Living with fear is something that everyone who lives in the world must do; but praying our fears is the privelege of God’s people. All through the Bible, you will find the prayers of people dealing with fear: Moses, Elijah, David, even Jesus.
His prayer in Gethsemane before the crucifixion is the prime example of how faith prays while in deep fear.
I soon found it was the only way I could pray about my fears, too.
MY FEARS AND PHOBIAS
In two of my most recent posts I was trying to start dealing with, and praying, my fear of back surgery. I have always had a phobia about being cut, sliced or stabbed. I still turn white as a sheet whenever I’m in the same room as a blood test needle. And I’ve always thought of back surgery as the kind of thing that never leaves you normal again.
When Your Surgeon Looks Disappointed was my response to the news that the emergency surgery I had on October 2nd wasn’t enough to fix my back and leg pain. At that time, I only wanted to hope I was “dreaming in slo-mo, or that a genius doctor will find the reboot switch, or that God will grant me a long and active life.”
What Faith Looks Like When You’re Afraid was my response to the news that my L4 and L5 vertebrae needed to be fused together, complete with bone graft and titanium screws. By this time, I was really trying to get past the “I don’t want this. I don’t want this. I don’t want this” stage.
PRAYING FEAR LIKE JESUS
The more I prayed, and the more I bathed myself in Scripture (I have a lot of time on my hands now), the more I found I could only pray one way about my fears: like Jesus did.
The words just can’t help being said:
Father, heal me. Father, deliver me. But if not, Your will be done.
I couldn’t help praying them because although I know God’s power, I have to constantly learn to trust His kindness toward me.
The central issue when praying our fear is trust—pure, simple, relational trust. God comes to us as Father, and is constantly working in us both to challenge and deepen the quality of our trust in Him, and to re-demonstrate His trustworthiness to us.
The Bible is pretty clear that everyone, Christ’s followers included, will suffer in this life. Pain, misery, anxiety, fear and death are universal. But Scripture is equally clear that God has promised an eternal reward to those who trust Him, a reward that is beyond comparing with our present suffering.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.—Romans 8:18, ESV
SURGERY IS TOMORROW
I’m happy to share that a more conservative surgery (discectomy on L3) is planned for tomorrow instead of the previously planned L4-L5 fusion. After getting a second opinion, it seems probable that the discectomy will relieve my pain. The fusion may not be necessary… yet.
This takes a big relief off my shoulders. For now.
I don’t know where this road will end. I hope I’ll be completely repaired and able to re-engage my active life. But, Your will be done.
I hope this will be the last surgery on my back and that I’ll never need the fusion. But, Your will be done.
I hope I can return to a job I love and complete a kitchen for the love of my life. But, Your will be done.
You know what this means don’t you?—It means this fearful journey through (what is, to me) a valley of the shadow of death, is a test of my trust that belonging to God, my God, is worth all pains and fears.
Is He worth it? Your will be done.
Will He take care of me? Your will be done.
Can I trust Him with my life and death? Your will be done.
Will He comfort me in my pain and my fear? Your will be done.
Will I experience His peace when I’m afraid? Your will be done.
DARKER AND LONGER
To those of you who face roads that infinitely darker and longer than mine (just an hour ago I heard that a friend of mine is having emergency brain surgery today!!), I commend you to Jesus, to His work for you on the cross, to His prayers for you. And I hope you are learning, like average me, to prayer like Him too.
Grace to you,