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Nov 29, 2019 53 0 Agnes George
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Hoping Against All Hope

In times of sickness and peril, people often turn to God in ardent prayer for a miraculous healing. However, we have also heard that God allows hardships and sickness for a reason and that we ought to pray for the grace to accept His holy will. As a nurse, my days revolve around patients so I have lots of opportunities to pray for the sick and suffering; sometimes my mind is beset by conjectures about why we need to pray for the sick if God has allowed their illness or injury for some good purpose.

All my doubts were dissipated by an experience that happened right in front of my eyes. One day, I was assigned to assist a man in his 30s who had been diagnosed with kidney failure. He was married and having three children. When I got to know him better, this young man disclosed his dire situation. He had not been able to work for the preceding three months so he was desperately worried about being dismissed from his job. Such a scenario would also terminate his insurance. Since he was the sole breadwinner of the family, he was plunged into anxiety and could not sleep. The man was so depressed that he began to have suicidal thoughts.

I wanted to alleviate his anguish so I asked if he believed in God and urged him to trust in His mercy. The man confided that since he had stopped going to church in his childhood, he did not know how to pray. I shared a prayer about trust in God’s mercy—one that had comforted me—and encouraged the young man to read a Bible verse. He asked me to write one out for him, so I jotted down Exodus 14:14: “The Lord will fight for you; you have only to keep still.”

As soon as he read it, he asked for more, so I wrote down other verses that seemed relevant for him: “I command you: be strong and steadfast! Do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD, your God, is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). “Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

A few months later, I encountered this man again. He clasped my hands and began to cry. As he smiled through his tears, he told me how he had printed those Bible quotes in large letters and pasted them all around him. As he repeated them often, he felt more relaxed and began to sleep peacefully. Even though he was still sick he became aware of the many blessings— especially his family—God had given him. Reading the Bible became a great delight.

Dear friends, when we pray for the sick, they may not experience an immediate miracle of healing. Sometimes, emotional and spiritual healing are also needed, for both the person and their family. Our little prayers and sincere efforts to comfort them may enable them to receive the grace and strength needed in those hard times. Do not be discouraged when it seems the answer to your prayers is slow in coming. Those in suffering need our continuing support during their battle with infirmity.

 

Agnes George

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