Two weeks ago I was told I needed MRIs on my knees. My first open MRI was Wednesday. I had seen the machine before and thought I could handle having the Open MRI because they said only my knees would have to go in. So Wednesday morning I walked into the room and laid down prepared for the table I was lying on to be inserted into the machine up to my knees. However, the table kept going further and further in until the top of the machine was about 18" from my head. My heart lurched, I put my hand up on the machine, and said, "Whoa!" I couldn't breathe so I told the assistant to take me out. She promised that that was as far in as I was going, that my knees had to reach the center of the machine, but I still couldn't stop the feeling of being trapped, and she graciously reversed the table so I could come out and catch my breath.
I was so embarrassed and mad at myself. Tears were going down my face as I explained to her about having been locked in a toy chest when I was little and my not being able to deal with anything above or even near my face. That this reaction was beyond my control. She was very patient with me and gave me kleenex and I silently prayed and soon my breathing was back to normal. She suggested moving the table in up to my knees and then she would stop and I could take my time and get used to that. So I agreed. I could visualize myself coping for 5 or 10 minutes, but the test was for about 45 minutes. I didn't know if I could hold out that long. I had had my quiet time that morning before I left, and I tried to place myself back in the love of Christ, but I was trembling, upset, and unsure of my ability to endure the stress for such a long period. Then the assistant put me in the rest of the way so my knees were in the center. She waited with me a few minutes. Then she gave me a little ball to squeeze if I needed her and left me promising she would be right outside the door. I closed my eyes and the tears streamed down and I cried out to God for help.
I prayed every verse I knew about overcoming fear. Then I recited passages of Scripture I could remember. Fear kept me from remembering clearly at first, so inbetween times I couldn't remember any Scripture, I prayed. The banging noises from the machine were distracting and I kept fighting the feeling of being abandoned in that room with no way out. The assistant came on the loud speaker and announced the times for each series of films being taken. "This one is 6 minutes," she'd say. Then, "This one is 8 minutes," etc. Until they were all done. I was so grateful for her voice and for letting me know how much longer I had to go. I prayed and talked to God and tried to tell myself it was just like being back in my bedroom with my eyes closed--except for the noise. I prayed that God would make the time go by fast, and because I was so focused on praying to Him and on His Word, the time did go by. I left that place so very grateful to God that He had helped me make it through, but I was exhausted--mentally and emotionally! And I knew I would have to return the next day and do it again for my right knee. I wasn’t sure I could do it again.
The next morning during my quiet time, I went on the back porch and asked God for help.The upcoming test was looming large in my mind. I had not checked my email Wednesday, so I checked it before I left for my MRI. Wednesday's devotional had come in from Purpose Driven Life entitled, "Whose Battle is it?" Right away I knew this one was for me! It was based on 2 Chronicles 20:17:
"But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out there tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!” (NLT)
According to the date of the devotional, Thursday was my "tomorrow". The devotional went on to say: "What does it mean to stand firm? It means to have a mental attitude of quiet confidence."
I knew God was telling me to trust Him. Let me tell you something: when you are facing your biggest fear, it isn't easy to ignore it. But I felt God was telling me that I needed to depend on Him. That this is what faith is all about. So I refocused my attention on the bigness of my God.
When I walked into the building there was a new assistant and she helped get me all set and then into the machine I went--with my eyes closed. No tears this time. She left me and I said, "God, it's you and me." And I just began talking to Him and thanking Him for being with me. This new assistant did not come on the loud speaker and let me know how long each test was. I began counting down each segment, praying inbetween, but, believe it or not, I drifted off to sleep for a brief period so I lost count. Then the machine stopped for good. And it was finally over.
I wish I could tell you I bounded out of the building with joy, but this was a trial that took all I had and then some. But I wanted to share my experience because, even though it wasn't pleasant, I endured, and it's all to the glory of God. I feel I lived out 1 Corinthians 3:13 "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."
I don't know what I would've done if I hadn't known Scripture or if I hadn't been in the practice of praying to my Father. In fact, I believe I need to memorize even more Scripture. God showed me that I truly need to know Him and His Word even more than I do now. Christ is my life and His Word is my salvation!