Fear is a terrible thing.
Last night, as we laid down to sleep, I told my husband that the top of my toes were burning.
“Really?” asked the physical therapist and the knower of all things health-related. “That is a classic sign of neuropathy. Most typically something diabetics suffer.”
“I usually joke with my patients,” he continued, almost joyfully. “‘So your piggies went to market,’ I say to them when I’m evaluating them and notice some toes have been amputated. They usually laugh and think it’s funny.”
I didn’t. It was late, for me, 10 p.m. And now, instead of getting to think I had a little athlete’s foot fungus causing a bit of anguish, I had visions of my toes being amputated due to… I wasn’t sure, although I didn’t think it was diabetes.
“Thanks,” I said. “Now I won’t be able to sleep.”
“You should go online and do a search for ‘feet burning’ + ‘night’,” he suggested amiably.
Of course, this is the man who gleefully preempts BBC’s Doc Martin’s diagnoses and has counted how many “Call the Midwife” dilemmas he has pre-diagnosed as we watch.
Especially since I awakened this morning with my feet still burning and find the sensation traveling to my lower legs and arms as I type this after work.
I’m thinking this could be a figment of my imagination. A psychosomatic disorder driven by fear. Or stress. I thought this has only gone on since an actual bout of athlete’s foot (attributed to the health club showers or my failure to towel dry between my toes) several weeks ago, but then I began to think of my sensitivity to cold and my preference to wear long sleeves — even in spring — and then thought maybe, oh, maybe, this has been going on much longer, and it has been an ongoing illness that I have simply not observed.
My late-night online searches — because, of course, I didn’t sleep last night — indicated the possibility that I could be Vitamin B-12 deficient, which could be a result of a digestive disorder, which claimed my father’s life early at 76, which could mean that I have some issues and should perhaps stop eating sugar and wheat and all things unhealthy…
And my student brought me a decadent piece of chocolate cake large enough to feed my entire family this morning. Sugar and wheat.
But God saved me from a certain car crash just Monday morning, when that early-morning driver totally ran a red light and pulled directly into my path, which should have meant certain death or at least tragic impairment, but I am alive and well and, well, now suffering from some bizarre illness.
So surely God has a good plan for my life? I mean, one that I also think will be good?
I worry. I fret. I feel growing areas of numbness and burning sensations. And I worry. I fret.
And then I think of my sister’s philosophy for health, “It will either get better or it will get worse.”
Meaning, I either have nothing to worry about or I will have something to worry about — and I might as well wait until later.
Comforting, but logic is not enough. What I need is God’s diagnosis or His advice. Which means I better get into the Word. Meaning, God’s Word, not my husband’s diagnosis or my sister’s advice. And what I find is this:
You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You (Isaiah 26:3).
Ah. So my husband may be right. So might my sister. Regardless, I need to focus on God, who loves me more than I love myself. Who I can trust more than my husband, my sister, or my fears. Or, for that matter, a doctor and his diagnosis.
Which doesn’t mean I shouldn’t avoid sugar or wheat — or the luscious chocolate cake my student happened to bring me today — but I should do so without fear. Because whether this life is temporary in my eyes — or temporary in God’s eyes — there is more.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18).
Amen and amen.