Six months have gone by since my last visit. We've driven an hour and a half down into the city to the cardiology clinic for a check-up. After more than thirty minutes we find a suitable parking spot with a view of the top of the CN Tower in the not-too-distant horizon. We walk back to the hospital and take the elevator up to the eighth floor.
The nurse calls my name incorrectly; she calls me 'Anne'. Without correcting her, I smile and follow her down the hall. She tells me to change and now I'm sitting in the exam room all dressed up in my blue striped hospital gown. Why is it that this particular article of clothing always makes you feel so . . . humbled?
Then again, I know of greater heart issues. Ones unseen. My own heart burdened the whole way down to the city over sin and dysfunction.
The resident doctor, with his white smooth gown over his nicely creased black pants and wearing shiny black shoes, walks in with my file neatly tucked in the crook of his arm. He briefly introduces himself to my husband and me and sits down at the desk in the corner and pours over the details of my file.
I sit on the exam table with my knees tucked up toward my chest. I adjust my gown. I watch him as he thoughtfully rests his finger on his chin, then his lip. He clicks his pen and underlines as he turns pages. My eyes lock with my husband's. I can hear the fan in the ceiling, footsteps in the hallway. I look down at my black, dusty birks.
I really have no idea how many minutes have passed when he looks up at me.
"Nice," he says.
He leans back in his chair.
"So you are the unfortunately lady. I remember being in discussions about you. I finally get to meet you."
Wow! I've been called all kinds in the medical world, but I've never heard it put quite this way before. He meant well. It is quite a story; a lot to take in all at once.
Briefly, I agree with him. I am unfortunate to have to live with life-long side effects from the treatments that killed the cancer but saved the child; to now be in this position, thirty-three years later, with a heart valve that is damaged but not easily fixed because of all the other complications.
But, that is not the case! I regret that I was so caught off guard I couldn't make a reply. How I wish I could have made sure he knew that I am not unfortunate.
Instead, I am undeservedly favoured!!
That a sinner, such as me, has received abundant grace and mercy and been pardoned and set free!
"He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds, crushed because of our sins; he endured punishment that made us well; because of his wounds we have been healed."
"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." ~ (Eph 2:4-9)
How have I been so short-sighted all these years? He has healed me!! He has taken the heart of stone and given me a heart of flesh.
We are working on Romans 8 now, committing these beautiful truths to head and heart, and I've been repeating the second verse this week.
"For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death."The Spirit of life has set me free. I've been healed. I've been delivered from sin and death, never to fear it, for I am a part of the greatest love story ever! I know the words to come: "nothing will be able to separate [me] from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Why did I think I should have to wait for physical healing before I had something worth proclaiming?
As Spurgeon writes:
As Spurgeon writes:
"He who on earth walked the hospitals, still dispenses His grace, and works wonders among the sons of men, let me go to Him at once in right earnest.""Let me praise Him this morning, as I remember how He wrought His spiritual cures, which bring Him most renown. It was by taking upon our sicknesses. "By His stripes we are healed." The Church on earth is full of souls healed by our beloved Physician; and the inhabitants of heaven itself confess that "He healed them all." Come, then, my soul, publish abroad the virtue of His grace . . . "
The doctors gather to briefly discuss me once again. My cardiologist and the resident return to our room. They tell me I am to carry on, watch my own symptoms, and call if I notice them getting worse. If not, I return in another six months. There's nothing else that really can be done.
I'm fine with that. I will carry on. With my hope in the Great Physician. The One who calls me beloved, favoured, set apart, by His grace, to his own glory and excellence. Not at all unfortunate!
The Doctor may call me the unfortunately lady, but the Great Physician calls me by His Unfathomable love.