Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Lessons of Faith - Loneliness

While I was in the hospital, my weekdays began around 2:00 AM. A lab technician would come to my room to draw my blood so that the internal medicine and infectious disease teams could monitor my blood chemistry to make sure that the medications were not doing more harm than good. The technician would draw vial after vial after vial of blood in order to run all of the tests that the teams needed to make their decisions for the day.

After the technician left, a nurse technician came in to check my vital signs in order to provide that information to the other teams for their review. By that time, the night nurse assigned to me would come by to start my IV medications. At some point, I had just enough time to start my daily routine of preparing for the day. Food service would drop by with my breakfast at around 6:00 AM and shortly thereafter all of the medical teams assigned to my case began their visits to check on me, review the results of my blood work from earlier that morning, discuss the day's events and ask me about my mental well-being.

These medical visits lasted until around 9:00 AM. During the meetings with the healthcare team, nurse shift change would occur. The night nurse would review my case with the day nurse and pass along any special orders from the medical team. Starting at 10:00 AM, my IV treatments started again and also my oral medications. All day long, I had a procession of nurses, nurse technicians, housekeepers, food service, specialists, doctors and a host of others in and out of my hospital room.

In time, things would begin to slow down. Finally around 11:30 PM, the lights in my room were dimmed and I could have some time to myself. It was during those hours between the last IV medication and the lab technician coming to draw my blood that I felt alone.

Although I tried to remain optimistic during the day, it was during those "empty" hours that I felt the most alone and isolated. I was alone with my thoughts and all of the things that were said to me during the course of the day. My mind would wander and I felt that God had abandoned me. The miracle that I prayed for did not come and so I had to endure all of this. I felt that I endured everything all alone. No one was there to talk to or just listen. No one was there to wipe away the tears. No one was there at all. Just me in a hospital room hoping and praying that I would see the next day.

This profound sense of loneliness would dog me each minute of those empty hours. Sometimes, I just could not sleep. I wondered if God had left me. Instead of continuing down that path, I would stop and begin to pray. My heart felt lighter and I knew that I was not alone. I felt God's presence right there in my room. I felt Jesus right there with me. I began to repeat the words of Deuteronomy 31. "8 Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you."

I drew great comfort in knowing that God Himself would personally go ahead of me and that He would personally ensure my safety and deliverance from this illness and never fail or abandon me. Once I began to say those words out loud, a tremendous weight was lifted from my shoulders and I was able to sleep. God gave me that wonderful peace that can only come from Him. 

Jesus, after giving his disciples the great commission to preach the gospel message to all nations and "baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit", told them in Matthew 28, "And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." As followers of Christ Jesus, we, too, have that promise. Jesus would always be there with us no matter what happens. We can rest assured of that.

So, when you feel alone, do not give into those feelings and know that God and His son, Christ Jesus, are always there. They will never forsake or abandon you even during the worst of times.

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