Over the last five years or so, as a hospital chaplain, I have walked alongside numerous individuals and families enduring a wide range of crises in life. I offered a supportive presence to a woman who was learning to speak with a tracheotomy. I prayed with a family before their child underwent major surgery and then rejoiced with them a week later as she walked across her room. I baptized an adult before he died. I performed a “Blessing of the Hands” ceremony for a group of nurses before the beginning of their shift.
Thus, with these difficult experiences, many have questioned, “How do you do it? How can you handle seeing all the suffering?” I still recall the day that hospital chaplaincy became a possibility in my mind. Sitting with two different individuals—one professor and a career advisor—during two different hours to discuss possible internships for seminary, each asked, “Have you considered hospital chaplaincy?” My response to both of them: “Are you nuts?! All of my life I’ve been trying to get out of hospitals, and now you want me to work in them?!” Having been hospitalized over twenty times and having endured numerous medical procedures, I never understood growing up why God placed a caring but competitive spirit in a physically challenged body. However, I now realize that Lord is working through me in order to best personally relate to the patients and their families, offering them a sense of perseverance through their crisis.
No matter how tough the battle becomes, may we always know our Great Warrior will prove tough enough to overcome all evil.
Father, I give you the burdens I face today. Walk with me, granting me wisdom, to overcome. Demonstrate Your faithfulness, even when I may not sense Your presence. In Jesus’ name, Amen.