Sunday is family day at the hospital. Lots of kids, spouses, parents…you get the picture. I knew that I wouldn’t have any visitors while I’m here and to keep my mind off that fact, I was really looking forward to going to chapel services today. My plan was to hit them both; one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
I checked with the nurse to see if I could go to the 9:30 one…she said I could go if the doctors had made their rounds and seen me by then. This was not the case…they came in to see me at 9:55…I was not a happy camper. But when they left, I turned on the tv and found that Charles Stanley on.
What a blessing his message was!! It was titled Unreasonable God. He talked about how we bargain with God. You know, “if you show me that this is going to work out right, then I’ll do it.” sort of things. He said that God’s obligation is to show us his will; our job is to obey. That God is not “required” to explain himself to us.
The message was awesome. I took two pages of notes. By now I was feeling pretty good. Lunch time came and as I was sitting in the cafeteria, I once again began to look around at the families that were there. My mood started to sag again. I’m missing my family. I know its impractical for them to drive 8 hours (each way) for just a an hour or two to visit. I tried to put it out of my mind by I reminding myself that there was another service. That was what I looked forward to most of the day.
Chapel time came and I made my way down the hall. When I entered the chapel, I was surprised to find it empty. I could understand if none of the other patients wanted to attend…but there was no chaplain! “What the heck is going on,” I asked God.
I sat there for several minutes, dazed. Finally, I opened my Bible and began to read outloud. I had read most of 2 Corinthians 11, when I heard someone walk in. It was the mother of a patient that was also in the head pain ward. Her name is Holly and her daughter, who is 19, is Anna.
Holly sat down close to me and asked if the chaplain had been in yet. I answered no and she asked what I was reading when she came in. I told her where I was in 2 Corinthians and she said, “Why don’t the two of us just have church togehter.”
What a great idea. After all, wherever two or more are gathered…
We continued to read, taking turns, through chapter 12. When we got to the part where Paul asked God to remove the thorn from his flesh, Holly started crying. She also suffered from severe headaches and now, her beautiful daughter was battling them as well.
We sat and talked for a long time…about our families and our faith. She told me that her daughter suffered from depression and suicidal thoughts, ever since the headaches started. I could tell that the strain of dealing with her own illness and her daughter’s, had really taken a toll on her.
We prayed together and I told Holly that if she needed anything, to come to my room, anytime.
Not an hour later, after supper, Anna came out of her room in tears. I was walking to the conference room, where we hang out and have classes. As I walked toward her, I could see she was falling apart. I put my arms around her and let her cry. I asked if I could pray for her and she said yes. I did so and she mentioned that she and her mother had just gotten “into it”. She was going to sit outside for a while by herself.
I told her if I didn’t see her come back in soon, I was coming to get her. A short time later, I saw Holly, coming from the direction that Anna had gone. She was upset because Anna didn’t want to talk to her. I told her that I had told Anna I would check on her, so I went to do so.
Anna was sitting in the rain. I opened the door and looked at her until she saw me. I didn’t say a word; I just stood with the door open until she came in. We sat down and she began to talk. She must have talked for at least thirty minutes. Her parents are having their own problems and added to her health issues, it was just too much. I encouraged her to have the nurse get ahold of her psycologist tonight and she said she would. I walked her back to the nurses station and stood by her while she asked them to call her doctor.
So much hurt…so many pains here that run far deeper than the physical pain I am feeling. I ask you all again for your prayers. For Anna and Holly, for Char, Jason, Alex, Samantha…and all the others.
I know that everyone, everything is God’s. When I see the suffering, I have to remind myself that He already knows what I am just seeing. That I don’t have to have the answer to everyone’s problem. That just acknowledging them and listening is what God is requiring of me at this time. He has the answers…He is the answer. And he is already at work in each and every situation. That every person here is a child of God’s…and that he loves all of us.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. –I Peter 2:9