It was my birthday! I was now threescore years old. Did that mean I had ten or perhaps by reason of strength twenty more earthly years? Would I, in time, reach that fourscore years?
Only God in His infinite wisdom knew that.
Every time I had looked in the mirror the past three weeks, I had seen an ugly scar across my throat. And if I turned in the mirror just right, I could see another scar several inches down the back of my head and neck. I was very painfully aware these scars were made by my neurosurgeon as he repaired the vertebrae in my neck and released the pressure on my spinal cord.
As the pain from the lengthy surgery began to slowly subside, I became almost aghast as I suddenly realized those ugly scars would be there the rest of my life.
And then as God often does, in His quiet gentle way, He reminded me that Jesus has scars too. Slowly at first, I remembered how beautiful those scars are to me. Because of those scars, if we trust Jesus as our Personal Savior, we will someday live with Him forever in Heaven.
Earlier, while unloading the dishwasher I had fallen in my kitchen floor, slightly injuring my hip and neck. Being the busy wife, mother and grandmother that I am, I thought nothing more about the injuries and I continued my activities as they healed.
Before long I began noticing numbness in my fingers and elbows. Since it was time for a visit to my family physician, I mentioned the numbness to him. His immediate diagnosis was, “It sounds like a neck injury to me.” I then remembered the fall I had on my kitchen floor.
Pain soon developed and my doctor ordered an MRI. When the MRI results were sent to my family physician he said I must see a neurosurgeon soon. I suppose that should have alerted me to a serious problem, but I was not alarmed at all.
Walking into the neurosurgeon’s office a few days later, I still was in no way prepared for the look in his eyes, or the tone of his voice as he explained the life threatening results he had found on my MRI. Actually the fall in my kitchen earlier had been a blessing, because it had alerted the doctors to much more serious problems.
The vertebrae in my neck had so deteriorated that the spinal cord was in a very dangerous position. His words got my attention as he explained a fall could mean sudden death or becoming a quadriplegic the rest of my life. The sudden death I could handle. I knew my destiny was to spend eternity with my Heavenly Father. My family having to care for me as a quadriplegic the rest of my life broke my heart.
Following other tests that confirmed what the MRI had shown, my husband and I agreed to the needed surgery.
I remember talking to the Lord about this, knowing he could heal me instantly if He chose to do so. But, as I prayed and read His Word, it seemed God was saying this was something we were going to have to walk through. His promises assured me He would be with us every step of the way. I prayed my family would be a testimony of His love and grace during surgery and the several months of recuperation.
I spent much time in prayer and in the Word, preparing myself emotionally and physically for the grueling eight-hour surgery and the extended healing process that would follow. The heavy neck brace I was wearing made the short waiting time before surgery very painful.
Excruciating pain followed the extensive surgery. But, God is faithful and the mending of my neck started immediately. And I was not paralyzed!
And now here I was three weeks after surgery. My birthday. Threescore years old. And looking forward to ‘by reason of strength’ possibly reaching that fourscore year.
A birthday present from my six year-old granddaughter, Mary Kathryn, was a recording. Made on her two year-old cousin’s toy tape recorder.
With all my family gathered around the birthday table, Mary Kathryn sang to me from that tape recorder, “The Longer I Serve Him – The Sweeter He Grows”. As I listened tears of joy began to flow. She finished singing and after a while I stopped crying. When I could talk again, I folded my arms around her and told her, “Mary Kathryn, my prayer is that when you are my age, you can still say just as I can today, the longer I serve Him – the sweeter He grows”.
When I looked in the mirror later that day, the scars across the front of my neck and down my back were not ugly. They were sweet and beautiful reminders from God who loves me so much. Enough that He allowed me to have a gentle fall to prevent me from sudden death or perhaps being a quadriplegic the rest of my life.
I found myself shouting into the mirror – fourscore years here I come!
Melva Cooper copyright email@example.com
Melva Cooper is a grandmother from Jonesboro, Arkansas. She encourages many, both in print and on the internet, with stories from her heart. Look for her devotion in A Cup of Comfort Devotional published last fall and her story “The Blessing of Giving” in Chicken Soup Celebrates Grandmothers that will be in bookstores in March. Read more of her stories at www.melvacooper.com.