A few years ago Hubby and I sat in a university hospital waiting for two of our children to go into back to back surgeries. We took turns swapping in and out of their pre-op rooms, while joking with staff that we applied for a BOGO surgery discount but administration wouldn’t go for it. These were the first of six procedures they’d need on their eyes and it was a new area of health challenges for them.
I still remember sitting in that cold, uncomfortable waiting room for hours just watching the patient ID’s on the TV screen as each child transitioned from room to room. I also remember regretting not following my own advice that morning. Number one rule of waiting room procedures is: no caffeine. First, caffeine and anxiety do not mix. Second, caffeine is a diuretic. So, my hands were shaking, my heart was hammering and my bladder was about to explode. And there is no good time to make a bathroom run when you’re waiting to see how your children are doing. Bodily functions must wait.
So, I decided on distraction. Perhaps a little Isaiah was in order. It’s often my go to when I’m anxious. I opened to Isaiah 6:8
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord asking:
Who should I send?
Who will go for us?
Here I am. Send me.“
I immediately thought of some of my favorite Christians. Both in the Bible and out. Sent by God for incredible Kingdom work. How amazing would it be to be sent like George Mueller; watching the Lord provide for thousands of orphans on a daily basis?! Or, what about Charles Spurgeon? Or C.S. Lewis or….
Then all of a sudden two familiar patient ID’s turned green and were transferred to post op. I grabbed my Bible, my cold coffee and Hubby and we each picked a post operative room. I got the child that likes to wake up slow. So while I listened to the automatic blood pressure machine and the beeping of the heart rate monitor I glanced back to my reading. And Spurgeon’s commentary on it.
“God is seeking a messenger to deliver his message to people. Isaiah did not know the errand; perhaps if he had known it he would not have been so ready to go. Who can tell? But God’s servants are ready for anything, ready for everything, when once the glowing coal has touched their lips.”
And then he describes the glowing coal as this:
“It represents purgation, cleansing, participation in the sacrifice and the putting away of sin. With a blister on his lips, Isaiah sat silent before God.”
My patient started to stir so her nurse did likewise. And as he started to encourage her to take deep breaths and not to rub her eyes I noticed him hesitantly looking at me. And since I also knew from past procedures that this was only the very beginning of her wake up, I struck up a conversation with the hesitant nurse. He mentioned that the staff had been enjoying our family that day. That Hubby and I seemed so content. And he’d noticed my Bible and wondered if I was a Christian. Over the next hour, our troubled young nurse questioned our faith, contentment and obvious playfulness with stressful circumstances. He had access to the kids’ charts, he knew their medical history. He’d seen and served countless families that didn’t respond the way we did. And all I could tell him was that it was by the grace of God. Then we talked about his new bride and their plans for a family and what to look for in a church home. And then it was time to go.
And all I could tell him was that it was by the grace of God.
A few days later I was sitting in yet another waiting room. We’d just found out one of the kids had scar tissue forming and needed an additional procedure so we were waiting on more tests. I was reading an update on a local missionary family and found myself in awe of what God was doing with their ministry. Like Isaiah, I sat in that waiting room, with a blister on my lips, having been purged of sin by the blood of Christ and feeling an awful lot like I’d participated in the sacrifice and wanting to cry out to my Lord:
“Here I am! Send me! Send me to big, far off, places! Let me scream from the rooftops who You are and what You’ve done!”
And as I looked around another crowded waiting room, I saw our young nurse round a corner and skid to a halt in recognition. With a hasty wave and a genuine smile, he said, “I’m so glad to see you guys again!” And wheeled his next patient into an adjoining room. And it almost echoed in my ears….
He has sent us into the medical world where the wisdom and knowledge of man is highly esteemed while the Truths of God are deemed colloquial at best and foolish at worst. He has sent us to those in the upper echelons of academia, where many simultaneously wonder at our contentment, while scoffing at its source. He has sent us where we sometimes don’t want to be. Out of our comfort zone, into the trials of rare disease. But every once in a while, we get to marvel at where we’ve been sent, because He gives us a tiny glimpse of what He is doing there.
But every once in a while, we get to marvel at where we’ve been sent, because He gives us a tiny glimpse of what He is doing there.
A couple of weeks ago I sat in the back of our church service and looked around at so many of my struggling, faithful, Faith Family and as I prayed for each of their trials I thought…
Beloved, where are you?
The infusion room?
Perhaps, like Esther, you have been sent there for such a time as this.
I can’t always celebrate the places we’re sent. Sometimes it’s really hard, scary and exhausting. But I CAN celebrate that there are people there. People desperate to hear the message God has sent me with. That during this season of Christmas, we are not only celebrating the fact that God sent His one and only Son to be born in a manger, but that He sent Him to live a life we could not live, perfect and free from sin, to die a death we could not die, taking the punishment for the sin of all who would come to trust in Him for salvation. Then, rising again, He gave us everlasting life…with Him. And we can, and will, celebrate being sent there.
Beloved, wherever you are, can you recognize the hand of the One who sent you? And then, like Isaiah, wait on Him to give you the power and strength to do what He has called you to do?
“To deliver His message to people”, wherever you may be.
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.