Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:4)
A few years ago I underwent shoulder surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. Outside of some childhood visits to the emergency room, this was the first time I had voluntarily allowed an anesthesiologist to put me to sleep and a surgeon to cut into my body.
“It’s a piece of cake!” So my surgeon had boasted when he first suggested the procedure. But on the day of operation his tune and the running commentary by nurses and assistants painted a very different picture.
There were risks. I was asked to sign a short stack of release forms acknowledging the fact I was aware things might not go as planned. There were warnings. I was not to make any major decisions or enter into any legal agreements while I was coming down from the anesthesia. And there were expectations. There would be pain, but I could manage it by taking my medication on time. My anesthesiologist also ordered a Novocaine dispenser as my best friend for the days following my surgery. I highly recommend it!
I received various other instructions and helpful hints to aid me in my recovery. However, the one word that caught my attention was “manipulate.” Evidently, while shoulder patients are knocked out, surgeons like to manipulate their arms in a seemly masochistic manner to free up frozen joints.
“Really?” I protested “And who watches to make sure he doesn’t get carried away?”
“Oh Mr. Jones, the surgeon knows what he is doing. You don’t need to worry.”
I knew. Yet I was anxious. Knowing doesn’t always remove our fears, and in fact can serve to make them worse. So which is better: to know the full nature of a test, or move forward in ignorance?
I have thought about the answer to this question as it relates to God’s providential care in my life. Does He prepare me for the trials and tests that are certain to come? Or does He merely tell me to expect them, and trust Him for the outcome?