Learning the unforced rhythms of grace


Surgical Prayer

As I've prayed for people this week who are in need of God's skilled hands to reach into their lives and bring change, healing, renewal and freedom . . . it feels like I've been staring at the closed doors of a surgical suite. God is the only one who can truly provide what they need. They are in His hands and I need to just wait patiently until His work is done. 

I've had eight surgeries in my life and have always been fascinated by the surgical suite.  I always look around and try to see what's happening. It is a serious place and measures are being taken to ensure the instruments are sterile, the supplies are ready and each person is prepped with their individual task. It's quiet and respectful and as we wait for the surgeon to arrive in the room, the nurse usually holds my hand and reassures me it will just be a few more minutes. The anesthesiologist starts the IV and tells me to count to ten. I make an awkward joke, "What if I make it to fifteen?" He chuckles and I feel the familiar taste in my throat and cold sensation in my arm and I start counting one, two  . . . I try so hard to make it to three . . . and I'm out. 

God is serious about the condition of our souls. He sees beyond our carefully constructed exteriors and knows where the systemic infections are. He doesn't mind leaving us with scars or wounds for the sake of removing something far more crucial to our ability to live! He is not afraid of mess, of pain, of the vulnerability of being opened up and even causing pain in order to make it better. 

Sometimes I forget this and I pray, "Oh God, please protect and shelter and keep pain away. Remove struggle, quickly, solve everything, heal fast, guard, shield, protect!!!"

But if I really love someone, and long for deep, intense, life-changing work to be done . . . then shouldn't my prayer be more like this: 


"God, do Your best with my loved one. Do not stop until you are satisfied. Don't let any infection remain or anything get in the way of life being preserved and strengthened! Take all the time You need. Don't worry about me. I can't help them like You can. Don't worry about scars or wounds or pain or how long it takes. I know You love them. Be gentle, protect them, but be thorough. Remove anything that hinders them from thriving! Dig deep for poison that lurks in their system causing symptoms and sickness. Cut it out! Get rid of it! Do what it takes to remove sickness and bring health!"

Perhaps, as we learn to trust God more and more, we won't fear pain or struggle in someone else's life. Instead, we will take a deep breath, maybe run our fingers over our own scars to remind us, and pray that they too will surrender themselves to the Great Surgeon and choose to be broken, opened up, cleansed and restored.