A few weeks ago, my son had acute appendicitis resulting in the need to remove his appendix. Since it all transpired over the course of a few hours, we were both understandably a bit nervous. On one hand having a surprise surgery leaves less time to think about it, but on the other hand it’s a jolt to the system.
My son’s pain started at school and from there he went to the nurse’s office, an Urgent Care place, to the Emergency Room for a CT scan, then to a pre-op room in the hospital. The later place is where we met the surgeon on duty for the ER.
In the hours building to the diagnosis, my son was contemplative about his potential first experience with surgery. At sixteen, he towers over me, but in those moments, I wished he was small enough for me to hold him close and let him know it was all going to be okay. He asked me many questions about surgery and I did my best to explain my past experiences. One difference though; I did not have to be put under for a surgery. For my c-section, thankfully, I got to stay awake to meet my twins as soon as possible.
My son is a planner from the start and he always likes to know what is coming next. With any new experience, travel-destination, or a new-to-us mountain bike trail, if he knows the particular details, he is much more at ease. For this reason, when the surgeon met us, I was glad when he briefly explained in board strokes what was about to transpire. Following this, he asked if we had any questions. I smile as I recount how glad my son was for this opportunity, the questions rushing out of him as fast as they could come. Instead of being frustrated about the battering of questions, the surgeon said,
“I can see that you are really interested in the details, here, let me explain each step from the top.”
What followed was an extremely detailed, step-by-step explanation of the entire procedure. This was not a short, quick summary, it took a chunk of time. He was abundantly patient with each question that was asked of him. It took so long that a surgery team member knocked twice to make sure we were still a “go” for the procedure. Yet, even with this, the surgeon was not rushed at all, and was so very patient with my son who was growing more and more at ease with each detail that was shared.
The surgery went as planned. Since it grew late into the evening, it was advised that we stay the night. I was so grateful we stayed following some rough spots coming off the anesthesia. Everyone we encountered was so great with my son and by late afternoon the next day, we were home.
The surgeon’s careful detail of a rough part to come reminded me of Jesus’ careful detail of his crucifixion to come. Easter is a time I use to reflect on the events surrounding Christ’s journey to the cross and his subsequent resurrection. This is the reason why this connection was so easy to make.
Jesus shared these details with his disciples because he loved them and wanted them to know how things were going to transpire, even though the details were hard to hear and in some cases were difficult to understand. The surgeon shared details of the surgery with my son because he genuinely cared for him, could see he was nervous, and knew that taking the time to walk through it all would put him more at ease. Even the gruesome points, like describing the three cuts of the scalpel, as hard to hear as it was, brought comfort.
For the disciples of Jesus’ day, and for us now reading the scriptures, Christ’s journey to the cross was foretold all throughout the Bible. He laid down his life, taking the punishment for our sins, all of this being a part of God’s rescue plan for sinners. How much love he had for those close to him by detailing what was going to transpire during that very first Holy Week approaching the resurrection. With the quiet darkness of Saturday following Christ’s death, there was hope that he would rise again. Jesus coming back to life, conquering death for good, means he ushered in the hope of heaven for those who believe in him, those who surrender their lives to him. Praise God for this!
In John 16:16, 20-22 Jesus says,
“A little while, and you will no longer see Me; and again a little while, you will see Me. Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy. Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world. Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.”
*Story and photo are shared with my son’s permission.