Thursday, January 17, 2013

Comfort in the Maw of the Medical-Industrial Complex

My spouse had microsurgery on his spine yesterday, and it's looking like it was successful, although it will take time to know for sure.  But as of last night, at least nothing catastrophic had happened--and we were surrounded in the recovery room by people who were not so lucky.

Along the journey yesterday, I experienced many comforts.  The main one was knowing that so many people were praying.

Do I know for sure that the prayers changed anything?  No.  In fact, I cannot believe in a God who says, "OK, I've gotten the requisite number of prayers for Carl, so, instead of paralysis, I'll send him health."

No, that is not the God I worship.  The God I worship set up a universe that has laws and gave us all free will to make decisions that may be painful.  I do believe, as C. S. Lewis posits, that God will occasionally disrupt the laws of the physical universe so that the grandeur of God may be revealed.  I also think that God cannot intervene in our decisions that we've made of our own free will unless we ask.  I don't know that God will always intervene.  I don't know much at all, but I have hopes.

For the most part, I pray not to change God's mind, but because I don't know how to do anything else.

I was also comforted by the kindness of the hospital staff.  From the minute we entered until the moment we left last night, everyone was calm and professional and warm and welcoming.

I was also comforted by whisps of the Bible that went through my head.  I was comforted by images of God as a mother bird sheltering us under her wings.  I was comforted by the image of God holding the whole world in God's hands.  I was comforted by the idea that we can emerge from dark valleys safe and whole.

Most of all I held fast to the idea that death and disease do not have the final word.  God has a plan for the redemption of creation and that plan is underway.  It isn't complete yet--thus the death and disease.  But it is underway.

I think of all the people who comforted me with a smile and with grace under pressure.  I hope to be that kind of comfort as I move through life.  I pray to be that light in the world.

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