20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.
When I woke up this morning, I wasn't thinking about how God was going to use me today. I was thinking about other things. Things I had to do. My plans. But as many of you know, "my plan" isn't always God's plan.
I came into the office this morning, thinking of all the things I had to do. Paperwork to fill out. Bills to pay. Writing up this week's prayer requests. Wondering what I was going to write about. Thinking about how it didn't seem like I'd have enough time to get everything done. But all of my plans got scrapped within a few minutes of walking through the door. A phone call came in. God had something else that he needed me to do.
I've heard people say that God's timing is perfect. (I'm not sure I always believe that, though I know I should.) I'm going to take this morning's experience as evidence that statement is true. Lannie (our Care Package Coordinator) does not usually work on Thursdays. I'm not sure why she came in, but it was a good thing she did. Someone called and left a voice mail last night requesting a hospital visit for a patient in hospice care who had taken a turn for the worse. The situation looked grave. An original prognosis of months to live had quickly changed to days, maybe less. The caller wondered if we could deliver a care package and possibly pray with the patient and her family. If Lannie had not been here to check her voicemail this morning, we might not have received the message in time.
After a few more phone calls to confirm details and get directions, Michelle (our Card Outreach Coordinator) and I were in the van and on our way to the hospital with a care package in hand. Our drive to Chicago went smoother than we were expecting. Traffic was lighter than normal and we didn't have to fight to find a parking place. As we walked up to the hospital entrance, we noticed a small garden area filled with beautiful flowers. There were benches around a statue in the center. The inscription on the statue said:
Our God is good, give thanks!
God's mercy endures forever!
Let us pray for those who are sick that they may find healing of body and spirit
For our God is good, give thanks!
God's mercy endures forever!
We went up to the room and had a nice visit with the patient and her family. We had been told that the patient might not be lucid but when we came in she woke up. And when we asked if we could pray for her, she said "Yes!" I held her hand as we prayed. And when I was done, she smiled and said, "Thank you!" The family was touched by the gift of the care package and the fact that "strangers" would be willing to come on such short notice to bring comfort to their family. I can't accurately described how I was feeling at that moment, other than to say that I knew I was where God wanted me to be. And our willingness to serve was noted by the hospice staff and may open door for Phil's Friends to serve others at that hospital and at their other locations throughout the area.
Heavenly Father, I thank You for changing "my plans" to Your plan today. Thank You for the opportunity to serve this patient and her family, to be witnesses of Your love. Lord, we ask for Your hand of protection over all of our patients and their families. We ask for healing of body and mind. You know our needs. We pray for Lisa, who has received word that her chemo treatments are no longer effective and has to make choices for the next phase of her journey. Continue to bring the support that she needs from family, friends and doctors to comfort her at this time. We pray for the family of Carolyn who recently passed away. We pray for Catherine, Deb, Michael, all of whom were recently hospitalized. We pray for families with one or more members seeking employment. Sustain these families and reassure them You will continue to provide the resources they need. Lord, we also pray for those who are suffering marital stress. We've heard from individuals who are lonely and uncertain because the stress of illness has taken its toll on relationships. We ask for reconciliation and healing to be brought to those families. We also pray for our organization as a whole. It's an exciting time as we grow, but growth often means change and sometimes change is hard to accept. Keep our hearts focused on the mission of bringing hope and let all we say and do reflect Your love both inside and outside our office walls. We thank You for all we have and the ways You continue to use our lives for Your glory. Amen.