This Monday (May 13, 2002) marked a milestone in my life and its passing also removed a millstone of sorts from around my neck. That day was exactly two months before my 58th birthday, which weighed on my mind because 30 years ago my father died exactly two months before he would have turned 58 years old. Call it silly, superstitious or satanic, I have long wondered, with some measure of anxiety, whether God would give me earthly life longer than he gave it to my Dad.
Monday’s angst was increased because that morning I entered Methodist Hospital here in Houston for sinus surgery. In my case, these cavities inside the skull which purify and prepare air for inhalation into the lungs were totally filled with polyps. The diseased sinuses not only destroyed my senses of smell and taste, but also aggravated an asthmatic weakness in my respiratory system. For several years I have experienced recurring cycles of sinusitis, bronchitis, laryngitis and sometimes pneumonia with an almost-constant debilitating cough. The doctors do not promise a miracle cure but they do hold out hope of a substantial improvement in quality of life.
The surgery went very well, according to my physicians. I did wake up — alive — a few hours later. One of my church elders came to the hospital to pray for my healing and to anoint me with oil as the Book of James directs. A dear Christian sister stayed with my wife during the surgery and assisted us the rest of the day in the hospital. A chaplain from our church also brought prayers and words of encouragement. After a night in the hospital, I came home today for 10-12 days of rest and recuperation before returning to regular work.
Before going to the hospital on Monday morning, I read Psalm 13 (for that day of the month) and joined the Psalmist in his prayer to God: “Consider and answer me, O LORD, my God; enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death.” Today I also echo the Psalmist’s words of praise: “I have trusted in Thy lovingkindness; my heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”