Natalie jumped out of the shower, late for another day at work. As she rubbed a towel over her body, a thread snagged on a wound right above her heart. “Ouch!” She leaned over the counter closer to the mirror and tried to poke at the pimple-looking sore. A little infection popped out. Thinking nothing more of it, she cleaned it off with an alcohol-drenched cotton ball and went on with her day.
Mornings passed in the same way with her stepping out of the shower trying to drain the now enlarged wound. The pus continued to come out more and more each day, but it never seemed to stop. Red strings began to streak away from the wound and the pain deepened. What had begun as a small sore had grown to cover her chest. Gritting her teeth, Natalie tried popping the now bubbled wound, yellow with pus, purple from bruising and hot with infection. Nothing came out. But there were things to do. Scotty had baseball practice and Bridget had dance. She had to finish up the committee meeting notes before the next meeting. Organizing church functions and leading a small group took precedence, but the ache in her chest throbbed.
Days turned into weeks, weeks into months and the infection spread further. No matter her efforts the infection wouldn’t leave the wound. Weak with the pain, sweating with fever, yet shaking with chills, Natalie carried herself to the physician. A soft-spoken man, he examined the wound with discerning eyes before finally speaking.
“You have an abscess, Natalie. I’m going to need you to lay back as I take care of it, ok?”
Having no other option, she obeyed. A cold spray burned against the wound, but the doctor said nothing, just hummed an old hymn she thought she could remember, but the words eluded her. The clattering of metal tools echoed through the room before he returned to her.
“Natalie, this is going to hurt, but it’s necessary. If you want to scream, scream. Just remember it will feel better after this.”
His words did little to soothe her fears. How bad was it going to hurt? Was it going to hurt more than this current pain? She didn’t get a chance to ask because he already had the surgical knife at her chest. As soon as the knife broke through the tough skin, infection, with violent force, shot out. Her voice escaped in a terrifying scream as the pain shot through her chest, her heart, her body.
“I am so sorry, dear, but we must get the infection out.” His muffled words barely seeped into her mind as she fought the tears that eventually overtook her.
“Why? Why? Oh, why?” She cried as her body laid stiff on the operating table, covered in her own infection.
“Because you can’t heal yourself.” Natalie could feel his warm hands wipe away the pus that covered her body.
“But why did it hurt so bad?”
“You let it go on for too long before you came to me.”
Natalie allowed him to continue to wipe away the blood and pus as the pain began to subside. “It isn’t over yet, is it?”
“The pain?” He nodded. “It will be there for a while, but it will heal. The worst is now over as long as you follow my instructions.”
“What do I need to do? Change my bandages and such?” Her mind darkened just thinking of seeing the open wound.
“No. No, I don’t want you to touch this. This is for me alone. I want you to take an antibiotic daily. And I will clean your bandages. More infection will come forth, but I will take care of it and eventually, you’ll only have a small scar. But let me clean it and bandage it. You just rest. And I will see you in a few days.”
Rest! The thought humored her. She had kids to raise. A home to care for. Work to be done. A ministry to lead. There is no time for rest. She left the nice physician that day battered, bruised, and bandaged with every intention to obey most of his instructions. However, as soon as she stepped into her home the demands of her family overtook her. She skipped the first check-up appointment and missed some of the medicine doses. Yet, the pain began to threaten her resolve to handle this on her own.
On a warm evening, the infection came back with vengeance. The wound looked worse than it had in the beginning. Meekly she returned to the physician.
“You didn’t obey my simple instructions, did you?” He said to her before she ever fully stepped through his office door. Her head bowed, she slurred out an apology. He sat in the chair next to her. “Do you not trust me?”
The simple question pricked at her heart. No, she didn’t. She barely knew him. She had seen him several times, brought her kids to see him. Often called him for a friend or if there was some other emergency, but not for herself. Acknowledgement hung thick in the air.
“Then let me prove to you I know what I’m talking about, huh? You follow my instructions and I promise you that it will be healed.”
“But how long will it take?” Her hands folded in her lap began to shake. She had plans. Resting wasn’t included in that. This setback threw her schedule off, threw her ideas off.
“Depends on you. Will you fully trust me or keep trying to fix this on your own?”
Eyes wet with emotion, she looked into the face of the good physician. His gentle eyes held no malice towards her for disobeying. A soft smile graced his wise features. His confidence in his abilities radiated off of him, not in a boastful way but in an assurance that she desperately needed.
“Who will help me take care of my kids?”
“I will send some people to help you out.”
“And my work?”
“Yeap, I will help out with that as well.”
Natalie stalled thinking of other shots she could fire at this calm doctor that would break his resolve. His hand on hers stole her away from the rapid thoughts coursing through her mind.
As if he knew what she was thinking, he answered: “I’ve got this. I promise. Just be still and know that I’m going to take care of this. I’m the Great Physician.”