Have you ever gone through a high ropes course? As a youth pastor I’ve done my fair share of these. They’re great for team building and group unity. The last time I did a high ropes course I was at Centrifuge in Ridgecrest, NC with my students from Morningside. Most ropes courses take people through various tight rope type sections that require great focus and team work to maneuver through successfully. At the end there’s often a big jump where participants have to put their full faith in their team, the leaders, the ropes, and in the Lord that they will not smack the ground and reel in pain.
The surgery I’m facing tomorrow feels a lot like it did when I was sitting on the edge of that small wooden platform 40ft above the ground at Ridgecrest. Tomorrow I’m laying my life on an operating table and letting a neurosurgeon open my lower back to cut away some of my L5-S1 disc to alleviate the pressure that it’s putting on the nerve that gives feeling to my right leg. For the last month I’ve been in severe pain in my lower back, right leg and numbness in my foot and toes.
In my head I know that this is what I need to do. Like sitting on the wooden platform, I knew I wanted to get down. However, my nerves are racing thinking of all the “what if’s.” What if the rope breaks? What if I hit the ground? What if I don’t get back up?
As a pastor, I see people go into surgery all the time. Every Friday I go to our local hospitals to visit our members as they face similar procedures. But this Friday it’s me who’s wearing the drafty gown. It is different on this side of the pastoral visit. The good news of Christ that I share every Friday at the hospital is the same great news for my life too. God is God…He is in control…I don’t need to fear. I need to jump!
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9 ESV)