But you gotta hear.
We have talked about how God has blessed Tracy physically and us spiritually, how He has answered prayer, and how He has shown Himself to us. We have alluded to the struggles ahead and our intentions, (and requests for prayerful support) to meet them with faith that God is in control and we can submit to Him in confidence.
But here’s another part of this grace adventure you gotta hear. What about the financial!? As you may have guessed, this has been and continues to be a very expensive process. By the time we are done, the bills will top $200,000. We don’t have insurance. We are not independently wealthy. How in the world will it get paid for?
These are questions we had in the beginning and our conversation with God went something like this, “God, you allowed that tumor to be in there. You gotta give us a way to get it out. We can’t do it ourselves.” He said, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And I am faithful. I will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. And if you are tempted, I will provide you a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Cor. 10:13 written in first person from God’s point of view). If you want to know how this is about temptation, come to Sunday School this Sunday.
So, since we obviously have had the surgery (and the hospital and surgeons were telling us we could not proceed until we had the money), how did God do it?
Well, it started last year when we refinanced our house to have money to make some kind of investment. We did lots of looking and researching and each time we were about ready to sign our name on the proverbial dotted line, neither Tracy nor I believed it was God’s leading and we stopped. Of course, we owe a lot more on the house, but we had some money to take care of several medical and dental needs that were pressing for attention. And of course, that money became instrumental in proving to the necessary parties that we would pay for our services. We borrowed some money to make some down payments in order that we could maintain some operating capital from the money that we got from the refinance deal. See, we thought we were getting some money to make more money. But God was providing for the future that we could not see.
We don’t have insurance, but we are involved in a group called Samaritan Ministries. It is a group of I-don’t-know-how-many- thousands of Christians who pay each other’s medical bills. It has standards and limits, and rules about what is covered and what is not and it is a strong and viable system of taking care of our medical needs. We have been provided for through this organization several times all ready. Instead of us sending a check to an insurance company, we send a check to a person who has bills to pay for their medical care. The process is efficiently organized and directed by an administration and it is incredible how well it works. It is very personal and it provides for, and encourages, each member to be involved spiritually. As a matter-of-fact, the fella who handles our account from the Samaritan Ministries business office has called more than once to pray with us as we have gone through this process. How cool is that? However, it still means that we are paying cash for our medical needs.
In recognition of the fact that we would never be able to pay what all this costs, we applied for financial aid at Methodist Hospital and got…are you ready…are you sure…ok, here goes… about an 85% discount on hospital services. You do the math and you will find that we have been blessed with well over a hundred thousand dollars of assistance. Folks, that’s a miracle! Seriously, that is not just a good thing or a, “Wow, that’s incredible” thing. No, that is a "God thing" as He provides for us in our time of need. Additionally, we were instructed to inform other professional service providers of the hospital’s provision and they would provide significant discounts as well. Based on the fact that we are cash paying customers, we have been blessed to see discounts with other service providers also.
With the financial aid, the discounts, the money from our refinance and Samaritan Ministries, we should be able to cover all the bills. (Did you catch that; “all the bills”?) The money we borrowed, we can pay back quickly. You know what that means? God provided; through all kinds of different avenues and ways. He was never concerned about it. He had already said, “Do not worry…” You just have to stop a moment and read Matthew 6:25-34. It’ll just sit you down and pull tears out of your eyes to know that He keeps His promises and His word is true. You can see it is true in the descriptions of His interaction in our lives.
And here’s a way He has provided that may be the most humbling: YOU. We have received money, gifts, time, resources, advice, wisdom, love, patience, kindness; things material, spiritual, emotional and beneficial in all kinds of ways…and a lot of it. It would take a whole ‘nuther (and longer) essay to describe what you have given, how much and how valuable it has been. The material is obviously a financial blessing. It also is a spiritual and emotional blessing as it provides us with less stress and greater peace and an experiential assurance of the family to which we belong. But I want you to know that the non-material, though a blessing in itself in so many ways, is also a financial blessing, because it allows us to be at peace and to make good decisions and to use our resources wisely.
Guys, God is at work in Tracy physically. And through that He has been at work in so many other ways. He has answered your prayers to our benefit. We, (you also who have shared) have grown so much in so many ways because of this experience we get to have (and it ain’t over). God has provided for us in this time: not me, not insurance, not any of our ways, but His. We can’t claim any brilliance or work ethic or effort for what He has done and what you have given. We have merely received. Sounds kinda like salvation, doesn’t it? All we can do is receive. And when it is all said and done, we owe everything to Him who gave. And so we live in honor of that gift and the gifts that keep on comin’.
Last thing; in spite of how much I have written here tonight (oh for crying out loud, it’s morning now…oh well) there is more. I’ll have to tell you about it later, but God has provided in even more ways. Amazing, isn’t it? I think so. And I’m glad, because God is amazing.
Thanks for listening.