I have been working on a smaller ward in the hospital over the past couple of weeks. It has been great to have more time to spend talking to patients and getting to know their families as they come in every day to visit. Time is a wonderful thing.
I have had a lot of moments with people that I will never forget. People who have been given awful statistical information about how long they will live. People who are frightened about the result of the next scan and people whose lives have been stolen because of the horror of past experiences. People who need Jesus and comfort.
I had one patient this week who we found had 300 tumours in his lungs, spreading from his stomach. Riddled.
How can I comfort this man?
He already knows chemo or surgery aren't options. He already knows all the information.
I had no words for him.
I could only listen to him talk about his children, his business and how much he loved his wife.
I realised that life becomes all the more beautiful when faced with the possibility of it ending soon...bitter sweet. My eyes were full but I managed to keep the tears inside. I think he saw the sparkle of the water inside them. I hope it brought a little of Christ's comfort to him.
I spoke with another patient who was drinking too much at home at night to make him sleep...he was tormented with nightmares since his youngest son was brutally murdered down the road from their house. He landed up in hospital with doctors nagging him to stop drinking so much....its really important to know people's stories.
I suppose I have realised that their is power in comfort. I have also realised that words often don't feature. Sometimes there are no words.
But there are hands and eyes and smiles and prayers.
I have started to pray for God to comfort people that lie on my ward. I have asked him to comfort members of my family and my friends who need a special touch. Prayer has transformed my life this year....God answers.
We are surrounded by a comfort craving society. People who need a sense of peace and security in their core that isn't shaken by the circumstance. Can I be a know it all and say that I know where it comes from? God, the God of all comfort.
2 Cor ch1v3
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort that we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also from Christ our comfort overflows"
Praise God for the chaplains in the hospital who on a daily basis approach the sick sensitively and with the love and comfort of Christ. I hear their prayers all the time..
Their prayers have never risen a dead body on my ward.
Their prayers mostly go unnoticed by others.
But I know that their prayer makes a difference and brings comfort, what a gift to give someone.
Is there anything better than a strong arm of comfort just when you need it. God gives me that arms wrapped round tight feeling where I feel secure and at ease. I want this to overflow as I approach the needy stranger, the friend or the loved one.
Comfort-The God of all comfort chooses to dwell inside us.