Burdened. I prayed for a woman as I wept in church on Sunday morning knowing that they were terminally sick and very close to tasting death–yet that would not be the only death they would soon taste. I had never had this woman as a patient before–yet the Lord had set His burden upon my heart for her.
Monday night: I arrive at the hospital for my shift. I scan my I.D. and steadily pace into the unlatched door of the hospital followed up a hallway full of pictures the represent the Doctors of our facility. I turn the corner to check the float pool to see which floor I would be on for the night: The NICU. SCORE!!! I think to my self as I strut down the next hallway full of pictures but instead of doctors– its filled with precious babies. Again–into another locked unit, I scan my I.D. to enter and receive my patient list for the next twelve hours. I get report from the day nurse and start the process of taking care of these little ones with the goal of life. Not too long after I complete my first assessment on the premies, I receive a phone call from my nursing supervisor.
“Hey Winnie, It’s Joy. I am over my head and I need your help admitting a patient to the floor. Could you run up here for a few hours and I will let you go back down to the NICU when we get her settled and comfortable.”
Sure, I think…No problem. I run up a flight of stairs, across a breeze way, through a set of double doors and right into a dense wall of emotion and mourning. I receive report from the ER nurse. This was the lady…..Report from the ER nurse matched exactly the burden on my spirit. Terminal. My patient goal is now comfort unto death.
I intimately had the beautiful responsibility to take care of the woman the Lord had prepared for me in advance to do. I now know her very personally, but not well. You see, as I nurse, I have the most humbling opportunity to wash the bodies of the very sick, dying, hurting, and lost patients. I hold responsibility to be the holder of their care. I have been given authority to take away their physical pain. I am called when my patient is nauseated, short of breath, in severe pain, emotionally in bondage, or when she just needs a hot shower. I am there when the stress is just to much, when someone just needs permission to cry and mourn over the death of theirs that just has not happened yet. Yet, my spirit hungers to feed more than just her physical needs. I offer my hand to this beautiful spirit as she steps out of the shower and sits in her wheelchair. I bustle about as her physical needs consumed my mind–she gently grabbed my hand and in all her vulnerability and nakedness stated, “Am I dying?” I stopped and started her straight in the face with a silent reply for 10 seconds and then replied, “You are very sick, very close, and need your rest.”
I have that burden. That burden of hatred towards myself when I ask for opportunities such as these–The Lord prepares me–and I fail under the opportunity to share Eternal Life with a patient who is days away from death.
Let me be real and laid out for one minute. This is one out of my possible 18 patients a week, 72 patients a month, and 864 patients a year I have opportunities with, I carry burdens for, and with all glory to God–I have the opportunity of sharing Eternal Life with….If I may be so bold to fight against my flesh and be surrendered with the Spirit of God. Pray with me in this. My mind and body war against my spirit and the Spirit of God. And with all that is within me, I yearn to make Christ known and so He shall be.
For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling,so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 2 Corinthians 5:1-5