“I wasn’t able to save the radial nerve.”
The surgeon’s words were hard to take. He had just finished a 12-hour surgery on my 30-year-old daughter, mother of 5 children ages 7 months to 8 years old. Just weeks before they discovered cancer in her upper arm. Now, the cancer was gone, but so was much of the use of her right arm. We knew she would have permanent limited use, but the nerve loss now took away wrist motion as well.
As my son-in-law continued to share the news with me, he could see my disappointment. He continued, “The surgeon said, outside of a couple places in the whole world, she would have lost her arm tonight.” Wham! It hit me like a flood.
The wrist usage seemed so small in comparison to having an arm. My daughter had gone to sleep that morning realizing that she could very likely wake up and not have an arm. How thankful she would be in just a few more hours to look and see it still there. Nothing had changed except my perspective of what had taken place that day. Now my sadness at loss of wrist usage turned into joy that she had an arm.
This experience reminded me of Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 4:17. After describing a “ton” of hardships that he has experienced since becoming a servant of Jesus Christ, he calls all of it “a light momentary affliction (which) is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” This life’s trials are not even to be compared to the glory of the Christian’s eternal life with Jesus. Paul’s trials were huge, but by having an eternal perspective, he lived through them as though they were small.
Pastor Mark Gause
First Baptist Church of Alhambra