Modern medicine often makes it difficult to have empathy with people who are ill unless it is a terminal condition or an imminently life threatening illness. Most situations are common, everyday, and routine. People go through different procedures everyday with only a little discomfort and they are back home or work in just two or three days. Everyone has knee replacements, angiograms, gall bladders removed, hernias repaired – no big deal. It happens every day.
You make visits to see how people are faring after surgery. You let them tell all about it and you respond a nod of the head and a murmur of platitudes. You finally say a fairly generic prayer and leave. Then, you move to repeat the process in the next room in hospital or you go to the home of the next person who is or has been ill. This is not to say that you are devious or uncaring. It simply means that the illnesses of other people, and their accompanying emotional baggage, are not yours to take as seriously as if you were the one who was ill. You care, but that care does not reach the depths of your being.
Then, one day, it is your turn. The common, everyday, and routine have become rare, immediate, and need special attention. It is now a big deal. You want someone to listen to you with empathy. You don’t want platitudes. You want prayer that will lift you to the throne of God for His healing to be yours.
You go on the Internet and read about your condition and the procedure the physician wants to perform: it will last so long and involve this or that, it can cause these side affects, this is what it feels like during the procedure, etc. Then, you read that a possible, but not likely, outcome is permanent internal injury or death. You are shaken to the foundations of your being, for you did not anticipate this happening to you – it happens to other people. At that point, you either give your concerns over to God, or you scream in the darkness as you are overwhelmed by fear and doubts.
In less than a week I will have an angiogram. It is my turn, now. And I can say that I am not screaming; I have turned it over to God for whatever healing He has in store for me. Amen.