Heal the Sick

One of my clients is in the hospital, having had surgery yesterday morning. Late this afternoon, I was asked if I could make a trip to the hospital for a chaplain visit. Every once in a while I get a call like that. A number of years ago, after I was ordained, I applied to the Church Federation of Greater Indianapolis and went through the process of applying for and receiving official chaplain credentials. Basically, they include clergy credentials and an identification card that allows me access to the area hospitals all hours of the day and night.

Not having a church or regular visitation schedule, I don’t find myself at the hospital very often. But St. Vincent’s, where I was today, holds a number of special memories for me. For starters, when I had my staffing company, I used to supply temporary staffing to the hospital – not nurses or high powered executives, but administrative help and technicians who worked throughout the organization.

It was also the site of my gall bladder surgery back on June 12, 1984. I remember being in so much pain I almost couldn’t stand it and finally the verdict came down that I needed to have surgery. I was more than slightly scared at the prospect, but I really didn’t have a choice. So, on June 12th, during a terrible rain storm, I was wheeled into surgery. I was in the hospital 9 days, and recovery from this procedure was far more complicated than I had anticipated. Due to the degree of internal scarring I had, doctors actually removed part of my liver during the procedure. I was out of the mainstream until almost Labor Day. Boy, I was sick…

Throughout the years, I have visited a number of people who have had babies and are celebrating the expansion of their families. But St. Vincent’s has also been the place where I visited Roger Johnson, a dear friend who finally succumbed to pancreatic cancer several years ago. I remember walking up and down the hallways, numerous times, as he was frequently hospitalized in the final months of his life. I remember the discussions we had – how his optimistic attitude eventually gave way to the acceptance that his life was ebbing away.

And I remember praying with him in his hospital room, for the first time in the thirty years or so that we were friends. It’s strange how people are drawn closer when adversity, especially illness, brings them together. That’s how it was with Roger. And somehow, that whole experience has made me a better ambassador of God in the process. Now, when I enter the hospital, I keep my eyes and ears open – hyper aware of people who may need a kind word or to be prayed for. Even folks who don’t normally attend church or aren’t overtly religious seem to really appreciate someone praying for them in a hospital.

Many times, of course, people pray for healing or that they be delivered from adversity. Jesus certainly was, and is, capable of answering all those prayers. There are numerous stories in the Bible recounting incidents where people either touched the robe of Jesus or were healed from diseases and problems that they had suffered for years. There are even stories of Jesus raising the dead…

The verse for tonight is a short one – Luke 10:9 “Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’” The situation is this – Jesus has charged the disciples to go throughout the land and He empowered them to heal the sick. Jesus used the people he sent out to advance the kingdom here on earth. To a large degree, pastors and chaplains also pray in the name of God for healing and divine peace. Sometimes, people even come to Christ as a result of an encounter with the living God during times of tribulation and illness.

My encouragement this evening is that God wants all of us to act on His behalf in assisting the sick and those who are suffering trials. My prayer is that you will do everything in your power to live up the the expectations that God has for each of us. And just perhaps, you will take a moment today to send up a prayer for all those who are under the weather and need a little encouragement. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

 
 
 
 

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