Sometimes we are the unwitting answer to a prayer

The hospital room was dark, but I knocked anyway.

I almost didn’t.

The person inside had requested a spiritual consult, which means she wanted a chaplain to stop by. We get to these as soon as we can, but with the chaos that can come in our dashes to the emergency room and responses to deaths, sometimes it can take a day before we can respond.

So I almost didn’t.

I was working this evening because a coworker was off work to care for her mom. I’d been called the previous day, I had space in my schedule. And so I agreed to come in.

But I almost didn’t.

The person told me to come in when I knocked. She turned up the lights. I introduced myself. She’d been crying.

“I feel like God’s not listening to me at all,” she said.

I understand the statement. I understand the feeling. There are gaps between requests and responses, between what I seek from God on behalf of others and what they experience.

We talked for a long time. I listened. We shared a couple of common experiences that helped me understand. I offered some counsel that made sense and carried credibility.

And then it was time for me to go.

“In our whole time together,” I said, “My pager never went off. I never had to leave. Of all the chaplains we have, all of whom are great, I’m on duty tonight, with the particular experience I bring. And though I almost didn’t respond, I did. Because I had this sense of needing to show up at your door.”

She listened.

“You remember what you said at the beginning of the conversation? That God’s not listening to you? I think he heard you.”

And I stepped out.


Before You Walk In Copyright © 2021 by Jon Charles Swanson. All Rights Reserved.

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