Recently, I was scheduled for an MRI of my neck. I am a rather large female with lots of “extra” around my arms, belly, and hips. We all know that MRI machines are not built for those of us with “extra.” On this particular day, at this particular imaging company, I was told to lie on a hard table that was, maybe, large enough to hold ½ of one butt cheek. The radiology tech placed a sheet over me and told me to cross my arm over my chest as she slid me into the machine. As I am just about to enter the machine she tells me that it will be “real tight going in but will open up a little once you are inside.”
Man! She wasn’t kidding. As I was passing through the opening of this machine I felt as if I were being squeezed back into the womb. My arms were so squished on top of my chest that there was absolutely no wiggle room. My hips were against the cold hard machine and I felt every fat cell being displaced so that my upper body could enter the machine. Once inside, I quickly realized that the radiology tech wasn’t exactly correct in her assessment of, “it will open up a little once you get inside.” Apparently our definitions of “a little” is quite different.
I tried to relax my arms a little, as my shoulders were surely touching my earlobes. They didn’t move more than a nano-inch. I then recalled how tight it was going into the machine and started getting worried that getting me back out might resemble “birthing” a breech baby since the smallest portion of me was now the only thing sticking out of the machine. I began to imagine coming out of the machine and getting stuck at the shoulders. That lead to worry that I would get wedged so badly that they would have to call in extra people to witness this event and assist with my removal or, at the very worst, I would be so wedged that the pressure of my arms on my chest would suffocate me before I could be removed.
At that very moment, the radiology tech sweetly asked, “are you ok in there?” To which, I replied, “No, Nope, No, I am not!” She told me to hang on a minute and she would have me out. As my head exited, I felt a huge relief and a heavy burden at the same time.
At that moment I felt like a huge failure. I mean, all I had to do was lie on a skinny table and be uncomfortable for a short time (if you have ever had an MRI you know that the 20 minutes the scan takes seems like the longest 20 minutes of your life), and I FAILED! I went to the office that had scheduled my MRI and asked if there was a facility that could better accommodate larger individuals. The scheduler set me up at another local facility (I wasn’t sure why I wasn’t originally sent there, as I was obviously fat when the original appointment was made). I was grateful for this second chance. As I returned to my car with a new appointment on my calendar I sat and thought about how uncomfortable of an experience this was.
Aren’t our experiences with God sometimes like this?? There are times when God wants up to be uncomfortable. He squeezes us and applies the pressure until we are certain we can’t take anymore and start screaming, “No, Nope, I can’t do this!” We will do anything in that moment to get to a place that is more comfortable, even if it means running from what God wants of us. Although, scripture has shown us that running never works.
In Jonah, we see a man that God had placed in an uncomfortable situation. He was told to go and do something that Jonah was sure would lead to his death. When Jonah ran from this instruction God placed him in a very tight space, the Lord appointed a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the fish three days and three nights (Jonah 1:17). I would imagine being in the belly of a whale would be an extremely uncomfortable place. When Jonah prayed to God from the belly of the whale. He was given a second chance to go and do what God had asked.
I am so thankful for 2nd chances (and sometimes 3rdand 4th). How many times does God ask us to do something and we say “no” because it feels uncomfortable to us? What “whale” does God put into your life to get your attention and let you know that He wasn’t kidding? When God asks us to do uncomfortable things He does not expect us to do it alone. He will equip you with the tools you need to complete the task.
The next time you are placed in a situation where your first instinct is to run, take a moment to pray and reflect instead. God will always provide what we need for the job He asks us to do, you just have to trust Him.