Last week, I had the pleasure of a wildly uncomfortable surgical procedure. (By the way, everyone in this house is advising me to NOT write about it, that’s it will not be uncomfortable only to me, that I don’t have to share everything all the time… yet here we are.) All I’ll say about the procedure itself is that it’s the kind of surgery only a man would elect.
Anyway, now that we’re all uncomfortable, there’s a reason I’m choosing to share this.
Do you know how you can hear/see/taste/experience something that perfectly illustrates a concept that had, until that point, been pretty elusive? I’ve heard it called an ‘A-Ha moment,’ like you’ve just found the lenses that bring clarity to what was, moments ago, blurry and confusing, and now you just see the color and form and beauty of what has always been right in front of you. The promise is why you never give up on the concept – someday this will all make sense, right?
Worry has always been like that for me. Jesus tells us, in the Scriptures, to not worry, to trust God for everything, for tomorrow will worry about itself, for today has enough trouble of its own. (Let’s not think about tomorrow’s trouble and the implication that everything doesn’t get super-easy when we follow Jesus, like we were promised by the evangelists on TV.) I understand those words, I understand that the lilies of the field and birds of the air are taken care of and more beautiful than even Solomon in all his splendor, but this is the sort of understanding that has taken root in my head and, with very few exceptions, not migrated into my heart.
I’d known about this procedure for months. Everyone said it was quick and easy, but it’s true what is said about minor surgery: it’s only minor to those not having the surgery. I didn’t want to get operated on, who does??? And as the days inched closed, I felt a weight pressing my neck. Sure, the weight was wasn’t heavy, but if you hold a pencil in front of you for hours, even that pencil will feel significant.
There’s no need for details – I’m fine, recovering nicely, everything was as smooth as it could have been. But here’s the point. The actual surgery was quick and easy, everyone was right. The surgery I prepared for and re-lived daily in my head for months was the problem. This is usually the case, isn’t it? We stay up nights, staring at the clock, playing what-if scenarios in our minds for outcomes that seem absolutely certain…until they aren’t. Or, if they do become reality, they are far less monstrous than they were at 2am. Worry gives us no release, there is nothing we can do, because there is nothing to do. The thing, the obstacle, the horror, the nightmare doesn’t exist.
I think probably the reason the Bible spends so much time on worry, on giving our attention to the possible future, is because the Bible spends so much time asking us to focus on the here and now. This life is a gift, and is to be lived. I’ll ask the question I’ve asked so often, how much now have I missed in service of the then? How much beauty of today has been dulled by the expected ugliness of tomorrow?
Everything about those passages were proven true in that office, in those 30 minutes and in the preceding months. Today had enough trouble (it was a delicate surgery, after all) and like those birds of the air, I was well cared for through every bit of it.