I met Brenda on New Years Day when I was visiting my mother in the hospital. The hospital was quiet and almost completely empty of visitors. The nursing staff was down too probably because it was a holiday. Mom had pneumonia but was sleeping soundly so I pulled up a chair when I noticed her roommate, Brenda, quietly sobbing into her pillow. I sat between the beds for a while and finally asked Brenda I could help.
She poured out her story through her tears. She had come into the hospital with pneumonia and had run a battery of tests only to find out at age 38 she had stage 4 lung cancer. She had a husband and one preteen child at home. The medical team had just left after telling her this news.
I have been the hospital two times in my life. The first time through paralyzing fear I saw the peace only God can give in the witness of my hospital room-mate. The second time although much more serious surgery I experienced the peace of God myself. I offered to share my story with Brenda, who gratefully accepted:
Unknown attacks symptomatic of heart failure had sent me 3 times to the emergency room and finally ended up in emergency surgery. When all the controls in my life were taken away, I called out and asked God to reveal Himself to me. I wanted to know if there was a God who cared. The Bible says, “And you will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13)
God put me in a room with a roommate who was different from anyone I had met. I found out by overhearing through the curtain that she was mother of 3 with a loving husband, but dying of cancer. She was so at peace and busy consoling the doctor and nurses with her confidence in knowing she was going to be in heaven with Jesus. I was surprised at her confidence and the peace she had. After everyone else had gone she share with me that she had received Jesus as her own personal savior when she was a teen and she knew she would be with Him in heaven soon. Although she couldn’t show me exactly where in the Bible, I witnessed her reading and praying constantly as she kept telling me the truth was in God’s Word, the Bible The peace and lack of fear she had was REAL and I wanted that too.
Over the next weeks, many “co-incidental” meetings occurred in my life as God brought His Word through His people into my life. Through a bus ministry for my children, a visiting Sunday school teacher, the change in my daughters’ life when she received Jesus as her savior at the age of 10, the love and kindness of believers at a local Bible believing church and a patient Pastor who shared the scriptures and answered my questions I finally saw the truth. I knew my problem was not illness but my need to have my sins forgiven and made right before a holy, creator God. That Jesus Christ came to earth for that very purpose but I had a choice to make, to accept the gift God himself provided through Jesus death, burial and resurrection or refuse and continue on my lost and fearful way.
John 3:16 says: “ For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
I made my decision and prayed a 30 second prayer agreeing with God about my hopeless condition, telling Him what I believed about the sacrifice He provided through His Son Jesus and asking for forgiveness while claiming the promise of eternal life. He filled my heart with peace and love that I had never known. To this day it remains even though it has been over 30 years ago and the fear has left my life even to this day.
Brenda’s eyes lit up with hope as she said, “I know God sent you to help me find my way too. Will you show me God’s promises? Can He forgive me too?” While I shared God’s Word my mother started to stir. I prayed for more time to help Brenda and quietly in the shadows I heard a nurse come in and comfort her. She even pulled the curtain around to give us privacy. Brenda quietly talked to God and asked Jesus to become her Lord and Savior. When Brenda finished praying the curtains opened and a very excited nurse exclaimed, “Praise the Lord, another soul has been saved for God’s Kingdom. Welcome to the family of God!!” We all embraced as we realized that New Year’s day was one of God’s divine appointments as we knew the we had been witness to God’s saving grace.
As it turned out, Brenda’s sister had been praying for her for over 2 years about knowing Jesus as her Savior. She emailed me when Brenda shared with her the new life in Christ she had received. I provided a set of follow-up materials for her to do an in-home Bible study with her sister. I received reports over the next year as Brenda underwent Chemo and some set backs, but through her growing faith was able to see her husband, children and mother come to Christ before she went to be with her Lord almost a year later.
I know I will see her in heaven someday along with my room-mate who shared God’s peace with me. God’s appointed times and places are many and varied. I only pray that we all can slow down and be available to enjoy the blessings of being used by God to share His peace and joy with others every day.
For more information on this topic, look to other “testimonies” in this blog or write to Dr. Nancy at: [email protected]