Thursday, January 15, 2009

Finding The Way To Forgiveness

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will forgive you” - Matthew 6:14

It takes a lot to take a smile off my face. If you’ve been following the blog for the last six months, on our journey through my husband Johnny’s battle with stage 4 terminal lung cancer, you know that no matter how trying the circumstances, I look for the rainbow of God’s grace in every situation.

Yesterday my faith was really put to the test. I’m not sure what “grade” God would give me on this test because I “lost my cool” in the situation in a fit of anger. Even though the situation was resolved by the grace of God, I really had to struggle with unforgiveness. But God works in mysterious ways. I tried to write my blog last night to tell you all about the situation but one thing after another kept getting in the way of my writing. I think God was helping me TOTALLY get the forgiveness thing firmly planted in my heart so I could authentically reflect his message on this matter, in the words I bring to you.

Here’s what happened. I went to fill Johnny’s new prescription yesterday that our doctor had written the day before for Oxycontin. Johnny had one pill left in the bottle at home. He currently is on a pain management regimen of 2 pills every 12 hours. The doctor increased the pill count in the bottle to 180 pills, allow for possible 3 pills per dose if increased pain required it.

His next dose was coming up yesterday evening. I had driven out of my way to another drugstore because our usual one (who shall remain nameless) was out of the generic brand. Our health insurance company refuses to pay for the name brand. I even considered going ahead and paying the cost for the namebrand and biting the bullet on the difference, just to avoid having to run all over town to get the meds in time

That was until they told me the price would be $737 for one bottle. My temperature started to rise at this point, thinking about how unfair it is that the drug companies have the audacity to charge such outrageous prices and the average person in this country cannot really AFFORD to be sick. But off I drove headed to the out of the way store, so I would not have to wait a day or two for our usual drugstore to refill their coffers.

I drove up to the new drive-thru window and asked them to fill it immediately due to the circumstances of coming out of my way. They said no problem, to wait and they would fill it immediately. Things were looking good. That is, until they came back a moment later and told me that the insurance company was refusing the order. My mouth dropped. I asked what the problem was. They told me they needed to get the doctors approval for the order. I responded that they were holding a prescription in their hand and how much more approval did they need?

Then they explained that apparently the “drug benefits” in our plan had run out and the insurance company would have to go through a red tape process of having the doctor “apply for approval of extension of benefits.” This involved the insurance company having to get in touch with the doctor and getting information and this process would take days. Up goes my temperature again!

I told them that this was totally unacceptable. In my mind I am computing the cost of our insurance at $18,000 a year and multiplying it by ten years that we have had it with this company, which adds up to about $180,000 we have paid them over the years and how dare they have the nerve to interfere with our doctors decision and interrupt my husband’s pain care so they could get through all their red tape? Hold me back Lord! I’m about to blow!

The drugstore told me it might help if I called the doctor myself to speed up the process. They gave me the number to give the doctor to call. I took down the number and asked them if I could call this number also. They told me no one had ever down this before but it couldn’t hurt to try. I prayed for the person that was about to receive my phone call at this number. They were about to receive the wrath of Rene Williams with a “mad-on!”

I pulled around in the parking lot and parked to make the phone call after I made the call to the doctor with the information first. The voice on the other end that answered asked me if they could have my ID number. I told them they MAY NOT because I had one general question that I wanted one general answer to and I wanted that answer NOW. I explained that I would try to remain as calm as possible but they would have to forgive the mounting frustration in my voice because I was furious.

I first asked what in the heck was I paying $1,500 a month for, if I could not get the services and the medicine that my doctor prescribed, that they promised to provide in return. I explained how the drugstore was unable to fill the prescription because their “company,” which,by the way, was not my insurance company, but a “contracted” company handling the benefits apparently. I got the pat scripted response from the lady who informed me of the benefits problem and how she would have to “start a new case”to see about extending the benefits.

I asked “just who is treating my husband? You or the doctor?” I explained the regimen he was on and how his next dose was coming up and I didn’t care about all the red tape procedures. I told her SHE could go home and tell my husband who was laying in bed in pain after an exhausting chemo session that he wasn’t going to get his pain meds!

I said “Madame? I am appealing to you from one human heart to another to do something about this and do it now because I am not leaving this drugstore until you start this case and finish this case right here and now.” I explained all the above mentioned circumstances. By the grace of God I reached her. She told me to hold on and she would get her supervisor to see if an exception could be made.

By this tine almost an hour has gone by in the back and forth while I am on hold and she periodically is coming back on the line telling me of the progress and how they are talking with the doctor on the other line yada yada. AS I’m waiting in the car on hold I start talking God.

I began reciting Psalm 91 over and over and over. Thank goodness I have learned it by heart. Now I can use it as a weapon with the sword of the spirit going to work on my behalf and resolving this situation. Here is an important point about why we should implant God’s word in our heart by memory. You never know when you are going to battle and need it on the spot and I did not have my bible with me!

Finally the lady comes back on the line and tells me everything has been approved and that I can drive back around to the drive through and pick up the meds. By now an hour and a half has passed. So I drive around and say “Its me again!” and tell the girl at the window everything has been approved and II give her the name of the person that instructed me to pick up the medicine.

She goes to process it and asks me “are you sure they didn’t tell you there would be a delay? Its not in the computer. I replied, totally exhausted by now “don’t even go there.” So there I sit for another round in this battle while the store makes more calls to this company. The cars are piling up behind me in line. I ask her if she wants me to move to help the other customers but suddenly they get the approval – except for one thing. They are not allowed to fill the entire amount because the drug company says we are filling it too soon.

OK. Now I am at exploding point. I tell her that is unacceptable because the doctor has increased the dosage and that will not be enough if he has to take three at a time and the bottle will run out sooner, if he does need the extra amount and we will be dealing with the same issue when it is time for refill again and that our doctor prescribed a determined amount and that I WANTED IT FILLED AS ORDERED!

They said that would require more phone calls back to this company. Is it me, or is there something wrong with this grand picture? I told them to make those phone calls and I would pull around and NOW GET OUT AND COME IN while they did, but I was not leaving until I got what the doctor ordered for my husband.

So I come in the store and they make the more phone calls and finally tell me the company will not budge and that’s all I can have for today. I finally give up in exhaustion and tell them ok give me what ever, just so I can get the medicine to him. I will bite the bullet on the 48 pilkls we cannot have and deal with all later. They say fine I say “what is the amount due?” as I pull out my check book. They reply “oh now we have to process the order. It will be another 10-15 minutes.”

I tell them “I have been her 2 hours now. Cant you JUST THROW SOME PILLS IN THE BOTTLE AND LET ME GO HOME?” NO deal. I must wait my turn in line. So at that pint I just give up and fall exhausted into the waiting chair and resign myself to give up and just wait in peace. 10 minutes later I get the order and go home.

Whew! It is exhausting just to retell this story! But the end of this story is the beginning of my journey in finding the way to forgiveness on this matter. It took me a long time to regroup and get rid of my anger and get my equilibrium back. Once I got home and tended to Johnny, who still had not left the bed since the chemo on Tuesday, I walked downstairs and headed for my bible.

I needed God to talk to me and set me right, to be one with, the same as, and in tune with God’s thought on the matter. How do I forgive in an unforgivable and unfair situation? I prayed for God to lead me to the light in the matter. This is why I reach for my bible each day. I feel like the more time you spend in reading the bible, the better you get to understand God’s language. This is how He speaks to our hearts – through HIS WORD. Through HIS LANGUAGE.

The more we read and study what He is trying to tell us – the more gets planted in our hearts as a foundation of our faith. It makes our faith stronger. It makes grace abound. It releases all the gifts He has waiting for us. When we are instructed to immerse ourselves in the word it is not supposed to be a drudgery assignment. It is intended as a place we can meet God everyday and spend time with Him by getting to know Him.

This is how we place our problems in His hands knowing that HE can make a way where there is no way. Last night HE made a way for me to find forgiveness, I was led to Colossians 3:12-15. He makes it abundantly clear that the only way to peace ruling again in our hearts is through forgiving as Christ has forgiven us.

It emphatically states: “if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also MUST DO.” So there it is. I must rest and “give up the ghost” of unforgiveness. No bones about it. Just do it. I must trust that GOOD will come out of this situation but not until I give it up to God to handle.

And now I believe that good is on the way. I am watching for it to arrive. My heart is at peace. I have renewed my trust that God is in control. That applies to EVERYTHING. It is all or nothing. And so I slept good last night. I woke up refreshed in the spirit because my burden had been removed.

Do you have a situation that requires forgiveness in your life? It also tells us elsewhere in the bible that bitterness is a poison that will destroy you little by little. I believe that unforgiveness hurts YOU more than it hurts the person or situation you cannot forgive. So I encourage each of you to deal with unforgiveness immediately for your own sake. Set your spirit free. Get into God’s words and let him speak to your heart.

God wants us to live a life of joy – no matter what the circumstance. So I wish for each of you – a heart that is happy and free from whatever separates you from the joy of God. Every moment counts. Deal with it now. Live the life God designed for you and follow the path to peace. The Chinese have a saying that “the journey of a thousands miles begins with one step.” I hope you will make your first step today.

Beautiful Blessings!



Unknown said...

That was powerful! Yes, you were tested, and you certainly did much better than I would have! I'm sorry to hear that you had to go through that frustration, and it seems to me that insurance is entirely too much of a business and not a service!

Anonymous said...

You are amazing. Not because you are perfect, but because of how you deal with your imperfection. I do have a temper problem. I lose my cool in these type of situations ALL THE TIME. Thanks for reminding me the "right" way to deal with it :)
In a side note, Insurance companies stink. I think they should be abolished. They don't think of us as human beings, just a monthly premium.

Laura Lu said...

oh my this is such a profound post. i can not even come up with words to express my gratitude for your post. thank you for allowing the Lord to use you to speak to me and bless me today. you are an amazing woman of God!