Grateful man man raising his hands in worship in the countryside.

A patient of mine unfortunately has stage 4 cancer of the throat, the larynx, which occluded his airway, so we had to emergently take him to surgery. In pre-op, I told him, “Look, we’re going to have to put a hole in your neck for you to breathe while you’re awake and then once we get that secured, we’ll then put you to sleep. There’s going to be some discomfort and a lot of struggling, but you’re going to do well. Unfortunately, when you wake up you will probably have a hole in your neck because you will no longer have a voice box.” He signed the paper and he was very calm and said, “Hey Doc, I trust you.”

We went into surgery and everything went very well. The next morning, I went up to see him, and as I was walking in, the nurse said, “Hey, he’s been waiting on you.” And I thought that was odd because it was 6:30 in the morning and most patients are usually sleeping. I walk in and he calls me over to the bedside and he writes 4 words on paper. He wrote, “I’m still here. Amen.” And then he pointed at the central line that was in his chest. He pointed at the staples that were on his neck. He pointed at the hole in the center of his neck where he was breathing. He pointed at the arterial line in his wrist and then he pointed back at those words on the paper. “I’m still here. Amen.”

Then he lifted up his hands as in a show of praise and then pointed again at the words, “I’m still here. Amen.” And that made me want to shout, because what the patient was saying on paper was, “Hey, I’ve been through Hell. I have staples coming out of my neck. I have a hole in the center of the neck where I have to breathe. I will never talk again. I have a central line in my chest. I have an arterial line in my wrist, but I’m still here!”

I don’t know who this is for, but whatever you’ve gone through, you’re still here. Your sugar might be high, but you’re here. You’re blood pressure might be high, but you’re here. You may have more month that you’ve got money, but you’re here. You might have failed, messed up, you may have dropped the ball at the 5 yard line, missed the game winning shot, and have no friends, but you’re still here. No matter what you’ve been through, no matter what you’re going through, the greatest show of faithfulness of God is that you’re still here.