A Fusion of Prayer and Medicine

Tomorrow morning, June 7, I will be undergoing surgery on my lumbar spine intended to correct some problems that have been worsening as I have aged.

Following the six hour surgery and time in recovery, at some point I will be challenged with the words,

“Get up and walk.”

I hope in that moment to hear the voice of Christ and not just the nurse.  I will need Him  as Peter needed Him when he began to sink beneath the waves.   It will be a moment of synergy – the surgeon will have done his part, Christ will do his part, and I will have to do my part.   A good friend, Dr. N. Eike, says the surgeon’s job is to remove those things which are preventing healing from taking place: a wonderful perspective.

I will not be posting any blogs for a few days as I convalesce.  I have been working on a blog series which I hope to begin in a week or so on PRAYER.

It is something I will be relying on and wrestling with in the next few weeks as my activities will be curtailed for at least one month.  A measure of how well I am recovering might be how soon I am able to resume posting blogs.  I’ve been told for the next 30 days there will be very limited activity, so I’m not sure what to expect in the recuperation process.

Meanwhile, I ask for your prayers.

Let me hear joy and gladness;

let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.

(Psalms 51:8)

I am hoping that my bones will be rejoicing after surgery!  The Psalmist is both bold and hopeful.  He boldly expresses his belief that it is God who has crushed his bones – he is not blaming God but acknowledging God’s will in the world.  The Psalmist then asks in hope that God will now allow his crushed bones to rejoice.  It calls to mind the Book of Job the Long-Suffering:

And Job said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return; the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”  In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.  (Job 1:21-22)

As I prepare myself for surgery, offer up holy words from  THE WISDOM OF ST ISAAC OF NINEVEH:

“Before you fall ill, search out a doctor for yourself.  Before difficulties come upon you, pray; then, when the time of distress comes, you will discover prayer, and it will provide an answer for you.”

“When you are ill, say ‘Blessed are those who discover the purpose set by God in the things that God brings upon us for our advantage.  God is bringing this sickness for the sake of the soul’s good health.’”

“If you believe firmly that God cares for you, then you do not need to worry about the body, nor need you be concerned about discovering ways how to conduct your life.  If, however, you doubt God’s care, and want to look after yourself without God, then you are the most miserable person imaginable.”

I have lived and wanted to live in such a way as to look after myself and not to be looking for or dependent on God’s care.  Now I am to submit my body and soul into His hands and trust in His care.  It is a step of faith.

“Into your hands, O Lord, do I commend my spirit,

bless me, have mercy on me, and give me eternal life.”

Christ the Physician of Soul and Body

(The above icon was done by the hand of Daryl Cochran.  He gave it to me as a gift in preparation for my surgery.)

8 thoughts on “A Fusion of Prayer and Medicine

  1. Lisa

    Prayers for God to work in your life with this surgery.

    From the experience of a close relative, once you get up and walk – keep walking. 5 or 10 minutes at a time, every hour or so, get up when you can and walk.

  2. Pingback: Orthodox Collective

  3. Fr. Ted, I’m a fairly quiet reader on the Orthodox Peace Fellowship list who has enjoyed and profited from your posts over the years. I just wanted to tell you that you will be in my thoughts and prayers over the coming weeks through your surgery and recovery. May God grand that the surgery be successful and you amaze all your doctors and nurses. :-)

  4. Marc

    Having worked in the Orthopedic Implant industry for over thirty years, it is very gratifying to know how many people have been relieved of pain and loss of mobility by this technology. I will pray that our Lord bless you with a swift recovery and many years of mobility free from pain Father.

  5. Yet, despite all that is going on in this lost world, there is always hope for those who trust in the finished work of Christ. No situation and trial you face will ever be stronger than the blood of Christ that was shed ensuring that you will always have the future he planned for your life. Sadly, many believers accept the lies of the enemy when a crisis hits instead of holding on in faith. The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 12:12, “Be joyful in hope , patient in affliction, faithful in prayer”. In every battle you must be joyful, patient and faithful knowing without a doubt that God is not going to fail you. You are not alone and the power of Christ that resides in you is greater than the pain you are facing. You have a Living Hope that reigns eternal.

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