Yesterday I received a wonderful letter in the mail telling me....no, not that a publisher wanted my children's book manuscript for publication, but something even more precious to me- that my mammogram results were normal. This is a test most of us go through once a year (or close to that) but the anxiety I feel during the wait time between the test and the results is something that can absolutely put me over the edge.
I've tried talking myself out of it, getting my mind on other things, telling myself I am ridiculous, getting downright mad at myself for panicking about nothing, and so on and so on. But yet, that time in between drags on...I jump every time my phone rings (or buzzes if it's on vibrate) for fear of bad news; of a callback.
People live with much worse. And there are other things that some folks would see as a calamity that don't strike a bone of fear with me. We all have our seasons where we need to trust God no matter what the circumstances and press on with Him, believing that no matter what the outcome, He knows all about it and goes there before us.
I'd be interested to hear from those of you who read my blog how you handle these tough times of waiting in your life - be it for test results, large decisions to be handed down, or jobs to come through, we have the shared experience of having times where all we can do is wait.
I wrote something a few years ago when my results didn't come out clear the first time through- so rather than reinvent the wheel, I thought I'd put that here for you to read today. The emotions and feelings at the end are just the same today as they were back then. May you find peace through God in what you're waiting for right now.
Elizabeth?” I heard her call my name and glanced over at the radiologist holding open the door to the waiting room. Since she had told me after the first round of tests that she'd be back to get me for the next level, I assumed I was moving on. I put down my magazine, wrapped that drafty hospital gown around me a bit tighter, and started to gather my things.
“You’re done”, she announced unexpectedly. “You can go.” I stared at her, then blinked. It took me a minute. My mind couldn’t quite comprehend the magnitude of what she had just said. I was sure I was dreaming, or, at the very least, misunderstanding her. My disbelief must have been written all over my face, because she said to me again with a smile, “You’re fine. Once we took more pictures this morning, we could see that there’s nothing there.”
Still sensing that I must have turned to stone and couldn’t move, she realized she was going to have to make direct physical contact with me in order to get me to believe her, so she gently yet firmly grabbed my elbow, (her eyes bouncing with a smile, rejoicing with me that she could give me great news), looked me straight in the eye and said one more time - “You’re fine. You can go!”
A flood of relief is a sensation like no other. All the cares, worries, concerns, fears, and what-if’s that had been at the forefront of your mind for hours, days, and maybe even weeks before suddenly dissolve as if they’d been swallowed up instantaneously. Even if it took quite a while for them to get there and pile up, their dismissal can be speed-of-sound fast if we get the answer we’re so desperately hoping for.That happened to me that day. And I later cried tears of joy. Then I thought about all the other people – women - I’d seen pass through the same rooms I did that morning, and wondered if any of them would receive good news too, or if some would be met with their greatest fears that day, changing the course of their life.
Later, I couldn’t help but think about the “Get-the-good-news-and-then-get-relief” cycle and how that is a perfect picture of us sinful creatures when we meet Jesus for the first time.At the foot of the cross, there we are, not even slightly covered, but exposed. Waiting. Sinful. Full of worries, concerns, regret, pride, ugliness, bitterness and shamefulness, to name a few.
But then along comes Jesus. He calls our name, we look at Him, and when He speaks to us, it’s to tell us the greatest news we could ever hear, “My child…..you’re fine. It’s over. It’s been done. I took care of it for you.” He smiles at us and lovingly grabs our elbow to steady us from the shock, looks us straight in the eye (heart) and says slowly and emphatically so we get the full impact, “You’re fine. You can go. You don’t need anything further. Go; go in peace; go in Me.”
And now, as we’ve established, after the good news is the part of the cycle where the “relief” part kicks in. Or, it most certainly should. But my question to myself is this- Is my relief at what Jesus says to me the same overwhelming flood of joyful emotion I felt in a doctor’s office that day? Is my reaction the same stabbing sense of “Oh my goodness, I cannot believe it….this is wonderful…” Hmmm. Good question. I hope so. It sure should be. It seems a shame to even compare the two, but the human in me does. Do I even begin to fully realize what He is saying to me- what He has saved me from, and from what I’ve been spared? Do I realize the agony He could not escape but instead went through, so that I don’t have to? Do I even get it; that because of His dying in my place, I can go on in confidence and peace and have a full life, with a guaranteed promise of heaven hereafter?
If I do, then my relief should be great; totally encompassing. It should be overwhelming; life-changing. I want it to be that way. And from now on I will remind myself to remember it on a daily basis. And may I always recall how good it felt to walk out of a doctor’s office one day with a clean bill of health, and remember to let that translate exponentially into the realization of what I walk away from the foot of the cross with – better news than will ever come from another human being. It’s the news of a Savior who took my place in certain death, and gives me the gift of eternal life. Now that’s relief.