn’t available. They were surprised to hear that one actually was available and requested a copy for viewing.
The side-by-side comparison wasn’t even necessary…the mass was visible on the first film. Though it was significantly smaller, it was still visible 6 months earlier. There were several very concerned medical professionals—for a lot of reasons. They couldn’t seem to understand why we weren’t more upset that this “vital piece of medical information had been missed.”
Here’s why: We had the best surgeon in our area for the previous issue—one who knew us and loved us and went the extra mile to make sure everything was in good order before proceeding to do his job. Our surgeon friend routinely sent all of his films on to the best radiologist in the city because he was particularly qualified in this area. That means that the very best—most qualified–person for the job did his job…and still didn’t see it. I believe that was by design. God’s design.
How can I believe that? Well, I believe that God is good and that He is perfect (meaning: He does not make mistakes). He is a God of order and detail. I believe that He loves us and has a plan for our good. This was part of the plan.
What?! Yes. I believe it was part of the plan. I believe it because we were later told that if they had seen the mass prior to the first surgery—they wouldn’t have done the surgery…and if they hadn’t done the first surgery, my husband would never have even been able to survive the diagnosis stage because he would have been at such risk under anesthesia. See the plan now?
All these thoughts ran through my mind several weeks ago as we once again raced through the night for a medical emergency. Along with the prayers for a clear field of travel and that my husband would continue to breathe until we arrived was the prayer for the medical professionals we would meet to “see what they need to see” when we arrived. It had been my prayer all day and I had already seen it answered as we were, once again, graced with a wonderful physician who loves us and sprang into action on our behalf.
I’ve continued to think about this in the weeks since then.
- How often do we demand to “know it all now” when that really isn’t in our best interest?
- When will we learn to trust that some things are best left to other times and places?
- When will we recognize that there are lessons we need to learn now and that our focus will be shifted/derailed if we’re inundated with things that aren’t yet for us to see.
- What blessings do we miss in our concern over things that aren’t here yet—and might not ever come—all because we’re so focused on finding out things that don’t matter in the here and now?
- When will we learn to trust God?
I am not advocating the “ignorance is bliss” philosophy and I’m certainly not excusing anyone from doing the task in front of them with less than their very best. I’m simply suggesting that full disclosure by the Creator of the universe may not be our best bet, either. Sometimes things, information…and timing…are best left to the One who created us all.
Father God, in this week of remembering Your gift of eternal life through the death, burial and resurrection of Your Son, help us to see what we need to see. Help us to focus on You and be aware of how very much we are loved. Help us to trust You and, in the process, be available to see what YOU would have us see.