Yesterday, after posting my devotions on this blog, my heart decided to have hiccups again. At exactly 9:00 a.m., the rhythm faltered and I called for backup. The doctors told me not to let it go a day, but knowing what the ER is like Friday afternoons and evenings, my hubby took me in just before 1:00.
This time was different. I was not anxious, in part due to knowing what they would do, but mainly because of the Lord’s word to me about having a different attitude toward the threat of death. Even though that outcome was doubtful, the risk is always there with anesthesiology. However, my mind was on the people around me. I was able to talk about Jesus to one of the nurses. Then it came time for the cardioversion (electrical jolt to restore proper heartbeat). I closed my eyes, then opened them in what seemed like only a moment later — and it was done.
So again, the pulse is back to normal. Doctors changed my medication dose hoping that will keep me stable longer, and until a heart specialist sees me. I slept well and now look at another verse about Jesus as He faced a much more difficult trial than mine will ever be.
And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)
Dying on a cross for the sins of the world did not involve any anesthetic. Jesus would not be lying on a bed surrounded by individuals who cared about Him. No one would ask if He was in pain or even care that His anguish would go beyond human imagination. Not one of the people who were there would have any idea what it was like to bear the weight and feel the guilt of all that sin. No one gave a rip that His body would suffer as much as His soul. They just wanted Him dead and gone, out of their faces so they could continue as usual.
For someone who believes in the sovereign power of God, I understand why the crowds said, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” (Matthew 27:40) Jesus could have stopped all that nonsense.
But He didn’t. For the joy set before Him, He stayed there. For the souls that would believe and be saved, He stayed there. For the glory that would go to God because of His plan of redemption, Jesus said, “Not as I will, but as You will” and remained in that place of pure agony.
Yesterday I wondered if this trip for a “zap” could happen many times. The doctor told me he had one patient that came in every other day for weeks, joking that he “put my son through college.” I joked right back and told him I hoped he hadn’t decided now to buy a boat! Nevertheless, for a person who likes to keep up with her to-do list, the prospects of more days of even just four hours in the ER now and then is not high on my priority list.
Yet God reminds me that His will could be just that. Do I trust Him? Do I care that maybe the nurse who heard about Jesus needs to hear again? Or someone else does? Or that maybe He just wants me to have that attitude that Jesus had of “not my will, but Yours be done”?
I fully understand the “if it be possible” part and would like to bypass all this. Yet I also know that “this cup” is a reference to the wrath of God. I will never have to bear that. Whatever God has in mind for me, it will not include the weight and guilt of sin. Jesus has already done that. My sin was taken to the Cross and covered when He died for sin. He bore all the punishment, all the wrath that I deserve. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1) Because of Jesus, any will of God for me, even that which involves suffering, is not about punishment.
Lord, I have this notion about how I want to spend my time, but You have plans for me. Those plans could involve hours in a waiting room chair, or hours in a cubicle with an IV in my arm and a cardioversion cart beside my bed ready to knock some sense into my pulse. After yesterday, I see that Your plans might also involve opportunities to tell someone else about Your incredible goodness, or say to them what it means to be in Christ and have Your joy. Whatever it is, I cannot predict it or put it on my to-do list. I can only trust You to put me where You want me and give me the attitude and words that are in Your plan. What is really neat is that this a-fib thing is changing from being an annoying nuisance to another adventure with You at the helm.