My friend Lori discovered just how faithful God can be when she had to have a polyp removed from her throat.
On a whim, I called my friend Lori to ask her if she would work in the nursery during our church revival. She was sick, she told me, with what the doctor diagnosed as a throat infection. Yet Lori seemed scared and distressed, more than a throat infection warranted. I tried to sympathize with her since I used to have a lot of throat infections.
“You’ll feel better once the antibiotics kick in,” I told her. “I’ll call you in a couple of days.”
But when I called again, Lori was no better and more agitated. “I’m just sure there’s a polyp in the back of my throat,” she said, near tears. “I’m so afraid of what it might be and we don’t have insurance.” I surprised myself with my take-charge attitude. I got her to promise she would call a specialist right away. Then we prayed together.
That’s when God joined Lori on her journey and left multiple visible imprints on the path of the next week of her life.
Immediately after she hung up, Lori told me later, she felt a peace and confidence she had not felt, that everything was going to work out. So she called the doctor. The receptionist told her there was no way they could work her in quickly – at the very soonest, the next Monday and even then, she wasn’t sure. “You also have to pay $200 up front,” she told Lori.
Lori hung up, not sure what to do next. But God was behind the scenes, working in her behalf. That afternoon, a nurse in the doctor’s office called. “Our receptionist kept thinking about you and she’s been bugging me to call you,” she told Lori. They scheduled an appointment for that Monday. Meanwhile, her husband Dave got his paycheck which, are you surprised, was for $200 above the usual amount.
Monday, when the nurse did the initial intake, she told Lori that usually the doctor would want to remove a polyp in the hospital and he did surgeries on Fridays which would mean yet another four days of discomfort. Yet when the doctor examined Lori, he told her he could take care of it right then and there in his office. Because it was done at the office, they significantly reduced the total bill by over half.
Here is the most precious part of this story to me. Before they went to the doctor’s office, Lori and Dave stopped by a Christian bookstore. A basket of trinkets sat by the cash register and Dave fished out a small pewter looking piece the size of a pebble with the word, “TRUST” etched into the pebble. Lori told me that she clutched that trinket in her hand the entire time the doctor examined her and removed the polyp – not as a good luck charm, but as a constant reminder to keep trusting the Lord through every step of that journey.
Two days later, Lori dumped her change purse into the church’s Wednesday night supper donation basket, forgetting her trust stone was in there too. The person who counted the offering never saw it and Lori thought, well maybe someone else will find it and be blessed by it. A week later, someone else found the trinket left on a table and Lori got back the stone that had been her reminder of God’s faithfulness.
A song that has become very special to me is the Bill and Gloria Gaither song, “Through.” The last few words of the song say,
“Through the pain and through the glory
Through we’ll always tell the story,
Of the God whose power and mercy, will not fail…to take us…through.“
Jeff Vines, in his book, “Unbroken,” writes of the God who takes us through the journey of suffering.
He says that God reveals Himself in a very special way “to those whose hardships seem unbearable to the rest of us.” He also says, “God’s desire is not to save you from suffering but to save you through it (pp. 28,29).” God could have prevented the polyp in Lori’s throat. Instead, he walked through the journey with Lori, reminding her at every step that He was with her and she could depend on him.
Even as God was with the three men in the fiery furnace, even as He made His presence known to Dave and Lori, He will be with us no matter what we face. We may feel He has abandoned us, says Jeff, but our feelings do not represent truth. God is still there. Nothing will separate us from His love.
The final post-it note of God’s presence came when the nurse called with the results of the lab report on the biopsy – the polyp was benign. But you know what? Even if it had not been benign, I’m totally confident that Dave and Lori would have still experienced the presence of Jesus as He walked that journey with them.