About a year ago, I wrote a post, Why My Marriage Walk Has Not Matched My Marriage Talk, and I listed several ways I was committing to take my own marital advice. Then this year, I reposted it, with an update on how I was doing with that commitment.
At the end of that updated post, I noted that my wife, Susan, had just had surgery in April to get a new pacemaker. Susan has had heart-related issues ever since high school when she had a cardiac arrest at the age of 17 and then her first pacemaker. For the rest of that story, you can read her blog post.
To bring you up to speed, since her pacemaker surgery this March, Susan had to have another procedure called an ablation. An ablation is sometimes performed when certain nerves are sending errant signals to the heart causing it to beat irregularly. The doctor permanently freezes those nerves and the heart should then beat properly. This procedure didn’t work, so we are still looking at our next options.
During this last procedure, even though it was not as complicated as other surgeries Susan has had, I struggled with it more than I usually do. I was much more anxious about it than the person getting cut on, Susan!
As I sat in the waiting room that morning, I prayed and thought a lot about it. I then spoke with Susan more about my struggles after she recovered. My big take-away is this:
I don’t trust God with my wife.
Oh, before I go on, I need to share that I do trust God as the One who has saved me, lives in me, and has given me eternal life. And I usually trust God in my daily living. Also, let me be clear…I’m not saying God should not be trusted. On the contrary, God should always be trusted. He is always trustworthy.
It’s just that I’ve realized that, despite my best intentions to lean on God when life gets rough, I still struggle to always trust God when things get super serious.
Here are a couple of ways that I realized I don’t trust God with my wife, and what I’m trying to do about it:
I struggle to trust God when I see her in pain.
When Susan is in pain, I’m in pain for her. And when that pain is also associated with something potentially life-threatening, not only is Susan vulnerable, but I feel vulnerable too. Thoughts like, “Who are these people? They don’t care about her like I do. They don’t understand what’s riding on this surgery like I do.” go through my mind.
I’m realizing that I need to embrace being vulnerable…it’s a part of life. To be alive is to be vulnerable. The opposite of being vulnerable is being closed off, and that is a lonely and painful path. I’m also learning that pain, although it’s not much fun, can be a great teacher and a masterful motivator.
The question is not whether we will experience pain. The question is “What will I do with pain?” I’m learning how to trust God with pain…to use it to deepen my relationship with Him and with others who may be experiencing pain as well.
I struggle to trust God when I’m not in control.
I like to be in control of things. That way, bad things won’t happen. As the nurse wheeled Susan off into surgery, I looked into her eyes, told her I loved her, gave her a kiss, and let go of her hand. At that moment when my hand left hers, I was out of control.
How much do we control in our lives? We are not in control of most things in life and never were. I sometimes may be able to control how I respond to what life brings, but I cannot always control what life brings. So I continue to learn each day how to trust the one true God who created all things and controls all things with all things and with all those I love.
Do you really trust God with your spouse? Your kids? Please share your comments below.