Much of the month of November we have been involved in the care of an ill family member. Where this in itself is a challenging aspect…learning what to do, how to do it, and when to do it…who to call when you don’t do it right and who you can count on to help should the need arise, proved to be even more challenging.
Where we may think these particular times are about the person being assisted…maybe we should re-think that. I now truly believe these times are for the care-givers just as much as those being cared for. I have learned much, and pray that I continue to learn and be stretched beyond what I ever imagined.
At a recent trip to the hospital, I had time to visit the chapel (time, haha…at a hospital, where the keyword is ‘wait’?). Mostly out of curiosity than need…I thought. As I entered the rather large room I noticed about 10 pews, a podium, a piano and even an organ towards the front of the room (these are typically a small, dark room with only a few chairs a podium or altar and maybe a floral centerpiece). At the back, where I entered, was some information about the services offered, a decorative cross/floral display and an open 3-ring book. I have to admit, my curiosity took over, and I gravitated to the book.
On the book were several lines (like notebook paper) and the word “Prayers” typed across the top of each page. The book was about ¾ full (and it was a large book) of hand-written petitions to God. I had expected something like…11.5.02—Mary Smith—Heart Surgery. Not in this book.
As I flipped through the pages I noticed (and yes, read) lines and lines of heart-break, fear, questions and thanks. People had come into this chapel, for probably the same reason I had, and were welcomed by ‘The Book’. This book was an insight into the world of those who had loved-ones in surgery and in pain, yes. But, it was also a place to lay down burdens, to share their thoughts, prayers and petitions at the feet of Jesus. It would appear some workers at the hospital even enter this place sometime in their schedule and visit their Father through the pages of The Book. There were questions about marriage, there were prayers for the afflicted, there were pleas for enough food to feed their children among the expected lines about an accident, a pregnancy gone wrong, and the untimely death of a loved father.
I began to feel tears well up in my eyes as I searched for a way to contact some of these people that I was yearning to help. I could buy some food, I could offer a blanket, I could even hold a hand and listen. No-one left contact information…these were prayers to their Father, He already knew the very hairs of their head…He didn’t need an email address.
Some may be thinking I shouldn’t have been reading the lines…and truthfully, that thought crossed my mind as well. But, God works in mysterious ways, as we all know. I truly believe this Book and the reading of it was a part of that plan for me. It was a reality check. Had I thanked God for His blessings today, yesterday or the day before? We weren’t homeless, we had plenty food, our children were well, and God had even led us to this hospital in order for it’s knowledge and expertise to be used to assist us with the health of our loved one.
When we take the time to acknowledge them, God’s blessings are everywhere. Sometimes it takes reading the hearts of others to appreciate our own lives and it’s circumstances. That is not to say that I LIKE our loved one being in this situation…(and I know he doesn’t either), but through ‘The Book’ I learned afresh the truth of God’s plans and how we are to pray expecting an answer.
As I turned to leave the room and it’s contents behind me, I closed the book, lay my hand upon it and asked God to bless each of those represented in it in a special way. I wonder how many others have been led to do the same thing? -- Shanna Hoskison (c) Dec 2002
~~Jer 1:5 -- Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee…~~