(originally written on April 16, 2011)
Two nights ago, I asked my mom and my sister to bring me to the hospital. I was having chest pains. It wasn’t the first time I felt that. I was just too stubborn to see a doctor. Wait, “stubborn” might not be the right description. Perhaps “afraid” would be a more appropriate term.
Since it was already past 10 in the evening and the pain was getting worse, I had no other choice but the Emergency Room. You see, I have this strange thing about hospitals and doctors. I automatically panic the moment I enter a hospital door. The sight of doctors and nurses in white makes me nervous. I also keep putting off my plan to go for Annual Check-Up when I can actually have that for free as an employee’s benefit.
“The cowering prisoners will soon be set free; they will not die in their dungeon, nor will they lack bread.” Isaiah 51:14
But the other night was different. I was calmer and braver. Thank God He made me read a note that reminded me of His power and love as well as His promises of healing and protection. God’s Word is living and active! And as God quieted my noisy mind and heart, I became more aware of the situations around me.
I was at the Emergency Room. There were a lot of people. A very old lady was fighting so hard for her life. The family decided to just bring her home, perhaps to die there. The man behind the curtain on my left couldn’t bear his stomach pains anymore, he asked for pain reliever. The doctor said it wouldn’t do him good so he would have to endure the pain. A mother came in carrying a very skinny little girl who looked so frail and weak. I overheard the conversation of interns about an old woman who just died earlier. Anxious loved ones walked to and fro waiting for the results of laboratory tests, xrays, CT scans and ECGs. Doctors and nurses were very attentive - yet confused at times: a nurse instructed me to sit up straight to prepare myself for abdominal x-ray. Only to find out, the instruction wasn’t for me but for the guy on the bed next to mine. I just smiled when the nurse apologized. Maybe he hadn’t had enough sleep for days! My family was there - very worried about me.
Had I been nervous and afraid, I would miss seeing and hearing these scenes. I realized how fear could keep us from being mindful of the sufferings and needs around us. It makes us forget God’s promises and how He has come through for us in many ways. To fear is to doubt God’s power and love. It’s like saying He is not strong enough for us and He doesn’t love us – definitely a big lie! God is all-powerful. To His love and kindness, there is no end! His perfect love erases all our fears. Fear is a prison but the Spirit of the Lord always brings freedom.
The emergency room scenes brought me to my knees – asking God’s forgiveness for being fearful and praying for His mercy and healing for the patients and wisdom and strength for the ER staff.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18
Now back to my heartpains - the reason I was at the ER. I had ECG immediately. Praise God, the doctor said the results were perfectly normal! Further assessments led to the conclusion that the pains were only acid-induced and nothing serious. It could be because of stress and too much acidic food and drinks. I would need to be more disciplined about my tea intake, chocolates and making sure I have breakfast everyday. They also gave me medication. I wish I went to the doctor sooner. I could have been spared from a lot of unnecessary worries and fears of having a heart ailment.
We all have fears but God is bigger than our fearful hearts and He promises to never leave us nor forsake us. He holds our hands and strengthens us to the very end.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10