I was sick and you visited me

 In All

visit the sickI’ve never liked hospitals. Glad I have not needed to go often at all. Naturally, they are places that you go to because you have to, or feel called to be. Hospitals can be places of healing, but they are also places of suffering, waiting and death.

As I was making my way through the maze of buildings in the local main hospital to visit a good friend who had suddenly fallen ill with a life-threatening infection, I was suddenly touched by the people around me; hospital workers, nurses and doctors, people visiting loved ones, and sick people. It struck me that hospitals are also places of love, of caring, that is expressed both in practical ways and in utterances, gestures, small expressions of feelings being poured out.

My friend was in bad shape, and sleeping. I didn’t want to wake her up, so I just prayed over her, for healing, for the Lord’s closeness, for salvation. I’m sure her son was grateful for someone to come and care, and to pray for his mother, even though they are Buddhists.

Praise God she seems to be slowly getting better. Yes, I believe in miraculous healing, and we’ll have to wait to know how much our prayers have changed the outcome for people, but I’m convinced the Lord is doing what is right and appropriate. This side of life & death, it’s not so much about the healing of the body as it is about growth and transformation of the soul.

As I try to minister to Thai Buddhists, rejoicing in the Holy Spirit at work in their lives, most often the obvious fruit is the transformation of my heart: the realization that people being sick is an invitation to show God’s love in a moment when they are often more open to receiving it, being in a place of need. Instead of just praying for people and waiting for them to get better, not wanting to bother them with a visitor, I should try to always consider that God might be leading me to visit them, and be a minister of God’s presence, healing and encouragement. After all these years I should know, caring will always bear some fruit or other..!

Peter Passchier

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