Okay, I don't mean to brag or anything, but I think my family deserves to win an award ... or at least the lottery. I'll explain, you'll understand, and you'll definitely agree with me.
Back in 1996, we were a sweet little family -- Dad, Mom, three boys, and a girl. We were just living life as all families do ... and then it started. The Allen curse. Our youngest child had a ruptured appendix that led to a 2-week stay in the hospital and a second surgery. And that, my friends, is what started the whole process. In 14 years, our family has had a total of 17 surgeries. Count it up ... but you need both hands and both feet to count that high. Seventeen!!! Fortunately, we've had insurance so that has helped tremendously, but even then, if I were brave enough to total all of the out-of-pocket expenses that we've had, we probably could have purchased a summer house in Hawaii. Okay, that's maybe an exaggeration, but I bet we could have at least bought a house on Grand Lake in Oklahoma!! Most families buy expensive furniture or houses or cars. Not the Allens! We're way past that kind of stuff. We buy medical equipment, pay doctors, and help furnish new wings to hospitals. And I'm not counting the other hospital stays (just one) or emergency room visits (broken nose, five sprained ankles, three sets of stitches, etc.) that don't include surgery!! In fact, I'm not even including the four previous surgeries our family had BEFORE 1996. I think doctors love us.
AND, we're getting ready to add another surgery to our Allen family resume. Our middle son will be having shoulder surgery to repair a three-year-old injury. This will bring our surgery total (from 1996, mind you!) to a grand total of 18.
There was a time when we'd go to the doctor and I'd come home crying. I'd worry endlessly about how we'd pay the huge mountain of bills. But in each and every circumstance, we would up paying everything off (sometimes after a period of 10 years!!). Even more than that, it's been God's miraculous provision sometimes. After one surgery, our insurance company cancelled us and we were stuck with the $30,000 bill. Talk about sheer panic!! I was neck-deep in it!! Within two days, however, we had a surgeon who called every single person involved in the operation, and they ALL forgave the debt. When just two days before, we had a HUGE bill, on this day we were totally out of debt because of the surgeon who called everyone on our behalf. Now, when one of our family members is told there's an upcoming surgery, I don't cry or needlessly worry because of what I've seen God accomplish in our past. God's in control. He's the One Who mends the bones, ligaments, and tendons. He's the One Who reconnects the nerves. He's the Master Physician. And He's also the One Who provides so that we can pay the bills -- our Jehovah Jireh.
So, there you go. We're heading in to familiar territory. Familiar territory ... definitely not fun territory. But we don't go in to that territory alone e-v-e-r!!! God always goes with us.