My daughter-in-love recently sent me a video of my son introducing their new Golden Retriever puppy to a swimming pool in which he coaxes little Judah, “Don’t be scared! Bohlins don’t get scared!”
. . . While I’ve been working on this blog post about being scared. Well yeah, sometimes we do.
For four years I’ve been living with the pain of severe arthritis and the late effects of polio (muscle weakness, pain, and fatigue). In a few weeks, Lord willing, I will have hip replacement surgery. When my husband had his hip replaced, he was in excellent physical condition and his experience was as close to perfect as you can get.
But I’m in a different place physically. I haven’t walked in a year. I haven’t been able to stand up straight for a couple of years, and even lying flat in bed is extremely uncomfortable. My pelvis and hip joints have lost the flexibility that is a sign of good health, and I just don’t know how my post-polio will affect recovery from surgery.
On top of this, I’m a pain weenie. It turns out that the poliovirus affected everything in my body, including pain receptors, and we polio survivors are twice as sensitive to pain as everyone else. So . . . yeah, I’m scared of what I will wake up to after surgery.
My fear level kept rising. It didn’t help when people would ask, “Are you excited about your surgery? To get rid of the pain?” No! No, I’m not excited, I’m actually quite fearful of the post-op pain, and not knowing what to expect from physical rehab.
One thing I’ve learned in life, though, is that if we’re focused on our fears and anxieties, it’s because we’re leaving God out of the equation. He gives no grace for “what ifs” and our vain imaginations of potential scenarios where any number of things could go wrong.
That’s why worrying is a sin.
And the Bible says “fear not” 365 times.
So what do I do with my “scaredness”? [Note: Microsoft Word really, really wants to keep flipping “scaredness” to “sacredness.” Not the same thing. Not by a long shot.]
I sensed the Lord nudging me to share it.
So I did.
And I discovered, once again, the power of prayer.
It started when I needed a CT scan for the robotic assistance of my surgery, but I couldn’t lie flat on the table. The pain was unbearable. So I rescheduled the procedure and asked the surgeon to prescribe me some heavy pain meds to be able to lie down. I posted a prayer request on Facebook, asking for “lying flat grace.” I was able to tell the CT tech that over a hundred people had said they were praying for me—and she could see with her own eyes the answer to their prayers as I was able to lie flat and remain still for the scan.
So I was doing my part, by confessing Psalm 56:3—”When I am afraid, I will trust in You,” and reminding myself of the power of Philippians 4:6-7—”Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
But, in obedience, I also shared with another large group of people that I was working daily on surrendering my fears of post-op pain and inviting the Lord into my concerns about what lies ahead. Just like with the CT scan. God blessed the others’ intercession for me. To my delight, after I shared my struggle with fear, it was evident that lots of people prayed—because the next day I realized that my fear had dissipated like letting air out of a balloon.
The bottom line of this “adventure with God” is that I am learning, yet again, the importance of trusting God and relying on the prayers of others to deal with my fears. The importance of not indulging in scary mental scenarios where pain is bigger than the presence of God Himself. And of choosing to throw myself wholly on the grace of God and keep speaking truth to myself:
It will be worth it.
This too shall pass.
God will help me and uphold me.
It’s going to be okay because God is good.