I guess all open-heart surgery is major, now that I think of it. But this was really big. My son needed to have his ascending aorta removed and replaced with a cloth graft and his aortic valve replaced with a stainless steel valve. That's a lot of work to do on one boy's heart. And there was a lot of fear in the heart of the boy's mom.
Believe me, I clung to the promises of God as the surgery approached. I knew that Jesus promised to be with us always (Matthew 28:20). I knew that I could do all things through Christ who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13). I knew that God had the power to keep His promises. I would meditate on the faithfulness of God; I would picture the rainbow that God set in the clouds when He promised Noah that He would never again destroy the earth with a flood (Genesis 9). God could and would keep His promises; I knew it.
What I didn't know was how He was going to do it.
Now, two years after the surgery, I love to reminisce about the way God used people to keep His promises. Like the pediatric cardiologist, a friend of ours, who just happened to be the attending physician in the hospital that week, and who took such special care of our son. Or the nurse, one of our dearest friends, who cleared her calendar of all activities so that she could stay with us throughout the surgery and even go with us into the ICU. Or the group of family and friends who gathered in the surgical waiting room to keep us company and cheer us on. They were the ones who were there when the surgeon's assistant called to tell us that they had made the incision. I took that call, said "Thank you" to the assistant, hung up the phone, and fell apart, bursting into tears. My loved ones circled around me. One of them said, "Let's just pray right now," and they did--out loud, in front of everyone else in the waiting room--and I was sustained.
I still wonder, sometimes, exactly how God will keep His promises. It's easy for me to search the sky, looking for the giant Hand of God at work in the universe. But I know now to look, also, at the simple hands of men and women who offer themselves for His work.
And I am overwhelmed with gratitude.