As a Pastor I visit the sick in hospital.
I have never been hospitalized before. So when I was recently warded for my angioplasty and had to stay in the hospital I experienced a role reversal. The pastor is now the patient.
Let me share that experience with you.
I met my doctor for a pre-op briefing in the morning prior to surgery. What he said to me was extremely candid and hardly very reassuring. He told me there is a two percent risk and went on to describe what could be some worst possible outcomes. “Are you scaring me?” I asked. He replied in candid fashion, “I need to protect my backside.”
I realized that when one is going for a major surgery, what he really needs is the assurance of what could be better.
I decided I would turn to Scriptures for assurance.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God … your Saviour” (Isaiah 43:2-3a NKJV)
The surgeon gave me the worst-case scenario. But Scripture gives me the best-case scenario.
I never had my family showing so much care and concern to me than when they heard the op I would be having. Suddenly they realized our human mortality, the fragility of life and their parent’s health, which they could never take for granted.
The night before I was warded, they came to my bedroom to pray for me. My wife led using the prayer I composed in my blog. I saw the somber look of my four children. They prayed and pleaded with God.
I never had a family prayer like this. I deeply treasured this sacred moment of our family life. There is nothing that gives you more reason to want to live on.
On most days my children are not that sensitive and responsive to my needs. But now one took leave to be with me in hospital. Others said they would buy me stuff that I like to eat. I literally bask in the attention they gave me. For me, it was a family bonding time. My heart surgery has caused a change of heart among my children.
I told quite a few that my stay in ICU was a staycation. The nursing staff kept checking in to see if I need any thing. I thought this is the best room service I ever had in any hotel stay.
When the nurse asked me what I do for a living, he opened the door for me to witness to my faith. In many ways my life as a Pastor is quite cloistered and I don’t usually come in contact with people outside the circle of church people.
Prayers of the saints
I really felt that throughout the surgical procedure and hospitalization, I was kept afloat by the “prayers of the saints” (Revelation 8:3-4).
I was felt cheered on by their faith and prayers. The feeling is like having a shouting crowd watching you run the race and telling you – “Don’t give up. You are almost there. Press on!” Mine was a crowd of prayer warriors shouting, “You are safe. God’s peace is with you. We will see you with a 20 year old heart!”
Tap it right
During the night in ICU, the reading of oxygen concentration in the monitor was unusually low (85). I was given the oxygen tube. My wife thought the tapping on the finger of my punctured wrist might have skewed the reading. The nursing staff didn’t think so. Thought I might have sleep apnea for I snore quite a bit. To prove it, he confidently switch to the other hand and was stumped when the reading of oxygen shot to 100.
My final point is we need to tap it right. Healing does not come from the doctor. The doctor only prescribes. But God is the One who heals. All healing grace comes from God.
I look beyond the skills of my talented surgeon, great anesthetist, trained nursing staff, the host of medications and tap my perspective on the God who heals.
This I say with conviction not as a pastor but a patient.