In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.”
Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.
Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord. I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.’”
Then Isaiah said, “Prepare a poultice of figs.” They did so and applied it to the boil, and he recovered.
Hezekiah had asked Isaiah, “What will be the sign that the Lord will heal me and that I will go up to the temple of the Lord on the third day from now?”
Isaiah answered, “This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: Shall the shadow go forward ten steps, or shall it go back ten steps?”
“It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.”
Then the prophet Isaiah called on the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.
– 2 Kings 20:1-11
Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
– John 5:1-6
As many have been following my blog lately already know, my wife had open heart surgery this past Friday. She is doing fine. She may not do everything the nurses are telling her to do when they say do it, but she is trying. She wants to leave the hospital on time.
What most do not know, my wife suffered kidney failure 15 years ago. She had surgery at that time on something else and her kidneys took a nose dive during anesthesia. She went from recovery to ICU. It wasn’t just the kidneys, but the kidneys played a large part. She got violently ill due to a reaction to a medicine that my wife did not know that she was allergic to. I hate the advertisements on television that say, “do not take drug ‘X’ if you are allergic to it.” How do you know unless you take it? The allergic reaction was immediately dealt with, but she did not leave the ICU for several days until the kidney function showed marginal signs of improvement.
Then a couple of years ago, my wife volunteered to babysit the grandchildren while our younger son went into the hospital for some in-patient tests. She drank from the same cup as our youngest grandchild and picked up a case of bacterial pneumonia. The kidney function again took a nose dive. As a result, the kidney doctors (nephrologists), with whom she has trusted since the first incident, said, “Don’t do that again. You will be on dialysis.”
When this latest surgery arose, we knew that we needed a miracle, and we asked for one. We told the doctors about her past history. From the lab tests, they knew she had kidney failure. They just did not know about the warnings from the nephrologists.
We were already praying. We knew that the side effects could limit everything that we did after the surgery. Of course, we needed her to survive the surgery first.
When the surgeon told me after the surgery that she was resting comfortably, I was elated. When he told me that her kidney function was stable, I was even more pleased. I offered words of thanks.
I did not see my wife without the ventilator until the next day. So, I did not get her reaction until then.
I came into the room mid-morning. Her color was bad, and she seemed to be asleep. My son called just as I approached her room, so I was talking on the phone. I also talked to the custodian who had made me feel so at home the day before in the waiting room.
When I got off the phone and the custodian left, my wife, without opening her eyes, said, “I’m awake.”
She then opened her eyes and said, “I’m just like Hezekiah. God granted me a healing miracle. I only have fifteen years, so you better get me to where I can see my grandkids. I’m going to see our oldest grandson graduate high school next year, and I’d love to see his older sister get married.” I mentioned that she’s not even dating, but that did not deter my wife’s mission. She had been praying the Hezekiah prayer, and her time was limited. (Should we not all think that way?)
She said that when she was about to go under the anesthesia, the surgeon asked something very similar to what Jesus asked, “Do you want to get well?”
She replied, “Absolutely! I have grandchildren to visit. I am not ready to leave yet.” Secretly, she prayed as they started to put her under, “God, I want to be with Jesus. I can’t imagine anything better, but not just yet.”
Then she told me, “I heard from the nephrologist this morning. My first reading of kidney function after the surgery was better than before the surgery.” She mentioned the numbers, showing maybe a 30% improvement. She still had kidney failure, but not as bad. If the numbers held, she was no longer teetering on the edge of dialysis. She continued, “God has granted me this miracle, because we would have a hard time leaving town if I was on dialysis. Now, we don’t have to think about that for a while. Maybe like Hezekiah, fifteen more years. Wouldn’t that be great?!”
We have no idea how much longer any of us have, but when you ask for anything in Jesus’ name (within God’s will), it will be granted. Did my wife want to be healed? Yes. Do we believe that the doctor’s may be right, that increased blood flow led to improved kidney function? No, there was something more at play. Why were the nephrologists monitoring her kidney function? They were worried for good reason. They just did not know that a miracle was about to happen.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.