"Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death." Omar N. Bradley (1893-1981)
I guess a guy who served in the US Army during both World Wars, from Infantryman to first-ever chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would know something about bravery. General Bradley's time with Eisenhower in North Africa and again at Normandy should be enough to prove that to anybody.
And so this week I look to General Bradley's definition as I face major surgery. I want and need to respond to all the activities and interactions of this event in ways that will please and honor God. I just need to figure out how to do that when I'm scared more than halfway to death.
The final decision to undergo a hip replacement was mine; my conclusion that this is God's provision for me. It's been a long time coming and that's meant increasing discomfort and limitations over nearly three years. For a long time it was easier to cope with the pain and disruption to my life than consider a larger version of the same things via an operating room and rehabilitation.
In the midst of the heart-wrenching reality of walking forward into a painFUL procedure with unknown results, I turn toward God, my only source of security and strength. It's as if He speaks directly to me through His Son.
I wonder when Christ might have faced something similar. His words from Gethsemane come to mind, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death." "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me." "Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done." Matthew 26: 38, 39, 42
Jesus the Christ even fell on his face to the ground when He prayed in the Garden. He knew He wasn't heading off to a pizza party either. Yup, I'm pretty sure Jesus knows how I feel.
And yet, in spite of all that very real human emotion He carried, my Savior chose to move forward in the plan the Father laid out for Him. The same plan that's been in place before They even set the foundations of the world. The Christ of God actually walked forward into a horrifying death on a cross in spite of the all-too-human fear His must have felt. May His Name be exalted in all the earth.
Look, I know I'm not on a par with the Son of God. He was and is perfect. I am far from it. He was and is wholly divine. I am completely fallen flesh and blood.
On the plus side though, this same Jesus the Christ is my Older Brother, a role model of sorts for me. I want to follow His example as fully as the Father will allow and equip me. He's also my Advocate so I expect He's already whispering in my Abba's ear on my behalf.
When I go to the pre-op class on the 18th I want to put my debilitating fear in a box so I can digest the information that's given and ask whatever questions I have in order to be properly prepared.
On the 21st I will need to put my nearly-overwhelming fear in a box when I check into the hospital and begin the actual surgical process.
For sure, I will need to add a chain and padlock to that box when they wheel me down the hallway and through the doors of the OR.
I'm thinking the only way I'll be able to accomplish these monumental tasks is going to be the strategy my LORD displayed. I must ignore everything my senses will try to communicate to me. Instead I will fix my mind and heart, my entire being, on the All-sufficient One who made me in His image and watches over every detail of my life with His intimate, everlasting, and omnipotent love.
You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3
Are you facing something that means you have to be a Big Girl?
If so, let's pursue Jesus' strategy together.
You can pray for me and I will pray for you.
*unless otherwise indicated, all quotes are from NIV1984