The Faith of Abraham
It seems that God has used so much in my life to help me understand Him better, it takes me a bit longer than most people to get things.
Although I know this isn't true I can't help but picture Him slapping His forehead, gritting His teeth and grabbing for a heavenly aspirin when it comes to this child of His. When I was younger I had such difficulty relating to some of the Bible stories, there were a lot of troubling ones to me. The hardest one I think was Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac. No matter how hard I tried I just couldn't understand how one could do this and do it so willingly. I practiced avoiding the troubling parts, yes I could see how this related to God giving Jesus as the ultimate sacrifice, but still this was a human parent of a human kid.
And of course it didn't bother me much until I had become a parent myself.
One day, my oldest son said his throat hurt. This wasn't uncommon, he got swollen glands a lot and of course they had wanted us to get his tonsils out. Not having any insurance was a big issue at the time and we had put it off and continued all the home remedies every time it flared up.
A few days later he said it was still hurting, I noticed a slight lump on his neck just below his ear. Deep down I felt a panic, I talked myself into the gland being extra swollen and needing more medical attention, maybe some antibiotics or something. We went to the pediatrician and that is what he offered. Said it was really swollen more than he had ever seen but the infection was probably severe. He prescribed some medicine and said in three or four days the swelling should start to go down and he was to take them for a week.
I quietly observed the lump getting larger rather than shrinking, again a panic deep down. I finally shared with my husband my fears that this was something more. We prayed, but the lump continued to grow. We went back to the pediatrician and he said all it needed was another round of antibiotics that were a bit stronger, but if the swelling wasn't reduced in a couple of days to get back in there. In a couple of days it had grown even more.
I had some very tearful and prayerful nights. When we returned to the dr.'s office his face became solemn, he said he had never seen any thing like this before and referred us to a specialist.
The specialist said he had never seen any thing like it before and hooked us up with someone who was even more of a specialist than he was. This doctor was in Phoenix, close to 200 miles away. I had prayed so earnestly that God would heal him or when we got there he would say he had seen this all the time and all we needed was some totally different medicine.
After the examination, this is not at all what he had to say.
It was some sort of cyst, might even be cancerous and we needed to get him in for a biopsy right away. It was all arranged for us to be at the hospital the next morning. I was a mess, besides not having the money for all of this, I couldn't handle the message he had given me. I prayed and prayed all through the night in our motel room.
Finally I had some peace by the next morning, I was going on the fact that at least we would find out what it was and they would treat it and it would be done and over with. They had to put him out to do the biopsy, he looked so little, he was ten and had never been in the hospital before.
They wouldn't allow me to be there by his side to hold his hand or be there when they woke him up.
After about an hour the doctor came out and said that through what he observed doing the biopsy it was just a small cyst and all it needed was some draining and then some strong antibiotics to take care of the rest of it but they wouldn't know for sure until the lab results were all in which could take about three or four days.
I was feeling so victorious and rejoicing all the way home.
We had been home two days and the phone rang, it was the Dr. in Phoenix telling me we needed to get back there immediately for an operation because it was a fast growing cyst that had to be cut out or it would cut off his throat completely and they still didn't know whether it was cancerous or not. The Dr. said he would make all the arrangements and for us to leave that night because he wanted to see him at the hospital at 6 a.m the next morning.
My legs buckled, the tears flowed and the questions began.
I was just in shock.
As they were prepping my son for the surgery the doctor met with us. Told us this was a very serious surgery as he would be cutting deep into his neck. Said it would take about an hour and a half with several surgeons assisting. We headed to the waiting room which was full of other anxious moms, dads, wives, husbands and friends all waiting as we were to hear the final word.
The story of Abraham kept coming to my mind, honestly it made me a little angry. I did not want to think about this now, I wanted to think about all the good things God had promised, all the things that made me happy not the things that were so serious or deep.
My husband and I would absent mindedly reach for each others hand and pray silently.
When two hours had passed and there was no word even when we asked, I got down on my knees in a waiting room full of strangers and began to pray out loud. I told God I knew what the story meant now....and I was trying with every thing in me to love Him more than one of the most precious gifts he had given me, I asked him for help. I told him that I completely was giving in to His will, if he chose to take my son I would still love him and serve him but he would have to help me so much to do this.
I also asked if Him if it was possible through His will to let me keep my son I would make sure to keep this in my heart forever and not forget, to tell every one and I thanked Him for helping me to see the story of Abraham with a different heart.
Before I was finished there was a voice that called for my husband and me by name. When I got up off my knees, the waiting room full of strangers were holding hands, some of them had their heads still bowed. It was one of the assistant surgeons who had just come from the operating room. We looked at him with hopeful eyes but with a peace we hadn't had. He said, "It was touch and go for a few minutes in there but he is fine and he is being taken to recovery where you can see him in a few minutes."
The main surgeon came up behind him as we said, "Praise the Lord", and he nodded his head and said, "yes, you need to do that because it wasn't us that pulled him through."
Of course the tears flowed, but they were tears of adoration for our Savior and relief that God's heart had been tender towards us.
A week later the surgeon called and said it was something they had never come across before, but it was not cancerous and they had apparently got it just in time before it closed off his throat.
My son, now 27 has a slight scar on his neck from that day...it is my reminder every time I look at him of God's great love and the story of Abraham.