Surgery

There are many situations in life that require us to be courageous, including when facing life-threatening health issues. PICTURE: Piron Guillaume/Unsplash

“This is my command – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” - Joshua 1:9 (NLT)

The above verse has special meaning for my husband and me (we've been married for 22 years and have two gorgeous teenage boys). It has reminded us in some very dark days who is in control, especially when it seems life is out of control.

Life was pretty good for a number of years and then Mark started getting chest pains. They were niggling at first, a minor inconvenience put down to indigestion. So he started chewing his food more but the pains persisted. It got to a point when mowing the lawn, Mark would need to rest between each length of the yard.

"God doesn’t ask, He commands us to be courageous. One of the biggest acts of courage we can have is to trust that He is in control, even when it doesn’t feel like it. It is a decision. Just as I had to put my trust in the surgeons when they operated on Mark, I chose to put my trust in God who was watching over the whole procedure."

A stress test and angiogram later, Mark was rushed to hospital in Brisbane in readiness to undergo a triple bypass. You see, his three main arteries were blocked by varying degrees: 100 per cent, 90 per cent and 60 per cent. He had to have a nurse assigned to him the whole time until the operation, his situation was that dire.

Mark’s history had been many years of smoking and a love for fried food. It didn’t help that he had genetics against him as well, as his father had had two bypasses and his grandfather had died of a heart attack at 36-years-old. 

As a journalist I’ve reported on many stories, but suddenly I was facing my own impending tragedy and I felt at a loss. I watched as my husband, my best friend, my soul mate was wheeled into surgery and it brought such a loud, involuntary sob out of me, I turned and ran out of the hospital, my vision blurred with tears. 

All this time I knew God was watching over us. I knew He wanted us to be courageous, but I certainly didn’t feel it as I sat in a park, praying for my husband’s life. To this day, I thank God for the skill of the surgeons and the life that was extended to my husband.

It didn’t stop there, however, as Mark has had a number of continuing health issues and even today is battling ongoing diverticulitis and hernia that is accompanied by plenty of pain. Back problems meant he had to stop working in his career as a chef. There have been many frustrating days where he questions why God is leading him down this particular path. 

What I’ve noticed however, is Mark has found his solace through music. Many worship songs have made regular appearances on his playlist and he listens to many Christian talks that seem to seep into his soul, comforting him, drawing him nearer to his Creator. Despite the pain and the restrictions of his health, Mark is realising that some of the sweetest moments in this dark valley are knowing God is always near.

God doesn’t ask, He commands us to be courageous. One of the biggest acts of courage we can have is to trust that He is in control, even when it doesn’t feel like it. It is a decision. Just as I had to put my trust in the surgeons when they operated on Mark, I chose to put my trust in God who was watching over the whole procedure. 

That decision to be courageous continues.

Samantha Elley has been a journalist, editor and digital producer for over a decade. A Christian for more than 40 years, Sam, Mark and their two teenage sons, Caleb and Luke, live on the Northern Rivers of New South Wales in Australia.