Lessons from the Hospital Bed
It was five o clock in the morning when we arrived at the hospital last week. A cold Artic wind blew down on us as we made our way across the parking lot in the darkness. My surgery was scheduled for seven o clock and I was numb with fear. My husband tried to be cheerful but nothing could calm my nerves.
Inside the hospital, we sat silently in a cold waiting room with other nervous patients who also were waiting for their surgeries. The nurse who came for me was friendly and helpful. My spirits rose a bit. It’s amazing how just a smile and a kind word can make a difference. Soon I was being wheeled into surgery. It was seven in the morning and as the anesthesiologist administered my anesthesia, he assured me that they would be watching my monitor. That was the last thing I remembered.
I was having shoulder replacement surgery. My old shoulder was worn out with no more cartilage between the bones. The surgeon had to cut the old shoulder off and replace it with a new ball and socket, along with a rod down my arm to hold the new shoulder in place. My doctor is a specialist in this surgery so I trusted him to do the job well.
When I woke up in the recovery ward I was in pain and gasping for breath. A doctor appeared and told me that he would be back to put my shoulder to sleep so I wouldn’t feel the pain. Soon he was back with a shot that numbed my shoulder for the next twenty-four hours. A caring nurse checked my vital signs and moved around to other patients. I could see that it was eleven thirty by a clock on the wall. I drifted in and out of sleep.
Soon someone came for me and pushed my bed down the hall and into the elevator. Then down another hall and into my new hospital room. My husband was waiting there in my hospital room and it was good to see him. I was so glad that the operation was over and I felt all right. I was hooked up to an IV and many wires and tubes as well as oxygen. I felt Christ’s love through the caring nurses that were around me for the rest of the day.
Late that night after my husband had gone home and my room was dark, I looked out my hospital window and thanked God for getting me through the surgery. As I lay there in the silent darkness praying it seemed that God spoke directly to my heart.
I have a friend who I had decided to give up on. Our relationship had become toxic and I was tired of caring about this one who is always rude to me and is constantly putting down Jesus Christ. It seemed that the Lord was telling me that this person was in pain. That I should pray for this one, not run away. I argued that this one had gone too far and been too mean. But the Lord seemed to be telling me that He had died for people who had gone too far and been too mean. That I was to follow His example. To forgive and forgive again.
The next day the sun was shining and I started therapy. I walked the halls with my physical therapist and laughed with my husband. Friends and relatives called and wished me well and I was happy to be feeling better. But as I settled in to sleep that second night in the hospital, an uneasiness seemed to come over me. Fear crept into my soul for no reason and I wondered why I often feel so vulnerable.
I looked out my hospital window again and asked God why I felt so fearful and so unsettled. And then I opened the Bible and started reading. Right away my eyes fell on this verse: “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong and firm and He will settle you.” (1 Peter 5:10) As I read this verse it seemed the Lord spoke to my soul once again and said that this verse was for me. Of course, this verse is for all of God’s children. But this promise was just the right comfort for me that night in the hospital. I went to sleep with God’s comfort wrapped around me.
God had spoken to my heart there in the hospital through the Holy Spirit. Scripture tells us that the Holy Spirit, along with being our Teacher and Guide and Divine Helper is also our Comforter. One of my favorite verses describing Him as our Comforter is this one. “But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My (Jesus) Name, He will teach you all things.” (John 14:26) His comfort will be different for you than for me since your needs will be different from mine.
Two nights in the hospital and two times I felt my heavenly Father whispering directly to my heart. He has so much to say to us but do I listen? Too much noise and busyness in my life. I need to make more room for quiet times of prayer. That is another lesson I learned from my hospital stay.