Sunday, June 01, 2008

Truth Part 4

Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. (James 5:14)

While I was in the emergency department a couple of people came to see me. The first was my pastor and the second was my best friend’s husband. After being home alone for 36 hours in pain followed by being in two different hospitals for 18 hours before they took me to surgery it was amazingly comforting to see people I knew. I also had a sense of being taken care of. I ended up having someone with me until I was taken up to surgery.

While my pastor was there he anointed me while oil and prayed over me. I believe that is the moment that God saved my life. Later the doctor told me that the appendix was really bad. It had perforated in a way that was safer than if the main part of my appendix had ruptured. My appendix was ½ hour to 45 minutes away from rupture. I was already really sick and weak. I didn’t have a lot of reserve left. I can’t prove it. I just know. If my appendix had ruptured I wouldn’t have survived it.

So what if I hadn’t been anointed? Why are others anointed and still die? I don’t know. I do know that God is bigger than our symbols. I know that He makes choices over life and death and I don’t understand them. Of course He could have saved me without the oil. He was in the process of saving me by nudging me to go to the hospital at the right time and making sure I got the surgery in time. I still believe in the power of being anointed.

The knowledge that God saved me should have filled me with joy. Instead thinking about how close I came to death upset me. I couldn’t figure that out. I know that part of the problem was that the experience was just plain traumatic and I had to process that. Yet there was something more. I knew that there was something else I needed to figure out.

One day about a week after the surgery I figured it out. If I had died, what hole would I leave in the world? Yes I know people would miss me. But how would people’s lives be different if I was gone? What difference would it make? Six months after I was gone what would be worse about the world than before I left it?

I know that I have heard people ask that question or prompt me to ask that question of myself. I have never felt it as deeply as I did after the surgery. God had spared me and my life should mean something. Why was I saved and other people who are way more deserving than I am die? Why do children who have so much promise and life ahead of them die and I live? I had this sudden realization that in many ways I have been wasting my life.

Once I had that realization I also came to the conclusion that it was too much pressure to decide what it was God wanted of me right then. My job at the time was to heal from the surgery. Since then I have been waiting for God to show me what it is that He has planned. I have been frustrated because my physical healing has been slow (and complicated by foot injury on the opposite side.) Today I decided that those revelations come one day at a time. I need to rest in Him. Perhaps that is part of what the anointing was about.

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