Roommates

Posted: Thu. Mar, 30 2017

I have had three hospital stays this month.  And at one stretch, I had 4 roommates in a row.

 I did not want to have roommates. I wanted a private room.

I came up with sound reasons as to why they simply had to give me a private room.  Why, my heart rate has remained stubbornly high, and it must be because I had roommates!

I even calculated the odds of having 4 roommates in a row in a hospital with 70% private rooms.  (It’s less than 1%.....0.81% to be exact).

I was - miserable.

Now that is partly because I had several difficult roommate situations. Each was difficult in its own different way.

I am going to recount one of them now.

I have had a troublesome cough throughout most of the month.   Many of you know about that because I asked the prayer group last week to pray for me concerning it.

Well, no sooner did I arrive at my first shared room in the hospital then I hear this voice to my left crying out - “I can’t be in the same room with this man and his cough!”

This was about 11 o’clock at night.

He called for his nurse. He told her he was afraid that he might catch something from me.

She said that the hospital would never put a person in a situation where there was a chance they could catch an infectious disease.

“Yeah but people make mistakes all the time.  People make mistakes.”

Over the next six hours or so I would hear that same statement about 50 times.

He recounted how one doctor told him he had three weeks to live and should start end of life preparations.  That was nine weeks ago.

“He made a mistake.  Maybe somebody is making another mistake here.”

When he was done with the nurse, he called for the charge nurse.

When he was done with the charge nurse, he called for the nurse manager.

He called people on his phone.

Each time it was the same - I cannot be in the same room with this man and his cough.

To be fair, he had good reason to be a little paranoid.

He had just been through a ten hour surgery to repair a bowel  obstruction.  He was clinging to life , battling advanced stage cancer. He wanted to stay alive long enough to get his daughter through grad school.  Please pray for him.

I had a lot of empathy for him.

I also wanted to get some sleep!

At one point he was visited by a nurse’s aide.  She had been with him in the ICU for hours on the night he came out of surgery.   Praying for him.

Finally a woman came in who was more stern with him but also very wise.  She said things like “at least we are monitoring this man for any infection.  What about your visitors? Couldn’t they be exposing you to infection?”  Other wise things as well that I can no longer remember.

But what I do remember is that somewhere around 5 in the morning I read Isaiah 53 to him.

He was  a Jewish man, and he wasn’t at all sure who God was.

He went to a reformed synagogue service on Friday nights. He liked the companionship and the singing. But he felt like a charlatan because of the bad things he had said and done in his life.

And like so many, he was mystified by all the different religions.

So I asked him if I could read something from the Hebrew Scriptures about God’s Son and he allowed me to.

When I was finished, he told me that no one had ever read that to him before.

He recognized that it was speaking about Jesus.

A few hours later I was able to explain to him how none of us could ever meet the requirements of the law.  All of us have fallen short.

All of us, in his word, were charlatans.

But God’s Son died for all the charlatans so that whoever believes in Him would have eternal life.

God knew we could never earn His righteousness, so He decided  to give it to us as a gift instead. That is the only way we could ever become righteous in His eyes.

ROM 3:21-24
21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22 even the  righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;

 

I met so many people of course during my hospital stays, and they each had their own version of things when it came to God.

For example, I met a Hindu nurse who liked having all kinds of gods to pray to.

Not me. I like the fact that we have one God in three persons.

Others would politely ignore me when I mentioned the Lord.

But what really surprised me was how many Christians there are in the ranks of health care professionals   - especially the nurses’ aides. Many of them black.  Many of them from the islands.  A couple of them said they might stop by Lighthouse Bible Church to see me.  I would like that very much.

And as soon as I would mention the Lord to them, a smile would break on their faces, and we would spend the next few minutes talking about the Lord.

I met a nurse who is a Messianic Jew.  She actually cared for my Jewish roommate.  I have a funny feeling that the Lord wasn’t done with the Christian witness to him!

 

I don’t know what will happen next for my anti-cough Jewish roommate. I don’t know if he will become a believer in Jesus Christ. I don’t even know if he is still alive.

All I know is that for a few minutes in  the early morning of a Saturday in March, a dying Jewish man, lying behind the curtain in a hospital room, was silent, listening to Isaiah 53 and wondering in his heart what it all could mean.

 

I had several difficult roommate situations. Each was difficult in its own different way.

I had another roommate who was dying of cancer.  He couldn’t have weighed more than 75 pounds.  All I could do for him was weep. Let’s remember to pray for him as well.

And I had another roommate who was waiting for a donor liver as his body slowly descended into a living hell.

Please pray with me that he receives that miracle - soon.

 

Having a roommate in the hospital can be stressful. In fact, if I have to go back to the hospital again, I hope I get a private room.

But I learned something from my roommate situations that will remain with me.

Each was definitely a burden.

Yet each was also a blessing.

Great blessings showed up  along with the fellas that lay  next to me on the other side of the curtain. Witness.  Tears.  Prayer in search of a miracle.

In the end, I learned a little more about what our Lord means when He tells us in 2CO 4:17  that  momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.

 

Until the next time, we’re all ….

In His grip,

Pastor John

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