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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lessons From A Hospital Waiting Room

On Friday, my phone rang at 7:30 am. It was my sister asking me to take her four year old daughter to the hospital because she was wheezing. My niece suffers with asthma and I literally woke my 14 year old dressed and dashed out the house with both my younger children in tow.

I left the older daughter to babysit her little sister and eight year old cousin and grabbed my mother and niece to take them to the hospital. I had never had to do this before. I was completely unprepared, didn't know what to expect. I hardly thought that I would spend five hours in that place, but that was the reality of it. No food, no water, no money.. both my mother and I had left without cash on us. I had planned to fast as I usually do, but God even took it one step further that day.. I would give Him more than I had planned.

After my niece was triaged(and trust me, I never knew that word before Friday), it must have been decided that she wasn't critical yet because the wait to see a doctor seemed endless  and once we got inside the process was slow and torturous. They had to put her on  a nebulizer and wait for the medication to be administered, a half hour process, then wait another half hour for the meds to work to be examined by the doctor. After four of those, her lungs had to be x-rayed and then they decided to do another treatment.

All this time I had to wait outside because they wouldn't let more than one person stay with her. As I watched the waiting room empty and fill back I tried to pray. I thought about how  my day had turned out and the prayer list on my prayer altar at home with all the people for whom I was supposed to be praying now. I felt distracted and confused. I was worried about my own children left behind at my mother's house. I longed to be in God's sanctuary and I hated that I wouldn't be able to keep my promise to pray for those who needed prayer.

I felt this niggling little thing calling to me in the mists of my mind. I saw Jesus as He is in a video I saw recently, hugging and kissing children, comforting and healing and I thought.. if Jesus were here right now isn't that exactly what He would be doing? I'm supposed to be His eyes, His hands, His feet, His voice here on earth.. yet I couldn't find the courage to reach out to anyone.

Suddenly, while I was thrashing this out with God in my mind.. I cant really call it praying now can I? A young girl at the back turned on her phone and the song you hear in the video came on. I felt like peace descend .. God whispered to my heart "My sanctuary is wherever you find me. I want you here in this place now. You can pray for your friends anywhere.. you can pray here and look how many more people I have given to you to pray for."

I opened my eyes and saw anew, the young mother with the premature infant struggling to breathe, the young boy who'd been bitten on the testicles by a dog, the weak looking little infant in her tired mother's arms. I SAW them and then I began to pray. As the waiting room filled and emptied again, I prayed and I talked to some of the people waiting. I learned their stories, I hope I offered them some comfort. I prayed for them to have strength and for healing for their little ones.

I couldn't imagine the pain, the worry, the frustration these parents must be feeling. The dog-bite boy had arrived ten minutes after we did. We left him there.. his parents said he had to have stitches.. poor child. I wonder what his future holds. One mother related having been there just two days before.. her little one also had asthma. How exhausted she must have been with all those sleepless nights.. the steroid in the medications makes the children hyperactive.. they may not be well but they're not sleeping either.

In the midst of all this suffering.. I lifted my eyes to Heaven and said 'Breathe on me.. my Saviour.. teach my heart to love and have compassion. Fan the flame of zeal to do your work within me. Take me to your Sanctuary.. breathe on me.. breathe courage, breathe wisdom.

And then... I thanked Him... thanked Him that in the raising of four children I have never had to go to the hospital in such circumstances with any of them. Thanked Him that none of my children have suffered illnesses and diseases. Thanked Him because, in the face of others' sufferings and sorrows mine seem so insignificant. In the face of all He suffered for us... what we endure is like the mist that evaporates when the sun rises.

Breathe on us.. teach our hearts...comfort, heal, restore with love.. this was my prayer for you my friends.. from a hospital waiting room on Friday.. and God was there and He listened.

Love and Blessings to all of you

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