(Names have been changed to maintain privacy.)
“Lord, would you enable me to touch a life today?”
A number of years ago my husband, Steve, prayed this request. Now he prays it every day.
It seems that God answers that prayer most every day. “I pray in anticipation that God will put the right opportunities in my path,” Steve says. “I keep my eyes open. I choose to engage.”
Some conversations are brief, others more extended. Often hearts are open to spiritual thoughts, even seeking God. Other times Steve seeks to do good to them or speak a blessing. Often he gives a free copy of one of his books: Enjoying Your Walk with God, How to Get Better Grades and Have More Fun, or How to Achieve Your Potential and Enjoy Life.
It has been a joyful journey of meaningful encounters. But nothing prepared us for the number of opportunities this past week in the hospital.
A week ago Steve checked into Orlando Regional Medical Center for hip replacement surgery at 1:30 for his 3:30 scheduled procedure. Time passed. Nothing happened. Before finally heading back around 6:15, Steve had numerous pleasant conversations with Jorge, who accepted a book from Steve as they parted.
His pre-op nurse, Mi-Young, was a bright, chatty woman. She and Steve hit if off immediately, with much joking back and forth. Eventually she talked about a failed marriage, raising her daughter by herself, lots of partying. She wasn’t looking for spiritual answers, but she gladly received Steve’s prayer for her.
Resident John asked Steve a lot of questions to make sure all was ready for surgery. Steve asked him about his life—and discovered he had gone on medical mission trips and had partnered with our ministry in the Philippines. They rejoiced together over opportunities they had had to serve God.
Joel, a gregarious doctor with lots of questions as well, focused on anesthesia related issues. Steve mentioned a breathing problem he had waking up from a previous surgery. Greg not only knew what caused it, but had written a paper on it. He wrote a note on the pre-op orders to make sure it didn’t happen again. Steve thanked him and prayed for him.
Caterina, another pre-op nurse, had time to talk. A believer, she had a lot of questions and eagerly took Enjoying Your Walk with God as Steve headed to the OR.
Steve doesn’t remember any conversations during surgery.
After recovery, he was taken to his room on the ortho floor, where he was met by Grace, the night nurse. He wasn’t feeling too good, and she and other nursing staff served him well, even getting him to walk (on his new hip) two steps to the bed! Before she went off duty in the morning, we discovered she was Filipina, married to a pastor here, and had been involved with our ministry in the Philippines.
The next morning we had more conversation with Grace as her shift ended. She told us about the church she and her husband had started and wanted to know more about our ministry. She accepted a book, we prayed for her and she prayed for Steve’s recovery and ministry. She and I are now Facebook friends and had an extended online conversation this morning.
Carolyn, the day nurse, was always helpful, such a servant, explaining everything, listening to and answering Steve’s many questions. A delightful person, she was not interested in the Lord, though she was glad for Steve to pray for her before we left.
Jennifer was quick to meet a need as well as take vitals, fix an IV that came out, get juice—whatever Steve needed. And she wanted to talk about Jesus. Some hard circumstances had resulted in her drifting from Him, and she was eager to read Enjoying Your Walk with God as a help to restoring her relationship with the Lord.
And then came Ella, our tiny, riotous, laughing, encouraging Physical Trainer, sent to help/push Steve into mobility. Which she did. Before we left after two nights, she had him walking around the floor with his walker. And conversation flowed quickly from what Steve does to her relationship with God.
Anticipating heading home soon, we were delighted when his doctor showed up. He stressed that the surgery had gone “perfectly.” Then he prayed for Steve and Steve prayed for him.
All packed up, we were glad to see Dream and Lance (their real names), the transport to our car. One pushed the wheelchair and the other the cart with our bags and the equipment Steve would be needing. Steve asked, as he usually does to young men and women, if they were students and if they liked to read. One said yes, and Steve gave him “Get Better Grades.” Steve offered the “Achieve Your Potential” book to the other, which he gladly received. When each saw what the other had, they both wanted that book as well. And for Steve to sign them.
What an incredible experience—the surgery, of course, and the beginning of recovery. But especially all the opportunities God gave for us to be served and encouraged by good people–but also the chance to give back to them with gratitude, positive attitudes and to touch their lives.
God had one more surprise for us. Steve’s visiting home nurse for the duration of recovery, Lisa, reminded us of his PT at the hospital—jovial, fun, but no nonsense on what Steve needed to do. She recognized his voice from listening to his daily radio show on Z88-radio and told us her story of a difficult family situation and how the Lord was sustaining her. We both prayed for her.
It all started with one little prayer: “Lord, would you enable me to touch a life today.” And God has graciously and abundantly answered that prayer through the years—and at the hospital this week.
What about you? Who is waiting for a touch from God—through you?
C2017 Judy Douglass