Seven years ago, I experienced a moment in my life that was unprecedented. A moment of awe, as well as disbelief, that what unfolded in that hospital cancer wing back in 2016, was something I was witnessing that showed the divinity and most perfect interruption from God that I had ever encountered.
Throughout my Christian walk, and perhaps in yours as well, you have heard believers say that they wish they could hear from God. They may have pondered, “I wish I could hear His voice.” I admit, in my walk with the Lord, I had declared this many times. However, sitting in that hospital employee breakroom, and knowing, without doubt, that God was asking me to manifest a work and finally answering my heart-felt request, I still met it with disbelief.
Back in 2016, my cousin was fighting a very aggressive brain cancer. She was a bit older than I was because she’s my mom’s first cousin on her mom’s side. The age difference and distance kept us apart mostly and our family bond was only strengthened by an occasional holiday card, call or hometown visit while my husband and I were in the Utica area. But a phone call back in January 2016 changed all that. Her older sister called me while I was returning from one of many trips from CA. Her sister was instructed to call me to let me know of the diagnosis. At that time, I had no idea of how God was going to use me nor had I declared this as divine intervention…..at least not yet.
After leaving my career a year prior, I had asked God on many occasions, to use me…in fact, in 2012, I had cried on my knees and begged the Holy Spirit to not let me leave this earth without fulfilling my purpose. I had desired to hear God’s Voice so many times so I knew exactly what He wanted me to do for Him. What I didn’t know back then, was God doesn’t just pick a day and suddenly reveal to you what your divine purpose is. This is what I have learned on my life-long journey so far: (keep in mind, you are always learning)
- He prepares you little by little.
- As you grow spiritually and listen, He reveals a tiny bit more.
- Each challenge or trial in your life, strengthens you for the next.
- The more you spend time with Him, the more you hear Him.
- The more you hear Him, the more you desire.
- The more you desire Him and His Word, the more you grow closer.
- The closer you get, the more in tuned you become.
- The more you hear Him, the more He will reveal to you. (Note: sometimes this is so small of an occurrence, that overtime, you will see that there are no coincidences and that events do not haphazardly come to fruition)
- The more He reveals to you, the better you get with recognizing His Voice and His ways.
Although He used me during my cousin’s illness (I’ll share more details in a future blog post), this is not what I want to share with you during today’s blog. God’s craftsmanship, is not isolated. He will use one event, trial, circumstance, miracle or moment to touch many lives, not just one! I refer to this as God’s perfectly orchestrated intervention; one seemingly small occurrence that has a domino effect on many.
Since my cousin had surgery and was being treated for cancer, she was in the hospital for a while. Her sister’s birthday was coming up in April and she wanted to do something special for her because her sister had been caring for her for months during this illness. My cousin had asked me if I could help her. So, that spiritual gift of hospitality and service, kicked right in. I ordered a cake, picked up balloons, brought in paper products, purchased a gift and arranged this with the hospital administration on the cancer floor so we could have a dedicated place to surprise her sister. I told her sister we were coming to town and arranged the meeting time. The floor nurses staff said we could use the employee breakroom so I planned on getting their early to set up in this location where her sister would not see us right away.
Everything was in place and going perfectly. We waited for her grand entrance. My cousin was still weak from treatment and not walking yet so I constantly made trips back and forth to the nurse’s station to check on her sister’s arrival. My cousin was beginning to get anxious because a 10-minute wait turned into 20 mins., then 30 and 50. I called her sister and asked where she was; she said something unexpected came up and she would be another 20 minutes. This was highly unusual as her sister was always timely. After just about 2 hours of waiting, her sister finally comes in. At face value, you would expect that I felt anxiety for waiting so long, frustration because I wanted everything to be so perfect and sadness because my cousin felt bad that I had planned all this and things didn’t go as planned………..or did they?
There was eventually 2 hours of waiting (120 minutes or 7,200 seconds). Not once during this wait did I become anxious (very unusual for me). As my cousin came in flustered for being so late, I believe her surprise birthday party could not fully be appreciated because her anxiety level was still running off higher adrenaline levels. Although this event was why I was there, this event was NOT why I WAS THERE!
Within minutes of starting, giving her the gift and presenting her with her favorite type of cake, I realized that the conversation around the table was beginning to subdue and the words spoken were occurring but I was hearing them quite drowned out. In fact, I heard them but did not actually comprehend what was saying. It was like when you drive on the same road over and over and eventually you zone out to the point where you don’t recall the road you just drove on 5 mins prior. What surfaced at this point, was a crying teenager in the hospital hallway across from us. Clearly distraught and in pain, all I could hear was her crying. Knowing that this was the cancer floor and a hospital in general, I sensed that what she was experiencing was bad news. My heart was saddened and all I could focus on was what was this horrible news? The conversation in the breakroom was still inaudible to me and as I try to remain focused on the party, I still only saw and heard her crying. Suddenly, I hear a voice urging me to get up and instructing me to interact with her to ask what was wrong and offer to pray for her. I wish I could tell you that I have always been a strong prayer warrior. I wish I could confess that I never had any issues with striking up conversations with strangers. I wish I could admit that I had made praying for others a daily routine in my life. But, that’s not the case. As I mentioned above, growing spiritually is a life-long journey. It takes purpose and dedication. It takes time and commitment. We only have 24 hours in a day and something must give in your personal life to make time for God and His people. The Bible warns us of the distractions that married people face. God knows that family will occasionally take priority over Him.
32 But I want you to be free from concern. The unmarried man is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord; 33 but the married man is concerned about worldly things, how he may please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. The unmarried woman or the virgin is concerned about the matters of the Lord, how to be holy and set apart both in body and in spirit; but a married woman is concerned about worldly things, how she may please her husband. 35 Now I say this for your own benefit; not to restrict you, but to promote what is appropriate and secure undistracted devotion to the Lord.
1 Corinthians 7: 32-35, AMP
So, I therefore rejoice in my later years and in the years after leaving my career, that I have finally managed to make God more of a priority. My prayer life is not perfect but on this day, on the cancer floor at the hospital, I make listening to His Call, my focus. The abruptness and urgency of the voice took me by surprise and therefore, it took me a while to realize what was happening. Although it seemed as minutes before I answered the call, I realize it was only seconds. As I rationalized how awkward it would be to approach this stranger, many things entered my mind in just seconds:
- I waited two hours to make this party successful, and how do I just get up and leave? What will my cousin’s sister think?
- Would my abrupt departure to the hallway, have my cousin question my sincerity and importance to my gesture?
- Would my husband think I lost my mind?
- Would the young girl in the hallway think I had a screw loose?
- Would she tell me to mind my own business?
During all these meticulously formed oppositions, I am interrupted in thought, not by the conversations in the breakroom, but by a stronger and more intense voice that said, “Just get up!”. It was so startling and penetrating, that all I could do was listen and get up. At that point, I did not honestly know what I was going to do BUT I knew, I was asked to get up and act. In my spirit walk with the Lord, I had grown enough to trust Him and not question why he was using me. Nor did I dwell on what I was supposed to say or do. I knew that the prompting meant He was going to equip me with the timing, words and actions.
Despite trusting Him and knowing a little more of how He works, I was still shocked with the events that developed next. As I approached the young girl, still with my apprehensions, I acknowledged I could see she was in pain and asked if I could pray for her. She was young and I could tell had not developed a close walk with the Lord yet. Despite her clear unfamiliarity with prayer, she proceeded to say, “Yes, I think they might be interested, come in.” From my viewpoint from the breakroom, I could not see into the hospital room, I just saw her in the hallway leaning against the wall rails. I therefore was standing around the corner from the room entrance. As I start to say to myself as I follow her, “Well, no turning back now, game on…….”, I turn the corner and I saw a room full of crying people. I see a middle age man distraught sitting up in his bed and about 5-6 people surrounding his bed. Two near the room windows and 3 or 4 at the end of the bed. All that came to mind was….what have I walked into and where do I go from here. These are hurting people that clearly received bad news and I just interrupted them during their pain and most likely infiltrated a moment they will never forget.
I quickly acknowledge their pain and explain that I was across the hall visiting my cousin and noticed a young girl crying. The moments went so quickly and it’s been seven years now, so the details are not all apparent. What I do know, is that I was told to pray for the stranger across the hall. I approached his bed and placed my hand on his leg so that I would respect his personal space. I asked his name. He told me it was Richard. I asked, “Richard, are you spiritual and believe in God?”. Through tears, he said yes. At that moment, his family said, “Yes, he is. Richard is kind and a giving man. He has been a firefighter for years and dedicates his life to helping others.”
I don’t ask what his diagnosis is and it doesn’t come to mind. I just turn to him and ask if I can pray. He says yes which is also followed by words of agreement from his entire family. I don’t recall all the words to my prayer and I don’t even remember if I told him my name. All I remember is praying with deep and committed words and faith knowing that I was sent to this room; faith believing, that if God sent me, someone was healed today. It may have been Richard physically or maybe someone in the room spiritually; I am not sure. I don’t think it matters to me. All that matters, is that I remained obedient to His prompting and I don’t regret for a moment walking in that room full of strangers.
As quickly as I walked in that room, I quickly left right after praying over him. I wanted to give them space and not intrude as they processed their pain. There is part of me that wonders where Richard is today. Is he healed? Did God call him home? Was a visit from a stranger a manifestation of something else?
All I know for certainty, is that God spoke to me that day and out of obedience, I listened and acted. God has used me many times since then. As I mentioned above, the more you spend time with Him, in Word and in service, the more you will recognize His Voice. Life is too finite and people too precious, for us not to answer when He says, “Just get up!”
Through God’s Grace, Love, Blessings and Prayers,