Words fail me as I reflect upon the privilege of working in some small way with the Lord through the CBA Ministry to share God’s heart towards us with others. Over the years, comments from many staff, patients and families have shared with me about how they experienced His presence, care and salvation in their time of trauma, even the dying, while I was with them. I was comforted and often encouraged by their responses to my ministry.
Numbers are necessary for reports but gratefully for our calling, yours and mine and the others, we are about the individual stories of God reaching out to individuals in need through our presence in their lives. I am remembering in my residency that so many people died after I prayed with them that it scared me until a priest told me my words helped them go to the Lord. I remember quietly saying to one man close to death to say “Lord I’m sorry, remember me” as the thief on the cross came to my mind.
Another time after being up 16 hours and wanting to retire for some sleep I became restless that things were not settled in the hospital so I got up and started walking around, actually I got lost, but I came across on one of the floors an elevator that took me to a young teenage girl sitting in the semi dark with her little baby. She was waiting for someone to come and help her, like the lost lamb. Then I slept.
And I remember a teenager in the mental health institution I was at for about three years who helped me serve communion at his going home service. He and other teenagers put on an Easter event for the entire children’s building, something that had never been done before there. His family was astounded at his change since he had been placed there from the age of 10 years, but God touched him and his life like the possessed boy in scripture.
I remember a young woman who wanted prayer before her surgery in the middle of the night and so I came. Hours later as I was about to leave she shared what was really on her heart, that she thought God was taking her legs because she had not kept her promise to stop smoking. By the time she was discharged she beat everybody in wheelchair races in the hospital hall, and her faith in God gave her hope that she shared with others.
Then there was the talk with a young girl who wondered why she had been adopted. This was my first experience with the idea that God’s blessings come in ordinary, unusual, sometimes distressing packaging, for I said to her the people that are not in our lives are as much a blessing as those that are, as we in faith trust God’s love and goodness for us.