In preparation for an operation next month I visited my Doctor’s surgery this morning for a barrage of pre-op tests. They had to do it at my GP’s because the hospital where the operation will take place is in London. Last week the hospital phoned me while I was in a friend’s car, being driven around the M25. They asked me lots of questions about my lifestyle and health, and I am glad that they did not need to ask me anything too personal, given that I had company!
I am surprised and impressed at the level of preparation that is going into this operation. I have had some operations before and do not remember anything of this scale or detail. They now must know everything about me except my inside leg measurement (33″ if they want to know). The operation is not a routine one, but at the same time it’s not as if it is open heart or brain surgery.
Last month I reflected on how well God knows me and these tests and questions have made me reflect further on that. God does not need to run tests or ask questions to know all about me. He knows me because he made me and is aware of all that is going on in me. He doesn’t just know the medical information: he knows my spiritual health, my thoughts, my ideas, my aspirations, my fears, my sins and my successes. Despite or because of that (I am not sure which, perhaps it’s both) he loves me without reservation. He does not regret knitting me together inside my mother while at the same time he threw away the knitting pattern when he had finished because he only wanted one of me (wise!!).
Psalm 139 contains a wonderful poetic description of that intimate creative knowledge. It’s another of those passages that sends a shiver down my spine.
“Doctor, doctor, I think I swallowed a pillow.”
“Why do you think that?”
“A little down in the mouth.”
Pharmacist handing prescription to customer: “Take one of these every four hours. Or as often as you can get the cap off.”
A doctor is a bit worried about whether two of his older patients so he calls them in one at a time. First of all he calls in Eric and tells him he is going to ask him a couple of questions. Eric nodded and the doctor began to question him. The first question was this. “Eric if I was to poke out one of your eyes what would happen?”
“I would only be able to see out of one eye,” Eric answered without much thought.
“What would happen if I poked out the other eye?”
“I wouldn’t be able to see out of either eye,” said Eric, pleased to have answered correctly. The doctor then sent him outside while he drew up the paperwork and accessed Sid’s files.
When Eric got into the waiting room however, he told Sid what the correct answers were.
The doctor calls in Sid and he followed the same procedure that he had with Eric. “Sid, the first question is what would happen if I cut off your ear?”
“I would be unable to see out of one eye,” he said remembering what he had been told. This received a perplexed look from the doctor but he just simply asks the other question so that he could figure out what the man was thinking. “Sid, what would happen if I cut off your other ear?”
“I would be unable to see out of either eye,” he answered with a smile as if he knew he had passed.
But then the doctor asked him what his reasoning was. Sid paused for a moment and then said, matter-of-factly, “Me hat would fall down over me eyes.”