The only thing missing was padding on each square foot of the white room. It didn’t matter that my seclusion was due to low white blood cell counts and my high risk for serious infection.

It felt like I’d done something wrong.

As I laid still in the hospital bed after yet another surgery, I listened for the sound of swooshy poncho-like gowns signaling staff coming to check on me. The glass sliding door made a suctioning noise each time it opened and closed. As a teenager, I’d handled cancer relatively well. But the isolation room nearly put me over the edge.

Doctor’s orders to lay low in a “germ-free” environment were not easy to follow.

Luckily, I had some visitors.

I heard the doors slide open and looked up to see my friends. Their teenage punk-rock fashion was covered by the swooshy hospital ponchos, spiky gelled hair provided a stark contrast to the white walls.

My smile grew a mile wide. In that moment, the pain of the circumstance melted away. The white room didn’t seem so bad after all. Even after they left, my spirits were lifted.

A few days later, I finally went home.

Even many years later, the week in the white room remains one of my most vivid memories of colon cancer. Submitting to my doctor’s orders and staying in the isolation wing was painful and hard. But the friendship and hope that came as a result was one of my biggest blessings.

More often than not, submission brings dread and discomfort; it’s not always easy to follow our doctors, bosses, spouses, leaders or even the Lord himself. (Especially when the instruction is hard and confusing!) Yet if we’re led to act in a way that’s ultimately for our good, we can trust as we follow. Not only will it lead to health, but it’s likely we’ll pick up many other blessings along the way. Blessings that wouldn’t have come had we not followed orders.

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.  1 Peter 2:13-14