“Now Joseph, a Levite of Cyprian birth … was also called Barnabas by the apostles (which translated means Son of Encouragement).” Acts 4:36
Yesterday morning, around 9:00, my sister-in-law requested prayer, on our family group text, for her dad. He lives in another state and was on his way to have a major surgery. Because of Covid, my SIL was unable to be there. She asked us to pray specifically for certain issues, among them his anxiety and his blood sugar, which was extremely high. At 4:40 she sent another text which began, “Oh my goodness. Please pray.” She went on to say that her dad was in surgery and that the hospital waiting rooms were being evacuated because there was a tornado warning in the area. At 5:21 she let us know that the storms had gone south of the hospital, but she was concerned because the surgery was supposed to have taken two hours, and it had been almost four hours since they took him in. At 5:42, she informed us that he was out of surgery. The last text came at 10:34 PM. Her dad had been in a lot of pain for some time, but he wasn’t allowed to have medication for it until he was more awake. He was finally getting pain meds when she texted.
This morning she reported that he was in terrible pain. At 6am, a resident Dr. had come in, who wasn’t with his team of doctors. She pushed on his stomach. When she pushed, the pain got so bad he could barely breathe. She put him on liquid Tylenol instead of his normal pain medicine. He called his surgeon, and now there is concern that she may have messed something up, because she shouldn’t have pressed on his stomach. As of this last text, they were ordering a morphine pump. My sister-in-law had talked to him, and said he sounded awful.
The report this morning broke my heart. I thought about how needless this suffering was. I thought about all of the obstacles he had faced on this journey to having a life-saving surgery…
the anxiety, the extremely high blood sugar, the threat of a tornado, the extended length of the procedure. It made me angry to think about how one ignorant, careless act, at the least, is causing him undue suffering, and potentially more damage, yet to be revealed.
As I pondered this, I realized that this same scenario is played out in the spiritual realm more times than I care to think. What really concerned me was the thought that, in some cases, I may be the person who is responsible for the ignorant, careless act. I am surrounded by people… hurting people. That’s a fact. We are all hurting in one way or another. It goes with being residents in a sin-sick world. Those around me are in different places in their journey. Some are not even yet aware that they are in need of the life-giving surgery that Jesus made available. Others are on their way to have it, but they are filled with anxiety, about what all it will entail. Some have issues in their lives that they take into the surgery with them, that may cause them future difficulties. Some have experienced severe storms. Some have made it through many obstacles and are fragile, new believers.
Oh Father, give me wisdom, discernment and most of all your compassion. Make mine a healing hand. Don’t let me press on the sore spots. Help me to speak life-giving words and perform deeds that facilitate others on their journey to full recovery. Make me an encourager! Thank you, Father. I know it is only Your grace that makes this possible.