Today marks the fourth week since my surgery for pancreatic cancer. The majority of the cancer—a tumor—was removed, along with parts of my pancreas, stomach, bile duct, and duodenum—not to mention removal of the gall bladder. It is one of the most invasive surgeries. And the post-operation recovery for this surgery requires absolute confinement. And in this word—confinement—there was/is a great spiritual application.
When Paul referred to his various afflictions as a servant for Christ, he said, “We are hard-pressed, but we are not crushed” (2 Cor. 4:8)—both words connoting confinement, narrowness, or, as one might say, “I’m in a tight spot.” For almost two weeks, I was confined by tubes, needles, and drainage pipes. But, thankfully, my confinement was temporary. And not only was it temporary, I knew it was a portal through which I would find greater freedom.
I am still somewhat confined—by a low energy level, by ongoing medications and treatments that will limit me for an extended period. But the words of the Psalmist have never been more real to me. “From my distress [Hebrew word means a ‘tight or narrow space’] I called upon the LORD, and He answered me, and set me in a large place” (Ps. 118:5).