Sometimes we have absolutely no idea what God has planned, and how He puts his "teams" together. Yesterday was one such day.
I drove to one of Denver's largest hospitals to spend the weekend with a dear sister in the Faith who is very ill with cancer. When I arrived the nursing staff filled me in on the latest report. It seems she was refusing all food and all water that morning, as well as any medications or treatments. I was quite surprised at this news. I had not realized the illness had been so aggressive.
When I entered her room I noticed the woman sitting near the window, saying not a word. I wondered who she was, but I wanted to focus on my friend, so I pulled a chair up next to her bed and tried to engage her. Her eyelids were fluttering rapidly and her teeth in a continual, rapid clicking. She was not responding or using any words. So, I opened my bible and began reading over her the healing words of Psalm 91 and Psalm 139. Then I began to sing and give God worship for her wonderful life. Slowly she began to respond. After a couple of hours, the clicking and fluttering ceased, the eyes engaged mine, but still no words spoken.
The woman at the window closed her eyes when I prayed and smiled when I sang. Finally, I went to the cup of water at my friend's bedside and put it to her lips. "This is living water," I told her, "and Yeshua wants you to drink. Drink and receive life!" She looked again into my eyes, this time with comprehension, and she drank deeply. My heart was filled with joy. Next I tried a little food - fresh, organic veggies, her favorite. She began to nibble on the food and then she began to eat.
I continued in praise, both spoken and sung, to fill her room with the Word and with worship. Finally the woman at the window got up and helped my friend to use the bathroom and to take her vital signs. "I am Edna. I'm a CNA," she told me, "assigned to sit with her all day today and keep her safe." "You are a believer, aren't you?" I smiled at her. "Oh yes, ma'am," she replied enthusiastically, "and I can see that today we are going to get to watch our God at work!"
The rest of the afternoon we partnered, Edna and I, to "keep her safe." We sang old hymns together, and my friend began to sing them too, in a soft, hoarse voice. Then she began to giggle, so we all giggled together, in the joy of the Lord. A soothing bed bath was given and as the woman comforted my friend's body with her gentle touch, and warm soap and water, we kept singing, giving God glory. Then as she removed the covers from the hugely swollen, red legs, we both gasped. The swelling was down, almost to normal size legs! My friend began to move her leg for the first time that day and it was no longer painful.
I stared at Edna. "You were assigned here today. I was assigned here today. We are two or more...and we are powerful unto the pulling down of strongholds and victorious in the Mighty Power of the Holy Spirit!"
My friend's body had rejected the last three attempts at blood platelet transfusion. I mused about the pattern I was seeing. Food and water had been rejected, but was now being blessed into her body. What about the platelets? Could we bless those to her body too and cause her body to accept them? She had to have them to stay alive! So when the nurse arrived with the little bag of life-saving platelets, Edna and I began to pray, and my friend prayed in the Spirit, right alongside us. Now we were three, asking the Lord to bless these platelets to her body, that she would LIVE AND NOT DIE, that her blood would be restored! In less than an hour we got the news. God had answered. Her body received them. It was a glorious moment and my friend began to wave her arms around in a "happy dance," a huge smile across her face, victorious in her spirit.
I won't soon forget yesterday. God had put together His chosen team to win a victory. He was right in the midst of us! Matthew 18:20: When two are three are gathered together in My Name, I am there in the midst of them.
Now it is one week later since I wrote the words above. I did not want to publish this blog until I had my friend's permission and she has now granted it.
John and I visited her again yesterday, exactly one week later. The Sabbath was here again and my friend had called me in the morning, asking if we could come. I gathered together a little kosher Pomegranate wine, a small loaf of crusty bread, two tiny olive wood wine cups from Israel, and my Bible. When we entered her room I was overcome with joy and astonishment, my memory hearkening back to what I saw one week ago in this same room. I had know in my spirit that she was literally at death's door that morning, and she told me she had known it too. The fluttering eyelids and clicking teeth, the altered brain waves, the rejection of food and water -- all these things were signs that she was truly in the Valley of the Shadow of Death. But, my friends, the glorious news is that she passed THROUGH that valley (as the psalmist tells us) and was delivered by God's merciful hand!
So, we celebrated yesterday. My friend had such joy in setting up her little hospital bedside table with the small decanter, the little olive wood cups, blue napkins to make a "tablecloth" and a few gold-wrapped coins someone had brought as a Hanukkah gift! We sang the sh'ma, we prayed the blessings over the bread and the cup, we prayed to bless our children and grandchildren, and then we gave God all the mighty praise He is due!
When our little service was over, my friend got really excited about just having a small celebration with what she had to offer from her little dorm-size refrigerator: hummus to spread on the bread, Kalamata olives, and slices of red pepper. I am certain that after four weeks in a hospital room, after countless transfusions and poking and prodding of her body, after untold nights of sleeplessness and finally, the darkness where death tried to take her, this little "party" seemed like a huge vault back into some sort of "normal," where she could set a lovely table and celebrate a special Shabbat with friends.
Again, my heart gives God deep thanks and praise, as He demonstrates for us once again, "When two are three are gathered together in My Name, I am there in the midst of them."