The morning after I had hip surgery, my husband gotme set up on the couch with water, breakfast, ice, and my meds. I was so thankful the anesthesia hadn’t made me actively queasy (if you know what I mean). I was groggy but my pain levels were well managed. I was ready to put months of discomfort and limitations behind me and start this road to recovery!
As I slowly ate a piece of sourdough toast, I grabbed my phone to answer some text messages. But I couldn’t read anything on the screen. I must still be pretty out of it and forgot to put on my glasses. I was about to ask one of my kids to bring them to me, when I realized I was wearing my glasses. Were they smudgy? Ultra dirty? I cleaned the lenses with my shirt and tried again. I still couldn’t see.
Something was wrong.
I took my glasses off, and I could kinda sorta make out the words on my phone. I looked up, and I couldn’t see across the room. Glasses back on and I could see a short distance away, but it wasn’t crisp like normal. I glanced down, and my head started spinning. Something was definitely wrong with my vision.
Turns out, I may not have puked coming out of the anesthesia, but I was suffering a much rarer, more severe side effect. I had pictured being laid up on the couch as the perfect opportunity to relax and work. I could catch up on emails, make progress on a writing project, read a novel, and watch movies with my family. Except all those things required being able to see.
My ability to calibrate between seeing near and far was seriously off. I typically wear glasses or contacts full-time, but now they only made my vision worse. The lack of visual clarity was creating waves of low-grade nausea and a piercing headache.
As each day passed, I was getting more behind on work, feeling less rested, and more anxious.
By the time Saturday rolled around, I was struggling. Big time. My doctor had said that the disturbance to my vision should wear off in a few days. But now that I was facing day six of a massive headache and nonstop nauseous, on top of the regular recovery stuff, I was feeling severely discouraged.
I had told a few friends what was going on, but as I rubbed my throbbing temples and steadied myself against the kitchen counter, I knew I needed to reach out for more help. I blinked hard and tapped out a prayer request on Instagram along with an offer to pray. Surely I wasn’t the only one suffering. Admitting my place of need and making space for others to share theirs felt like a good step forward.
The next morning my husband asked if I felt up for going to church. “No, but I want to go anyway,” I told him.
When you’re feeling terrible, there is something helpful about putting on pants with a button and a little makeup and hobbling outside your four walls. Plus, my heart needed to worship. I needed to stop thinking about what was out of whack with my body and start focusing on what was right and steady with God.
As soon as the first worship song started to play, a lump rose in my throat. A lump of weariness for the long road of injury and healing. A lump of gratitude for all the ways friends and family had stepped in to care for me and my guys. A lump of tension because it’s hard to be a doer sidelined from doing.
My leg started to ache from standing, so I sat. Closed my eyes. Opened my hands. It was then that the worship team started to play “Tremble.”
Jesus, Jesus, You make the darkness tremble
Jesus, Jesus, You silence fear
Jesus, Jesus, You make the darkness tremble
Tears slid down my cheeks as I silently named all my fears.
Jesus, I’m afraid my vision is going to be permanently altered. I’m afraid this headache and dizziness will prevent me from doing my job this week. I’m afraid I’m falling behind. I’m afraid I’m failing.
In my mind’s eye, I saw Jesus’s hands wrapping around each fear. My eyes were still closed, but I felt the light rushing in. I was surrounded by people, but it was like Jesus and I were the only ones there.
Jesus, I’m afraid, but I trust you. Jesus, I surrender these fears to you. I don’t want to hold them anymore. I release today and tomorrow into your hands. You hold it all anyway. Jesus, Jesus. Jesus, Jesus. I love you. I receive Your love.
The song ended, and the pastor took the stage. I hadn’t brought my Bible like I normally did — crutches make carrying things tricky. So I pulled out my phone, clicked on the Bible app, and brought up the passage. I started reading along. Then I realized I was reading along! With my glasses on! I looked up at the screen and I could see. I took my glasses off and everything was fuzzy — like it used to be! I put them back on and read the paper bulletin in my hands and looked up and could see a friend on the other side of the sanctuary.
I turned to my husband. “I can see!” I whispered.
“I can read my phone! And I can see far away. My vision is restored!”
Now the only thing blurring my eyes were tears of awe and gratitude.
Friends, I know God doesn’t always bring physical healing. I know you might have asked people to pray for your restoration and the answer you’re hoping for hasn’t come. I don’t know why God chose to meet me in that moment and make my sight clear. More than a decade ago, God led me to adopt Psalm 9:1 as my life verse. It says, “I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.”
So, today, I am delighted to tell you of His wonderful deed for me. Today, I am thankful to the Lord.
The one thing I do know is this: Jesus makes the darkness tremble. There is no valley too dark or pit too deep for the redemptive love of God to reach. You do not have to carry your burdens and fears alone. Jesus is with you. Jesus is with you.
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