When I was twelve years old, my mother dragged me to my annual physical at our local doctor. Once given me a clean bill of health, I dropped to the ground with a sigh of relief.
I’ve always had a flair of hypochondriac in me. Every stomachache is a burst appendix. Every cut is going to cause me to bleed out. Every sore throat is a need for my tonsils to be removed.
However, unlike a true hypochondriac who desires to talk of different ailments, I go the opposite way, purposefully refusing to look up or speak of symptoms because I am also one of those people impacted by the power of suggestion and can somehow identify with each and every symptom once they have been named.
Three weeks ago, I found a lump on my breast. I waited a day or two, then true to my before mentioned characteristics, I began to assume the worst, constantly balancing my thoughts between distractions and wondering what it would be like to face an untimely end.
Somewhere in the middle of that time, my Italian teacher* changed my weekly lesson time that week from 2 pm to 11 am. I have roughly an hour drive to class, and on this particular day I was slightly distracted by this physical dilemma, constantly switching between praying and worrying.
*I’ve told you about this right? Ho imparato l’italiano per un anno ora. That’s Italian speak for I have been learning Italian for one year now.
When I got on the northbound side of the turnpike, the truck lane was closed off. I made watching for the closure’s cause my on again, off again focus. It turned out two exits north of mine a truck had flipped onto its side and while there was a short back up for the trucks, it didn’t appear to be anything major.
Fast forward to my drive home when I was approaching the spot of the accident. Every northbound lane of the turnpike was at a standstill from that point until a few miles before my exit. As I stared at the people literally stuck there, with nowhere to go, I looked at the clock, the bright blue numbers of 12:45 pm twinkled up at me. It was the exact time I would have been getting on the northbound side of the turnpike, heading for a wait which would have resulted in immediate stress and most likely a missed lesson.
Something about that gave me momentary peace about my situation. I knew God had orchestrated my schedule that day to keep me from the anxiety and frustration which certainly would have ensued.
Because if there is one thing this Jersey girl cannot keep her cool in, it is stand still traffic.
A few days later, I had made up my mind to schedule an appointment with my gynecologist to have the lump checked.
Being the kind of person who can be easily convinced they are coming down with the black lung, I also tend to be the kind of person who would rather pretend everything is fine than schedule a doctor’s appointment*.
*Don’t worry, Mom, I still attend my annual appointments with all my major doctors.
It didn’t surprise me at all that I lost my nerve and decided that no, I would not be calling the doctor that day.
About ten minutes after I made up my mind, the number to my gynecologist’s office lit up my phone.
In the fifteen years I have been going to this doctor, the only time the office has called me was 1.) To tell me I missed my appointment* and 2.) To leave me the automated reminder message about my upcoming appointment. Most often, when I make my annual appointment it is set in stone because my doctor is one of those amazing doctors who you have to make sure you get in the books for months in advance.
*This happened once, I promise, when I was 19-years-old and incapable of waking up for an 8 am appointment (and, apparently, also of maintaining a schedule).
“We need to reschedule your annual. She actually isn’t going to be here that week,” the receptionist’s voice said casually to me.
All I heard was, I see you. I care about you. I have orchestrated this for you.
God is so good; he doesn’t shake his head at us when we do stupid things like worry ourselves sick and then still refuse to call the doctor. Instead, he scoops us up in his hand and says, I will be your strength. I will walk with you through this.
This is a pretty vulnerable post for me, sharing with you my deep fear of doctors, doctor’s offices, sickness, etc., not to mention my irrational inability to take the initiative to have something checked out by the doctor but, as always, I felt prompted to share because it is my hope it might strengthen someone else by showing just how much God cares about the little details in our lives.
God knows the things which terrify us into momentary paralysis. He cares about the minute details. The ones other people will ignore or blow past. While He doesn’t stop giving us challenging moments, moments where he tests our resilience and tries to make us stronger than we ever imagined we could be, when we fail to trust him, he doesn’t punish us. Instead he carries the weight of our burden and shows us he has been there with us all along.
He knew every moment I put off seeing the doctor I was going to be living in the fear of What if? And when I couldn’t be strong enough to do what needed to be done to relieve myself of this worry, he stepped in.
How awesome is God? He’s reading your mind awesome. He’s 24-hours ahead of you awesome. He’s phone calls that don’t normally happen awesome.
I saw my doctor and she told me, in that loving, reassuring way she has, that she was certain the lump was a cyst. She sent me to have an ultrasound to be certain. Despite all her reassurances I still went into it terrified. Girls my age get ultrasounds to look at their baby for the first time, not to have the insides of their breasts examined. I tried to study Italian flashcards in the waiting room, but couldn’t help studying every woman who came and went before me. And then it was my turn. I was in a dark room, laying with towels on my chest and within a few minutes, I had my results. The doctor came into the room and told me everything was fine.
I got into my car and cried; the opposite reaction you might initially assume I would have at such news. I couldn’t contain the relief within me; knowing God loved me enough to calm my fears and cover me with His love.
When I got home there was a flower delivery on my doorstep. Coincidentally, my appointment ended up being the same day as the 17th anniversary of the day I said yes to being Lance’s girlfriend.* It was the best box of flowers I have ever received in my life.
*This year in particular is special because it notes half of our lives spent together.
How awesome is God? He’s changing your plans months in advance for this very moment awesome. He’s having your ultrasound scheduled for the anniversary of your first date with your husband awesome. He’s calming your fears on a noncancerous lump in your breast awesome.
Better still, I know despite this good feeling I have now I will fail again. Better, you ask? Yes. Because one day my insecurities will pop up again and get in the way of God telling me he has it under control. And once again, I will see a God who doesn’t get annoyed with me for making the same mistake. A God who doesn’t quit on me because my faith is weak.
How awesome is God?
He’s unfailingly awesome.