Most people fear the unknown. I certainly have for the past two months.
Upon experiencing discomfort in my right side, I visited my doctor in early June. After examinations and X-rays, I was diagnosed with a 7 millimeter kidney stone. It was so large that my physician didn't think it would pass on its own.
As if that news wasn't bad enough, I had to wait until early August to get an appointment with a specialist. While I wasn't experiencing extreme pain, I was aware of the fact that my circumstances could change at any moment.
There were two reasons for my awareness.
First, my husband, Bob, had suffered from the same ailment last summer. As his doting (he might use a different word) wife, I had an up-close view of Bob's misery and it wasn't pretty.
There was moaning, groaning and on more than one occasion, scary noises I'd never heard come out of a guy. To make matters worse, before he had the procedure to break up the stone, he had to have a stent inserted to open up the area where the fragments would emerge. A week later the doctor took care of the kidney stone, leaving the stent in for another few days. It went well, but was an ordeal.
The second reason I expected the worst was the fact that people delighted in telling me about the agony I would be suffering. One of my older friends from church said, "I've had five kidney stones and five children. Between you and me I would rather go through the births again than the kidney stones."
Then there was the gentleman who warned me not to drive because at any moment I could black out from the sudden onslaught of searing pain.
Granted, neither of these were medical professionals, but the medical community wasn't much more positive.
Looking up "kidney stones" on websites, I encountered phrases like, "writhing in agony" and "prescribed drugs to alleviate debilitating pain." It was worse when I read statements from patients.
One vividly described her experience as, "It felt like giving birth to a chain saw, with the saw still running." (I think Stephen King might have serious competition if this woman ever decides to write fiction.)
After two months of worrying, wringing my hands and expecting the worst, I finally saw the urologist. As it turned out, my procedure was to be a non-invasive one called shockwave lithotripsy. It blasts the kidney stone from outside the body until it breaks up.
It's natural to fear the unknown. Many people fear dying because they have no idea what lies ahead. Fortunately, those of us who follow Jesus have his assurance of a home in heaven.
Do you have that assurance today?