I was reminded the other day of some scripture that has gotten me through my life for the past 7 years.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 NIV
Someone in a group I belong to asked if anyone had quotes and scripture on a few topics, including perseverance. I immediately sent this one.
Back in the fall of 2008, I had surgery to replace my right knee. It had taken me several referrals to find a doctor who would do it because I was “just” 50 years old and they prefer their patients to be around 60 to reduce the risk of redoing the surgery. But I found a doctor who agreed to do the surgery and it was very good that he did – in recovery he told me that it would not have held up for another 10 years!
Two weeks after surgery I went to my family doctor to get the staples out because my surgeon was away. I was concerned that it was still very red and swollen, plus the pain levels seemed to be getting worse. I was worried that it looked infected and my doctor confirmed that it was. She gave me an oral antibiotic and wanted to see me in a week. The pain and infection were worse so she was concerned enough to send me for IV antibiotics at the hospital.
This was not a pleasant experience. At that time we didn’t have the outpatient centre in the city I live in and my GP doesn’t have hospital rights here so we made a trip across the bridge morning and evening every day for two weeks. I was getting sick either after or during each treatment. My veins are difficult to find and they had to keep changing the port placement because it would become irritated. I had to get friends to help out for the evenings as Hubby was working and the surgery was on my right leg. I wouldn’t have been able to drive even if it was the left leg because I was so sick. Between pain and getting sick, I had no appetite and no energy. Even though the external infection was healing nicely, I started running a fever. This led them to believe the infection was internal.
By this time, my surgeon was back and one of the things I like about him is he is cautious. Even though a test didn’t come up with any internal infection, he decided he was going to operate again to flush it out. And, he wanted me to be admitted so that I could get the first available surgery time and they could administer the antibiotic (a different one) in smaller doses over time.
Two days past and I still didn’t have the surgery. The pain was getting worse – those with chronic pain will understand this – if I push the call button to get more morphine, the acute pain I have is very severe! So, the doctor transferred me to a different hospital, even further out, as he would be doing surgeries there all day. It was the hospital I had the original surgery at.
The next afternoon I went in for the surgery. When I woke up, the doctor told me I was lucky. My body produces scar tissue at an accelerated rate and it was pushing on a plastic plate. He had to insert a thinner plate to make room for the scarring. There was no infection inside; however, if I hadn’t had the topical infection I probably wouldn’t have gone to see about the pain until my next check-up with the surgeon a few months later. As it was I had my two surgeries one month and one day apart.
So, to skip back a bit to the when I was admitted to the first hospital for the second surgery, a lady came around with a bible and asked if I was a believer. When I smiled and said yes (I was reading a popular Christian novel at the time), she came in and we talked briefly. She lent me a bible and said to just leave it in the room when I left. I was going through my favorite book, James, and came across the scripture above. It really spoke to me in that moment. We were feeling so many trials (not just about my leg) and this passage gave me hope.
Well, the next evening I was transferred and in the morning while waiting for my surgery, I continued reading my novel. By this time I had my own bible which hubby brought me with other items I needed. The same lady came into the room and we smiled at each other though I knew she was confused. I explained about being bumped and she understood. She volunteers at both hospitals on different days.
We got talking again and I shared the verses with her. She said this was a favorite of hers as well and we discussed at length what it meant.
I am finding as life sends me trials, the more joy or positives I can find in them, the stronger I feel. It is easy to give in to things that challenge us; however, with faith and practice, you can find joy at the end of it all.
What joy did I find after two knee surgeries, an extended amount of rehab therapy to help the leg bend and straighten properly and the news that the scar tissue was continuing to grow? I bought myself a couple of jazzy canes so that when I needed them at least I looked good! I also can take joy in knowing that the Lord is always with us, especially when things are seeming to be at their worst.