Posts Tagged ‘hospitals’

I Can Do All Things through Christ Which Strengtheneth Me (Philippians 4v13)

April 10, 2019

IMG-20190402-WA0003

Yes, I can; I can drive many miles through heavy city traffic, I can pray while someone I love is going through procedures and treatments – and I can trust the Lord each day for whatever it may bring. He is my strength and my shield through all the changing scenes of life. What is more – He can assist me to be a witness and a comfort to those I come in contact with in that place. Someday I will understand why certain things happen but for the moment I walk by faith, His thousands of promises filling my heart. “The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.” (Psalm 34v17)

If all of my life had been filled with joy, good days and laughter, how could I empathise with those who are suffering? I would nod as they tell me of their troubles and try to understand but no one can even start to understand unless they have been there.

Jesus walked this earth and understands – and His timing is perfect, as regards the people we meet, seemingly by chance. But it is never by chance, as I have discovered this very day. He gave me the words for the little tract: “Words of Love, Hope & Comfort Especially for You” over a year ago (29th January 2018) and He has assisted me to give copies to people as He directs. Yes, I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me… including having the courage to speak to others. I “test the waters” first, as not everyone wants to speak. A smile, a comment, a friendly two-way conversation and then, in the Lord’s strength, showing them that you understand, you care – and what the Source of your own strength is. Only He can give us real love and compassion for others.

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2Corinthians 1v3&4)

No, nothing is by chance. Ultimately, as soldiers in the Lord’s army, we are placed strategically in certain places and at certain times – to reach certain souls. And I firmly believe that we will meet some souls that we have spoken to some beautiful day in Heaven.

There are times when my heart is heavy but I turn and place my burdens on the God of all comfort, for His ways are perfect and I know that no matter what happens in this scene of time to His children… “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” (Psalm 30v5)

“Life is a Journey…. Destination Unknown”

July 29, 2018

IMG-20180402-WA0005

These words, in block capitals and emblazoned on a man’s t-shirt, hit me between the eyes as I emerged from revolving hospital doors into the bright sunshine. People in dressing gowns puffed desperately on cigarette butts as they leaned wearily against poles on my route to the car park. A man sitting on a wheelchair with amputated legs stared through me, his eyes empty and sorrowful, as if this life had left him in a state of permanent shock, which perhaps indeed it had….

Earlier inside, a lady with a tumour on the side of her head sat waiting for the countdown… soon her number would be called to have a blood test. Tired pale patients sat on endless rows of chairs, staring at the floor or reading newspapers, or with their eyes glued to their iPhones; such is everyday life in a public hospital in Ireland. I had seen many come out of consultant’s rooms, tears filling their eyes. In other parts of the hospital revealing scans were taking place, suffering bodies lay in pain and sometimes a priest could be seen hurrying along down a corridor….

As I started up the car, I whispered… “Why, why do I find myself in this terrible place?” This place where the police are called to frequently, especially to the A & E Department, when someone addicted to something loses their cool. Hospitals are not pleasant places – but this one less so than most.

Then I feel regret for having such a thought as this and I thank the Lord from the bottom of my heart for all He has done for me and for loved ones.

I thank Him for the health and strength that He has given me, despite the fact that I am “not getting any younger” as the saying goes. I thank Him that He left the realms of glory to come down to this suffering sinful world. I thank Him for His love for all and how He wants nothing more than that ill, burdened and heartbroken souls repent, trust and rest in Him for all their tomorrows.

Life is a Journey… but the destination is not unknown for those who give their lives to Him and put their trust in Him for whatever life brings their way. I drive home from the polluted city to my humble home in the lovely countryside where our sleeping cats purr happily beside bright flowers in the garden and the wind blows softly through the leafy trees. Thank you Lord for leaving your Home, your beautiful and glorious Home in glory to come to such a world as this – and not only to come, but to die for all that they might find that peace that passes all understanding – that peace and tranquillity that transcends life’s darkest moments, in the knowledge that someday they might live in that beautiful Home with You, free from the sorrow and pain of this life.

If life was smooth, carefree and I never had to look on, or experience, suffering, I would be of little use in this old world.  As I gaze at the flowers, the second verse of Isaac Watt’s hymn “Am I a Soldier of the Cross?” comes to mind as I think on these things…

“Must I be carried to the skies

On flow’ry beds of ease,

While others fought to win the prize,

And sailed through bloody seas?”

 

Yes Lord, if you have a purpose in my visits to places of suffering and if you want me to speak to some soul or souls, I will go in Thy strength. Thank you Lord for contacts already made and someone still in contact.

And thank you, Lord, for the heritage of beautiful hymns left to us by souls who walked closely with you down through the centuries. One such soul was Isaac Watts (1674-1748) who gave his heart to the Lord at the tender age of fifteen. This forerunner of English hymn-writers left a truly wonderful legacy of over six hundred hymns, many of which still encourage heavy hearts today… “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross; Alas, and did my Saviour Bleed?; Jesus shall reign, wher’er the sun; Not all the Blood of Beasts on Jewish Altars Slain; Our God, our help in ages past…” I quote the last verse and the chorus of “Am I a Soldier of the Cross?” which speaks to my heart at this time in my life…

 

“Since I must fight if I would reign,

Increase my courage Lord!

I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain

Supported by Thy Word.

 

In the Name, the precious Name

Of Him who died for me,

Thro’ grace I’ll win the promised crown,

Whate’er my cross may be.”

 

The “Beast from the East,” Hospital A&E’s … and Strength in the Lord

March 18, 2018

20180303_151446

Ireland, with its temperate climate rarely gets much snow (if any) but the recent severe weather conditions, aptly named “the Beast from the East,” brought storm “Emma” and drifts of 7feet high -perhaps even more in many areas. Even the sea and waterfalls were frozen in some places! For a few days we didn’t venture out, as our local road had high hard-packed snow. All schools, colleges and places of work closed because of the arctic weather conditions. Directly after all of this I was confronted with another type of blizzard – frequent trips to different hospitals with two members of the family. It is at times like this that we really must cast our burdens upon the Lord!

I am very much reminded of an old phrase “the best laid schemes of mice and men,” which has its origin in a verse of Robert Burns’ “To a Mouse” poem written in 1785…

“The best laid schemes of mice and men,

Go often askew,

And leave us nothing

But grief and pain,

For promised joy!”

It is said that the poet was ploughing in the fields and accidentally destroyed a mouse’s nest, which the poor little creature had built for the winter. Robert Burns was so touched by this that his brother claimed that he composed the entire poem while still holding the plough. As I surveyed the fields around our home recently, I felt sorry for any creature trying to survive the blizzards and freezing temperatures and also acknowledged that, really, we cannot make any plans for the future that we can be certain of. The apparent security of the material things we surround ourselves with, like the little field mouse’s nest, can be obliterated in a split second. With all our modern technology, both the weather and many of the circumstances in our lives are beyond our control. We just have no idea what a day will bring forth!

If anyone had told me last year what lay ahead in these first few months of 2018, I would have sighed and said: “You’re not being serious… really?” But the Lord has given me strength and great encouragement in the midst of unpleasant situations.

“Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint: and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40v28-31)

He also deepens our faith and we live from moment to moment in His strength, with the assurance that when our lives belong to Him, He is in control – even through seemingly impossible situations. We “are not out of the woods” yet with regard to health issues but I rest in His unfailing love, remembering the little Bible that my father and mother gave me over 40 years ago. Perhaps she was thinking of the unknown future that night, when the Lord guided my mother to write this lovely verse in that Bible: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isaiah 41v10) It seemed strange to me at the time, for I was young and had little to concern me, but the passing years have brought many reasons to rest on this unfailing promise.

Her now faded handwriting on the old Bible and the love with which she wrote the verse so long ago live on, spurring me on, challenging me, encouraging me to trust her Saviour and mine, in the knowledge that “…He that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121v4)

“All Things Work Together For Good to Them That Love God…” (Romans 8v28)

November 9, 2013

6050

I have recently read, yet again, that familiar story of Joseph and his brothers in Genesis. Every time I read it, I feel sympathy once again for his father Jacob, who, on hearing that Joseph’s coat of many colours had been found covered in blood, “mourned for his son many days,” (Genesis 37v34). As a parent myself, I can imagine how heartbroken and distraught Jacob must have been at this news. I can also imagine how horrified the young Joseph may have felt to find himself eventually sold into slavery in Egypt.

Yet we learn later in Genesis 39v2 that “the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian.”

Joseph was to be dismayed later, when his master’s wife tried to cause trouble for him and he was subsequently cast into prison, but eventually his God-given ability to interpret dreams brought him into favour with his master once more.

And so, life with its happy times (but often troubles) carries us along and sometimes we may feel shocked and saddened to find ourselves in situations not of our making. However, if we have made the Lord Jesus Christ the Master of our lives, then we must trust Him to carry us through whatever situation we find ourselves in. Whether that situation is a serious health diagnosis or something completely different, the Lord has promised those who love and follow Him that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8v28)

Perhaps we may find ourselves in a hospital waiting room or ward, or in a support group with those who have been similarly afflicted. At first we may naturally ask: “why me?” Yet Joseph, although he was innocent of wrong-doing when he was thrown into prison, was greatly used of the Lord in these new circumstances in which he found himself. Joseph communicated with his fellow prisoners… “Wherefore look ye so sadly today?” (Genesis 40v7) He was able to interpret the butler and baker’s dreams, although one of them heard something which I am sure he would have preferred not to hear…

Perhaps, we too, may find ourselves in a place where we are the only Christian in the room, the ward, or even a prison cell. But the Lord wants to work out His perfect will through each and every chilling new development in His children’s lives. Not only will He draw His child closer to Himself… He will use him or her to reach others with whom they have been thrown into contact.

The child of God is going Home to the city that has no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God will lighten it… “and the Lamb is the light thereof.” (Revelation 21v23)

The earthly heartaches and trials of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and all of the Lord’s ancient people and His prophets are over and while they walked this earth by faith, all things (even the seemingly terrible) worked together for good for them.

Despite the jealous action of his brothers (although it has to be said that Reuben tried to prevent what happened) Joseph eventually was to be instrumental in saving his family from famine. The Lord has work for each and every one of His children to do despite the immediate gloomy forecast!

The youthful Joseph was possibly frightened as those strangers took him away… but the Lord saw down the years: the seven years of plenty and the seven years of famine and many more besides. He saw the “bigger picture.” As Joseph explained to his brothers… “God did send me before you to preserve life.” (Gen.45v5)

Today as we look at our immediate situations, perhaps we may feel apprehensive or even frightened but we must never forget that there most certainly is “a bigger, greater picture” and that for those who know Him, the Lord has plans, to the extent that their lives and example may touch the lives of unsaved loved-ones and many others with whom they will meet in these new circumstances in which they find themselves.

 068

Thoughts on Hippocrates – and the Greatest Physician Ever

October 17, 2012

A recent comment (which shocked me) about a young person who was given sleeping tablets after just one consultation stirred my memories of Kos and the day that I stood by the statue of Hippocrates in a park in Kos town. (By a strange coincidence on that day I also found two Israeli coins lying in that park close to the statue!) Often referred to as ‘the father of modern medicine,’ Hippocrates was born on the island of Kos somewhere between 430 and 370 BC. and made his living as a travelling physician. Today Hippocrates is mostly known for the ‘Hippocratic Oath,’ various versions of which are still taken by modern-day doctors all over the world.

Confidentiality and care of the patient were said to be most important to Hippocrates and it is also said that his medical care was gentle on his patients. Hippocrates was the first to argue that disease was not ‘a punishment from the gods,’ but rather caused by the environment, diet or living habits of his patients and today it is recognised that he made several major contributions to modern medicine.

But a few hundred years later and a few hundred of miles from the island of Kos, the Lord Jesus Christ was born into this world – the Greatest Physician and Counsellor that any individual could ever have the joy to meet! He cared deeply for His creation – and He still does; He cares for me – and He cares for you… “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1Peter 5v7)

Yet, even if we love Him and belong to Him, we are not immune to the prevailing conditions in this tainted world. I have heard it said that doctors nowadays seem to turn to their computers, the minute that their patient walks into the surgery! You may be just another face to them in their long day of listening to a catalogue of ailments – but rest assured that there is One who truly cares about your pain and for your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. Your tears are important to Him and your health is important to Him, whoever you are and whatever your situation.

“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” (Matthew 4v23)

This sickness, we learn, was not confined to those who disobeyed God, or as a consequence of personal sin, or worse still – the sins of their parents. The disciples questioned Jesus: “who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Jesus answered with these words: “Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.” (John 9v2&3)

Today we have “health, wealth and prosperity” cults telling us that we must have all three attributes. I wonder what they think of Timothy’s “oft infirmities?” (1 Timothy 5v23)… Or the fact that Jesus Himself “had not where to lay His head?” (Luke 9v58)

Today I praise Him and look to Him for the riches that count… those spiritual riches of contentment under all circumstances, for surely He is “the God of all comfort?” (2Cor. 1v3)

If you are suffering today, Jesus knows all about it: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4v15)

Praise God that when we as Christians suffer, we can have much more of a rapport with our fellowmen and women who have perhaps had the same health diagnosis as we have had…

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” (2Cor. 1v3&4)

However, if you have never trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, my prayer is that today you will do so, for when sickness comes your way (as it does for everyone, whatever their spiritual status) that Great Physician and Father of mercies will comfort you and carry you through to journey’s end, where you will be able to say with all who love Him: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Cor. 15v55-57

“There is a Way which seemeth right unto a Man, but the End thereof are the Ways of Death”

January 19, 2011

In recent weeks I have spent much of my time wandering through certain hospital corridors – hardly an enjoyable experience; yet the Lord has assisted me to use the occasion to reach others with the gospel at this testing time in my life. In a sense all of life passes through this hospital. I have seen joyful faces carrying flowers towards the maternity unit where new life has just begun; worried and distraught faces sitting in ‘accident and emergency;’ boredom on the faces of visitors who regard visiting their relatives as something of a chore to be endured. And then there are the pale grief-stricken faces…

One night I also saw a young man whom I suspected had a drug problem, being flanked by two young policewomen.

On another day I took a walk into the “Quiet Room” for the first time. “A Place for Everyone” was the caption at the entrance, but on entering I felt immediately at odds with the atmosphere. I wanted to pray but somehow felt that this was not the place. In fact I felt more like praying in my car in the car park or in a quiet corner of the canteen than in that place on that particular day.

At the entrance to this “place for everyone” are signs for many religious beliefs: Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Baha’i… I’m not entirely sure what all the signs meant but as I looked at them I reflected on what people refer to as ‘our increasingly pluralist society.’

God’s Word tells me that “there is a way which seemeth right unto a Man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14v12)

And Jesus said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14v6)

Yes, there is only one way. In the midst of all the meandering beliefs and the vast twisting maze of men’s philosophies, there is only one shining path that leads to the city which has “no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.  And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” (Revelation 21v23-27)

Above all, it is God’s will that every man, woman, boy and girl presently alive in this world of many contrasting beliefs would hear His knock at the door of their hearts and open them to let Him in.

As for those of us who name His Name, let us seek to reach others, even in the troublesome times in our own lives. If the last few weeks have taught me anything, they have taught me that life is incredibly short; too short to waste on anything other than serving my Lord and Saviour.

Oh that we would possess His great love for the unloved, the troubled, the sick, the weary, the bereaved, the lost…. Then prayerfully, we can point them to that Highway, the “way of holiness” (Isaiah 35v8) “without which no man shall know the Lord.” (Hebrews 12v14)

And then one glorious day we can put the dark scenes of this life behind us for the Prophet Isaiah promises that “the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isaiah 35v10) Praise God!