Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November 9 – Lessons Learned in a Hospital Bed

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations . . .

The Abbess was wearing her comfy-soft new p.j.s, with special permission not to have to spend six days in a hospital gown, and she had her Bible and notebook at hand, with several hours of “down time” before her doctor came to perform the spinal tap and . . . get things going.

Her room faced north, on the opposite side of the building from the busy street and hospital entrance; through her windows were nothing but treetops and blue sky. She was in a private room in a quiet wing . . . a children’s wing with only one child admitted . . . and she was . . . happy! Ridiculously happy!

Her feet and ankles were tingling and stiff, as they had been for more than four years, and her left hand felt like a Brillo pad; it had been months since she could feel the softness of her granddaughter’s hair. When she washed her own hair, it was as if she were running her left hand through twigs and giving them a good scrub. Nevertheless, she knew the One Whom Her Soul Sought was near.

She thanked Him for every immediate thing she could think of, the private room, the quick admittance, the kindness of the admitting nurses, and she praised His goodness and extolled His mercies and purposes. She mechanized her bed into a comfortable recliner and took up her Bible to see what she would see.

It seemed sensible to begin by finding out what her Lord wanted to say, and so she asked and remembered the first part of the book of James that speaks of the welcoming of trials. What better beginning? She turned there and read the words above . . . My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations . . . and she remembered, from earlier studies, that to call a robbery a joy was to rejoice that a man was a robber. No, that could not be exactly was the Scripture implied.

What could all this really mean? She read on: Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience. Of course. The “joy” is in having our faith tested. Of course! Every time our faith is tested, there is opportunity to prove anew the faithfulness of God. That is cause for rejoicing! When does faith in God ever go unrewarded? Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. (Hebrews 10:35)

The Abbess knew that her heart was fixed. She would not make any attempt to work the Word of God around to her benefit or impose the faith or the faith-talk of others upon her Lord, but she was watching, and she was listening.

Convent Infirmary,
by permission


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