It had been a busy hospital day for me, but I had one more to go. As I waited for the elevator, a nurse walked up beside me. She looked tired.
I like nurses because my mom was one and a teacher of nurses as well. So, I asked her where she went to school, mentioned mom, and we discovered some mutual friends. As the elevator arrived she asked, “Headed home?” I said, “No, I have one more hospital to go.” She replied, “Me, too.”
That perplexed me a bit. So, I asked her about the “one more hospital.” She said that her 21-year-old son was having treatment for cancer. By now we were headed to the parking lot, and I expressed concern and told her that I would be praying for her. She said thanks and that prayer had gotten them through when her 8-year-old daughter died from cancer. I was stunned; I could hardly believe what I had just heard! Here was a nurse who compassionately worked at a children’s hospital when she had lost a daughter to the ravages of a disease that was at the top of the list of the most frequent maladies of the patients she treated.
I looked at this woman and marveled at her strength. I tried to mumble some words of encouragement to her and said, “I’ll pray for you…It will be okay.” With a twinkle in her eye, she replied confidently, “I know it will!”
Wow! I staggered to my car, looked heavenward with tears in my eyes and asked the Lord, “Why did you bring me to her? Did I do enough, say the right things?” Then, almost audibly, I heard, “You dummy, I didn’t bring you to her, I brought her to you!”
I call these kinds of events “God moments.” We are confronted with them frequently. Now you may be thinking, “Well, Donovan, that may be true for you preachers, but not for us ‘plain ole Christians.’” However, I beg to differ.
I think God rather delights in using all sorts of believers and situations to visit and minister to His people.
If you aren’t recognizing these encounters, might I suggest that it is due to the noise in our culture and, consequently, in our personal lives. There is so much “noise” both literal and virtual that we can’t experience God’s still, small voice and gentle nudges in our daily experience.
While we don’t have the same relationship with God that the prophet Elijah had, perhaps we might be able to discover what he discovered: God did not speak to Elijah in the powerful wind or the earthquake or the raging fire.
“And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” —1 Kings 19:12b (NIV)
God spoke to Elijah in a still small voice. God wants to speak to us and use us to speak into the lives of others even as that wonderful nurse and mom blessed me. Join me in quieting the noise so that we can hear and bless and be blessed.
Written by Dr. Jim Donovan, Professor of Education