June 06, 2012
| For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. –Ephesians 2:10 NIV |
It was a place that I had visited with God so many times before in the past. You may think it was on top of the tallest dune with swaying sea oats or during a stroll near the water’s edge or even on a bench sitting alone on a pier. But no, the place was actually a hospital chapel.
Over the years I had become too familiar with this little chapel in this big hospital. This cozy room was bathed in rich dark wood, a few rows of hard uncomfortable pews and a couple of fake stained glass windows that were backlit with fluorescent bulbs. The velvet kneeling cushion at the altar was worn and frayed. It needed replacing long ago but it still served its purpose. I always sat in the same place, second row, center pew. It was the only quiet place I could go and be with God at the hospital. The thick walls kept the customary hospital sounds out and for that I was grateful. And here I was again. I was just here a month ago and now back again. Just too soon.
On this particular night it was Saturday evening at 9pm and I was praying for my loved one and just resting in His Peace. After a while and feeling content with this brief respite, I decided to leave and call it a day. But I couldn’t move. So I thought maybe it was more praying I needed to do, so I did. A while later I went to get up and felt like weights were on my legs. I didn’t have the strength to stand. I was puzzled. Why couldn’t I get up? I knew that I was tired and reasoned if I sat a while longer maybe the feeling would pass. It had been a long day. So I decided just to sit and wait some more. My mind was blank; the prayers had been said so I just bowed my head and breathed a big sigh. And then the door to the chapel swung open. A little girl came in and sat down next to me. She sat so close she practically crawled in my lap! With our legs touching as she grabbed for both of my hands, I looked at her and thought for a moment that either she was an angel or she thought I was an angel and this was the reason I couldn’t leave earlier ….God was putting us together and I quickly realized He was about to give me an assignment.
This precious girl was 12 years old and said her grandfather was upstairs in ICU and he was minutes away from dying. She said her whole family was upset and crying but she didn’t understand why she wasn’t crying. She wondered out loud that maybe something was wrong with her that she wasn’t upset and crying too like the grownups. But what did upset her was that she didn’t know how to help her family. She was desperate to help. I hugged her tightly and held her close. I assured her nothing was wrong with her. I asked if she would like me to pray for her and she said “Oh yes”. She said she knew God. So I prayed a simple prayer as we were clutching one another. And then she prayed too. Simple. Innocent. Childlike. Beautiful. I asked her if she knew “The Lords’ Prayer”. And she said, “Do you mean the one that goes ‘Now I lay me down to sleep’”? Smiling at her innocence, I told her it was a grown up prayer and she would hear it again until one day she could memorize it too. So I said the prayer as she was still holding on to me. The minute I said “Amen”, she grabbed my hands and started to pull on me. I could see in her eyes how distraught she was and how intent she was to do something good. Begging me, she asked me to go with her to help her family like I had just helped her. I didn’t hesitate. God was now revealing His assignment. While we were walking the back halls of the hospital, arm in arm and taking the elevator to ICU, I prayed my own prayer that if this is God’s work that He would give me His words to say and pray, and that He would be present. I would just be the messenger for Him. Let these words be God’s words, not mine.
This precious child took me to her mother standing outside of the room and I explained why I was there at the request of her daughter. She hugged me and said this is definitely a divine connection. I was then taken into the small room at grandfather’s bedside where about 15 family members of all ages were standing surrounding his bed. They greeted me with hugs and great love and were most appreciative of a prayer. (God must have known that these hugs would comfort me as well.) I made my way around the room speaking quietly, hugging and shaking hands to each person and finally I reached my hands out to the grandmother. I asked her if this prayer was something she would like for her husband and her family and she said, “ Yes”. I shared that “I understood this moment in time for their family. In this same hospital, just three years ago my father went to be with the Lord. I believe God has brought me here tonight to let you know He loves you and He is with you.” And then I prayed. God gave me beautiful words of comfort. We were holding hands in a circle around grandfather in unity and in unison we ended with “The Lord’s Prayer” and together we all said, “Amen”. I turned to the little girl and said, “I believe God used you and me tonight so together we could bring comfort to your family. So God must have very special plans for you in your life. Just keep following God and He will take you many places and maybe one day you can help another family like you helped your own tonight. I believe you will go far and you will be a leader. Set high goals for yourself.” I hugged the grandmother one more time and touched the grandfather at his feet and said “God bless you grandfather”. I left the room and walked to the elevator. I never got their name. I don’t know what happened to him in the following hours. We had prayed that God would heal him whether it was on this earth or as he walked the streets of gold in Heaven, that the chains of sickness would be broken from him. What I do know was that grandfather and his family was held tightly by God’s loving arms that Saturday night. And I was humbled to be used by Him.
I went back to the chapel. I had been with my loved one for a week and that Saturday morning I was to fly back home. But my loved one took a sudden turn and I had to cancel my trip home. I wasn’t supposed to be in that chapel earlier in the evening. I should have been a home with my own family in another state. But God intervened and put me where He needed me. And He will use you too. It could be in the line at the grocery store, the pier, walking the beach, anywhere. Or yes, like me, He could find a way to cancel your trip so He could put you where He wants you. God’s plans are bigger than our own. God knows when we need comfort and He brings it. There is no doubt in my mind that God is everywhere, sees everything and is over us all. We can depend on Him. I wonder if that little girl I met will let those encouraging words I spoke stick on the inside of her. Maybe her life will be different and her family will see her in a special way now. All things are possible and He gets the credit for all good things. And oh yes, my family member was touched by God too and we were able to leave the hospital a few days later in better health than when we arrived. God is so good!