Beat. Beat. Beat.
I’m somewhat of a hypochondriac, and when I get nervous, I take my pulse. I don’t always completely trust this pacemaker I have inside me, a metal box ensuring my heart beats when it is supposed to. Kind of like I don’t always trust this great God that made me and has already numbered my days according to His perfect plan. I prefer to trust God with a back up plan, like having an ambulance within dialing range or a doctor that is highly qualified and speaks my language.
When I moved overseas, I thought a lot about counting the cost of leaving family and friends. I didn’t think so much about leaving my doctor. But this has proved to be one of the things I really miss about life in my home country. I like the security of feeling like I can get an accurate diagnosis and quality care when I go to the doctor. But it also the part of my story that God has used the most to bring me back to my knees when my trust in self, or a medical system, has replaced trust in my heavenly Father.
Sometimes it has been dramatic, like the time I was SOS’d out on a plane to Hong Kong with a misdiagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy. Or the time I woke in the night with a fluttery feeling in my heart that resulted in getting on a plane that very night bound for America and surgery.
There have been many less dramatic stories that nonetheless involved lots of cultural stress–navigating local hospitals where you stand in lines, only to stand in more lines, only to discover that was the wrong line. And when you finally do see a doctor, you find yourself in a room with half of your clothes off along with 10 other patients and several doctors. Privacy is not a high value where I live. Neither is listening to the patient’s opinions and feelings.
Not to mention the countless pieces of advice I have been offered by those in my host culture that see health problems in a rather different light. “Wear more clothes, don’t let the wind hit your back, don’t run the air conditioner or drink ice water, don’t let your children wear so few layers, eat spicy food to cure diarrhea.” All of these and more have been thoughtfully offered as the root of any health issue I might have at the moment.
Through it all, the underlying question of my metaphorical heart is–do I really trust the God who made me and brought me to this place? Or do I trust a system I had gotten used to as my security. He has shown me time and again that He will take care of me. And He has. As much as I might sometimes wish otherwise, I am thankfully still under God’s knife as He does surgery of my heart.
I trust, but I let myself wonder “what if”? What if He doesn’t come through this time? What about my kids? What if something happens to them? What if this health issue means we have to leave this country? However as I look back at my last fifteen years in this country, I am thankful. Thankful for opportunities through my health struggles and the less than ideal hospitals and doctors I have encountered–to trust. Not a medical system or a great doctor. But the one who created me and called me here. And I as reach to take my pulse the next time, I am reminded that with each beat there is a testimony of his faithfulness to me through my health. And that no matter where I am in the world, it is “He that first made me still keeps me alive” —Sandra McCracken.
How has God used the medical system in your country in your life?