The Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? . . . Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say.”
God had assigned Moses the mission of delivering a message to Pharaoh to liberate His people Israel from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land. That was an enormous challenge for Moses, to be sure. But one appointed and predestined by God.
We too may be given similar assignments, not only in assisting in the deliverance of others from the merciless influences and temptations of the world, but also of bringing comfort and words of healing to those who are sick and suffering. To bring hope to the depressed and strength to those who just want to give up. To liberate them from the oppression of dis-ease.
But ministering to others in their trepidations and suffering is both rewarding and challenging. It reminds me of what Forrest Gump’s mama always said,
“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”
So it is with administering comfort to different individuals.
Yesterday was my annual check-up with my transplant doctor. Eleven years out [from transplant] and still going strong. Praise God! He indeed has been so very good to me, so much more than I deserve.
But before that, I enjoyed the two hour trip to the hospital and usually use it for prayer, quite time, praise and worship and simply just talking to the Lord. I knew I wanted to visit with the liver patients that day and reminded the Lord (as if He needs that) of my uneasiness about “cold calls”.
I am timid by nature, and making cold calls is truly stepping outside of my comfort zone. I asked Him to help me and to give me the appropriate words at the appropriate times. I think of Moses in these times, who, according to scripture, was a bit uneasy about the new assignment given to him by God. Finally, three ineffective excuses later, Moses tried the "slow of speech" approach.
Then Moses said to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” (Ex. 4:10)
Yeah, I've tried that one too.
So following my appointment, I proceeded to the transplant wing of the hospital, stopping first at the nurses’ station for a list of patients they felt were in need of consolation. Out of several waiting for a donor liver, there were four they specifically chose, but I was able to see only two.
The first room I entered, the people were an absolute delight. The man waiting on a new liver had become ill during his wait, and his bubbly wife stayed with him. They were Christians, so visiting and praying with them was easy.
But the next one was a man from the east coast. His voice was a little gruff and his “New Yawk” accent gave him away. He was tired and weak, and looked as though life had been rough on him. He admitted to abusing drugs and alcohol as to the cause of his liver damage.
I asked him what brought him to Oklahoma. He answered, “I think it was a 747.”
Cute! His humor is intact.
I shared with him pieces of my life and of my journey through the transplant process. I tried to answer the questions he posed, as well as those he had not thought of, but knew he would wonder about eventually.
Then I finally asked him the crucial question.
Then I finally asked him the crucial question.
“Do you believe in God and in His Son, Jesus?”
His answer is one I’ve heard before.
“I do believe in God, BUT I just don’t get into it that much. I used to go to church when I was younger, but I got burned by our priest and some people in the church.”
I told him I understood. There are many who experience the same thing and who also have left the church.
Then I went on to tell him,
“But here’s the Good News! Our faith is not in man or in a priest. Our faith is in God and in His Son, who died for you and who loves you completely. It was never man’s place to fulfill your needs, and man will fail you. It’s a promise. It’s our nature. We live in a fallen world.
But God will NEVER fail you! His love is perfect and His strength is perfect. And when we love Him, He can take what we are going through and turn it around for our good and His glory. And that’s a promise.”
He mumbled a garbled, "I know, I know."
The doctor peeked in, so it was time to leave, but not before I prayed. I prayed for this man’s comfort and healing, but most of all, that God would heal his spirit. On the way home, I prayed that the Holy Spirit would cause the words I had spoken to him to return to his thoughts, stirring his wounded spirit toward healing as the Spirit of God draws his heart to Him. I continue to pray that this man would come to know Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
God was faithful that day. He calmed my "cold call anxiety" giving me a peace I knew came only from Him, gave me the words to speak, as well as bring His word to mind at the appropriate time.
As God has delivered us from the darkness of man’s sinful nature, and transferred us into the glorious kingdom of His beloved Son, may we extend His gracious gift to others in their time of need. Do not allow your apprehensions to hamper your capacity to minister truth and love to others. It’s so easy to listen to the negative voice that desires to impede the work of God. (Col 1:13, 14)
Step out in faith, as the Lord leads, and know that He will meet you there and will keep His promises to give you the words to speak when your trust is in Him. (Ex. 4:11-12)