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When Only a Word Will Do

Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. —ISAIAH 65:24 [NIV]

My homebound patient, Imogene, was nearing the end of her struggle with cancer. I was beside myself. Her pain wasn’t under control. Her adult children were bickering. And her next-door neighbor had complained about a car in their driveway.

The scene took me back to when my own mother was dying of cancer at my old log cabin. When the hearse came to take Mom’s body to the funeral home, the four of us kids gathered on the cobblestone path under the wisteria arbor. Just then our neighbor shouted, “They’re blocking my sidewalk. Get a move on.” His stunning outburst emotionally paralyzed me for two days. I was so distraught I couldn’t find the words to pray.

Once again, I needed help of the heavenly kind. But my personal grief had nearly snuffed the air out of my lungs. The prayer I formed in my mind for my patient, Imogene, wasn’t eloquent like those the hospital chaplains offered. There were no Thees and Thous. Only silent, one-word cries from the depths of my spirit:

Now!

Soon!

Please!

But then an amazing sense of peace and God’s presence filled Imogene’s bedroom, and a few minutes later, that pesky neighbor appeared at the door with a loaf of cranberry bread.

God himself had assured us all:

Trust!

Love!

Always!

Whenever we call, you answer, God. Thanks!

Adapted from
Strength & Grace Magazine

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