Around seven months ago, I discovered I had breast lumps. So I went to Xinzheng People’s Hospital to see a doctor hoping to be told that there’s nothing I need to worry about. After reading the ultrasound result, the doctor said I need to go through surgery to remove the lumps. The idea of going through surgery scared me so I consulted a specialist at Zhengzhou First Affiliated Hospital for a second opinion hoping the doctor would tell me that there was no need for surgery. Unfortunately, she also said I should have the lumps removed, especially the bigger ones.
Scared of the whole idea and whatever possibilities my condition would bring about, I asked the doctor, “What happens if I don’t go through the surgery now?” The doctor said it was okay but I should have the lumps checked again after six months.
So that’s what I did. I decided to wait for six months, but while I was waiting I prayed and hoped that God would allow me to experience a miracle – that after six months there would be no need for surgery. I also tried to lead a healthier lifestyle – making sure I maintain a healthy diet and that I get enough rest and sleep. Of course, I wasn’t always successful, but I tried my best.
Six months later, which was last month, I went to see a different doctor at Xinzheng People’s Hospital. After the doctor had compared the results of my previous ultrasound and the recent one, she told me that I should go through the surgical procedure to remove the lumps. The doctor suspected that the lumps were benign but since the bigger ones got bigger, she highly recommended going through surgery. She explained that if I let them grow bigger, they can possibly become cancerous.
Hearing all that made me a little disappointed. I prayed for a miracle but obviously, He didn’t answer my prayers. I asked Him to make the lumps disappear, but He didn’t. Now I have to go through surgery, which is one of the things in life I hoped I would not have to experience. I believed God could have healed me if He chose to, but He didn’t. Then a thought came to mind. It dawned on me that more often than not, we want miracles like instant healing from sicknesses because it’s an easy way out. We ask God to give us miracles because it’s more convenient that way – we don’t have to go through all the hassle and inconveniences of dealing with the situation, we don’t have to think about finances and other needs, and we won’t have to experience pain and suffering. Having realized that, I accepted the fact that God chose not to heal me. “Maybe He has a reason for doing so,” I thought to myself – “a reason that is still beyond my sight and way beyond my understanding.”
So since all three doctors suggested that going through surgery was the best course of action I should take, I decided to go through it despite all my apprehensions. I first planned to have it done at Xinzheng People’s Hospital. It’s closer to Sias and it’ll be easier for people to help me with meals. Hospitals around here don’t provide meals for their patients (I’m not sure if it’s the same all throughout China), so most of the time some people offer to provide meals to whoever is at the hospital. Other than that, it would also be easier to find students to help translate for me if I had the surgery done in Xinzheng.
I thought I had everything figured out. I planned to have the surgery done during the National Holiday (which was from October 1 to 7) so that I won’t have to miss any classes. However, I didn’t have peace about having the surgery done in Xinzheng. For whatever reason, I felt that I should have the surgery done at Zhengzhou First Affiliated Hospital.
All my logical reasonings disagreed with that idea. I didn’t want to have the surgery done in the first place and now I get this feeling that I should have it done in Zhengzhou. Other than it’s far from Sias, I feared that if I did the surgery there I wouldn’t get the help I would need like people who can help me with meals or students who can help translate for me. I was also worried about the cost of the surgery if I had it done at Zhengzhou First Affiliated Hospital which is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, hospitals in Henan province.
I was in the midst of going back and forth with my reasonings when I heard a voice in my head that said, “Test me and see how I am going to see you through.” Right there and then I felt that God wanted me to take a step of faith and allow Him to make the things I thought were difficult and impossible to be possible if I choose to believe in His unfailing love and faithfulness. I’m not saying He can’t do things if we don’t believe in Him, but what I’m trying to say is that we can possibly miss out on the great things He has in store for us if we don’t take a step of faith; if we don’t allow Him to put us in situations where He can display His power, grace, and faithfulness. I believed it would still be okay if I decided to have the surgery done in Xinzheng. I didn’t think He would abandon me and not make the surgical procedure go well if I chose not to go to Zhengzhou. I believed He would still be there for me and would make sure things go well, but if I’d be completely honest to myself, the only reason I would have the surgery done in Xinzheng and not in Zhengzhou was that that’s what I thought was more logical and practical. It would not be because I was trusting Him completely. Choosing to have the surgery done in Xinzheng would be equal to putting my trust and confidence in people who can help me with meals and translation more than trusting Him to provide for all my needs. On the other hand, having that surgery done in Zhengzhou would mean taking a step of faith to more unknown circumstances that are way beyond my control but it would also mean trusting Him more; trusting Him that He will prove Himself true to His words and promises.
I knew I could trust that voice in my head. I knew He wanted me to trust Him, but sometimes trusting Him doesn’t always come easy especially when we face certain situations that seem bigger than ourselves and when the unknown seems way too far beyond our control or frightfully overwhelming. I tried to reason with that voice in my head, but in the end, I knew the right thing to do was to trust Him and His words and not my seemingly “perfect” plan.
After spending some more time praying about the situation, I finally decided to have the surgery done in Zhengzhou. As I look back at my whole experience of being hospitalized in China for the first time, I can now say that I’m glad I chose to listen to that voice in my head. From beginning to end He never failed to provide all the help I needed. He provided a friend who stayed with me at the hospital the entire time I was there. He provided Chinese students who helped translate for me and for the doctors and nurses. And what’s more amazing was that I’ve never met most of those students before, but they were very kind and helpful in providing me with all the assistance I needed. One of the patients in the ward I was in even offered to help me while the students were home for the night. Long story short, He kept His word. I believe would still have experienced His goodness if I chose to have the surgery done in Xinzheng but the whole experience would have been very different. I believe allowing Him to take me to Zhengzhou made a way for me to experience more of His power and faithfulness.
Here are some photos that were taken during my hospital stay at Zhengzhou First Affiliated Hospital:
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about my whole experience of being at a hospital in China (which was never in my “TO DO” list while in China), it would be that we tend to forget that life is not just all about us, it’s not just all about our comfort or our happiness. Life is not just about making sure we are okay or that we are able to figure things out and make things work. Life is also about accepting our pains and suffering and making them count. I’ve learned in a much deeper sense that pain and suffering are not just ordinary circumstances of life. Yes, we all are aware that they are part of our journey here on earth whether we accept it or not. However, pain and suffering can mean so much more if we allow God to move through them. Whether one believes in God or not, there will always be pain and suffering in every person’s lifetime. There’s no escaping from that. But when we allow God to move through our pain and suffering, we gain a different perspective about life, about ourselves, about the circumstances around us, about people that surround us, and most especially about Him. When we allow God to work in and through us even in the midst of pain and suffering, we would see that even the most difficult and painful experiences we go through in life are fitting to be labeled “worthwhile.”
Friends, whatever situation you are in right now, allow God to take you to a place where you can experience more of His love, grace, power, and faithfulness. Take that step of faith and be amazed at the wonderful displays of His power and marvelous deeds!
Or at least believe that He cares for you!
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (NASB)