Yesterday, Memorial Day, a day I will remember for years to come. I had one agenda, you God, had another. My agenda: arise early, make coffee, morning devotions, write an article for my blog, throughthebibletogether.wordpress.com, visit Abraham in hospital, lunch with hubby, and then drop hubby off at the bowling alley to watch the pros. I would have the afternoon free to do more writing and continue working on my CD/DVD organization project. My morning went as planned, I got up early, had my morning cup of coffee, spent time in prayer and meditation, wrote and published blog and arrived at the hospital. Once there, Lord, you rewrote the script for the day.
My friend, Abraham, while waiting to have a nuclear-stress-test was doing well. We chatted for a few minutes, had a quick prayer and started to leave. Abraham was trying to convince, Sarah, his wife to leave and get a bite to eat. She insisted on staying. Sarah wanted to be in the room when the hospital technicians performed the nuclear-stress-test on her hubby. Sarah’s sister-in-law almost died while having a similar test and this made Sarah nervous for her hubby. I knew she needed to eat, but I also knew no amount of coaxing was going to work; even though I tried. My hubby and I hugged all and headed off to lunch. We got about half way down the long corridor when I heard you say, “Offer to buy her lunch – stay and eat with her”. My response, “I tried to get her to go to lunch, she said no!” You gently repeated your previous statement … I did a quick about-face, back into the room and said, “Hey, how about we buy you lunch down in the cafeteria. Will you go with us and have a quick bite?” Amazingly… Sarah looked at me, looked at her hubby, looked back at me and said, “Sure”.
The Cafeteria had good food and we were enjoying our time over lunch. We were met by a dear friend of Sarah’s as we started to leave the cafeteria; my hubby and I heading to the bowling alley as planned and Sarah heading back to hubby’s room. “No sense going back to the room the stress test is under way and no one is allowed in the room” her friend said. “Uh-Oh”. I looked at Sarah who had this momentary fear, deer in the headlights look, and I heard you say, “You need to be with her”. I offered to return as soon as I took hubby to the bowling alley. I would be back in about 10 minutes. I no sooner stated I would be returning when I hear someone from behind me say, “Sandra?” I turned to find a friend from church; Lydia standing before me. She was at the hospital with her hubby and family while her father-in-law was undergoing a critical surgery. I quickly asked how she was; “fine” was the answer, yet I heard you say, “I don’t think so”. I quickly left and returned as promised.
While sitting with Sarah and her adult children, who had now arrived, I observed two women not far away. I heard you say, “You need to go pray with those 2 women. I looked away from their table and pretended I hadn’t heard you; (I am sorry I acted so foolishly, Lord). I joined in Sarah’s conversation with her family and you said a little stronger, “You need to go pray with those women”. Yet, I still pretended to not hear. I heard you one more time say, “Sandra, you need to go pray with those ladies!” Okay, using my name got my attention! I couldn’t deny hearing you, so I a debated with you. “I don’t even know those ladies, and I’m supposed to go over there and pray with them?” I don’t think so, no, I don’t think so. They will think I am some crazy person. I can’t just get up and go over and say, “Hello, I am the woman from across the room and I am here to pray with you”. God… Really? “You want me to go over and pray with two total strangers who have not invited me in to their conversation”? Again, I hear this firm, yet gentle prodding, “Sandra, you need to go and pray with them”. I boldly got out of my chair, with fear and trepidation, and walked to their table. All the time I’m carrying on a conversation with myself, “This is nuts”, “I can’t believe I am doing this”; “What will they think of me”? “I have gray hair, maybe they’ll simply see me as a nice eccentric little old lady” 🙂 I approached the table, pulled out a chair and sat down. The looks on their faces – priceless, utter surprise and “What the heck is this lady doing?” See Lord, I told you they would think I am odd. I must have sounded crazy as in fast forward speed I said, “I have never done this before. But I feel led by God to come and pray with you’. Silence ensued. “Seriously, I have never done this before”. “I know this sounds a bit out of the ordinary but I really do feel led to pray with you and hope you will allow me too.” Trust me; I have never done this before. (Trust me … they don’t even know me? And how many times am I going to say, “I’ve never done this before? Get a grip girl”) Somewhat laughing now, I realize I truly do sound like a crazy person. What must they think? More silence…….. Finally, one of the ladies says, “Bless you”, while the other just stares wondering what I will say next. Calmer now, I asked the two sister’s their names (I am not sure I ever told them mine) and whom they were visiting. I prayed for peace. I thanked you, God, for the privilege of serving a God who cares for us in times such as these. I prayed for the doctors to have wisdom. I prayed for great skill at the hands of the physicians. I prayed for strength and for comfort; all the time having no clue why their mom was in the hospital; I had not asked and they had not said. I finished my prayer. I thanked them for allowing me to pray with them, and left the table.
I had barely returned to Sarah, when I hear someone say, “Sandra?” What should my eyes see as I turn to the voice, but another friend from my church; Eunice and her son? Eunice was visiting her brand new granddaughter born 3 weeks premature in the NICU. Baby was hooked up to lots of tubes for breathing; mother and baby were doing well under the circumstances. Still recovering from my God experience of praying for strangers and so surprised to see Eunice, yet another friend at the hospital, I forgot to offer to pray with her and her son. 😦 I did pray, however, for her granddaughter and her family throughout the day.
About 15 minutes later, the 2 sisters got up to return to their mom’s hospital room. One sister lightly rubbed my shoulder and said, “Bless you”, the other bent down and planted a large, wet kiss on my check and said, “thank you, thank you”. My first thought was, I am embarrassed to say, but you well know Lord, was, “He asked me to pray with you not share our germs”. Oh, Lord, what you must think of your daughter.
After my friend, Lydia, finished lunch with her family, we found a quiet corner and processed through a few fears, doubts, and hurts of the past which being in this particular hospital triggered. I was glad to be “God with skin on” for my friend. 🙂
What were the odds God, I would be in this cafeteria at this moment when 2 of my friends, from a church 20 miles away, would be in this very hospital needing encouragement and support. What were the odds 2 women would find comfort in the prayers said by a “wee bit crazy” total stranger. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Coinci-God, yes! The events of yesterday were orchestrated by you, God. I am humbled to realize You chose me to be the vessel to meet the needs of others. I am glad, very glad, I listened to You instead of going about my day as planned.
God you had this planned long before I woke up yesterday. I could have stuck to my agenda for the day, when you said, “Go back and offer to buy lunch”. But instead, I did an about-face. When leaving the hospital to head home, I could have kept on going when I heard you say, “Sandra, you need to return”. When I saw Lydia, I could have ignored you when you said, “She needs you”; but I didn’t. When you said, “Go and pray with those 2 women”, I could have run the other way (almost did) but I didn’t. God, I am so very glad I didn’t! Because I didn’t you allowed me to be a blessing to others. Because I listened to you I was blessed beyond measure!
Surrendering my plans to yours is a blessing Lord. Following your lead is a blessing… If only I surrendered, allowed you to lead and listened more often!
Love, your daughter,
“A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” Proverbs 16:9
Note: All names were changed to protect the privacy of others.