There have been quite a few early morning surgeries I have set my alarm and met a member of our congregation at the hospital to have prayer over. If you are having an early surgery (or even a late one) and are a member of Campbell you usually get me. Please know what an honor it is to be able to step before God on your behalf. Also know that every time I get back in my car to drive to the office I realize I am going back to my routine, but those I prayed over are not. Their life has experienced a change. No matter how small or how serious the reason for the surgery, their lives are thrown a curve.
My alarm is set and I will pray for a Campbell member tomorrow. However, I will not get back in my car and drive to the office. I will take a seat in the waiting room while my mom gives cancer its first punch. Or in her case a right and left double punch. I will admit that this has been a difficult place to set. I am a pastor, but I am also a daughter. I could spend a hundred paragraphs attempting to explain who this woman I will pray for tomorrow is to me. However, it would come up empty.
There is a lot I am learning from this experience and I am guessing that God has a few more lessons in store. First and foremost is that I believe everything I pray in those hospital rooms for others, I also believe for my mom. God is God and God is good even when the situation is not.
Second, sometimes people don’t know what to say so they don’t say anything. That is not good. I promise from now on that if I am aware of something in your life, you are going to receive a word from me or the least a pat on the back or a brush of your hand. This is really important for pastors to hear. It may not be our comfort zone, but in that moment we are seen as God’s agent and God wouldn’t ignore the situation.
Third, we don’t have a clue what the story is going to be, don’t attempt to write it for the person. Maybe you have been through something similar, the best words are “I have am here” not a rundown of the details of the situation. In other words and in reference to my second lesson, fewer words are often the best. I am sorry to anyone that I have spoken more words than were God given in your moment.
Fourth, for all the diet cokes I have taken people in waiting rooms…yea, those will continue. No one really knows what to say or do, so do what you know. For me, it is diet cokes and prayer.
I don’t know what the next chapter holds for my family, but I do know that God is making me a better daughter and a better pastor through it all. And so tomorrow I will get up and do what I have done a hundred times in ministry, call upon God to carry us through.