I did finally get to read to my neighbor. It was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.
My friend whom I met with in regard to God’s harebrained plan about reading to her husband the doctor, was glad to see me and optimistic about our arrangement. Unfortunately her husband had fallen asleep and she was not able to readily wake him so instead of introducing us she left me with her eleven year old daughter while taking her other kids to youth group.
Waiting made my anxiety worse. My husband had asked earlier in the day if I was nervous and at that time I was not, even when I showed up I was not but sitting there I began to entertain my reservations.
What will he think of this crazy plan? Will he think I intend to evangelize him without compassion. I bet he is wondering if whatever I have planned will allow him yet another chance to sleep or let his thoughts wander.
I chatted with my heart in my throat, nervous about what to do if he woke. At last we heard him coughing in the other room and that darling little girl got up and ran into his room exclaiming, “Good morning, sleeping beauty!”
It was actually six at night!
“Do you wanna meet a new friend?” she exclaimed and beckoned with her hand for me to enter.
Thank you Lord!
I had been so nervous about how to approach him and yet this lovely little girl had taking away all tension with her plucky introduction.
Lord, help me not to talk down to him, help my conversation to be comfortable and respectful. Lord give me the right words so that I don’t pity him but that your love shows through me and your hope is evident without my having to preach at him. Jane and I want so badly for him to learn to trust you, help me to understand your timing.
She left us alone and I sat beside his bed and began to explain why I had chosen the book that I did. Despite the fact that God clearly directed me to read House, by Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti, I had many other reasons for agreeing with Him and I shared those. 🙂
As I spoke I took in a couple quick glances at the pictures above the bed, they were of healthier times for the doctor and I was shocked at the stark difference. Though he had thick cotton white hair even then, it was silky and bright . Now his hair was a coarse gray mat against his head. He had been a big man with a broad inviting smile. Now, emaciated and limp, his smile ghoulish, his head appearing too large on his skeleton frame. My heart ached.
I opened my book and read stopping now and again to take a sip of water and allow him to cough.
We finished one chapter and I paused to talk a little about myself. I told him briefly about each of my kids and that I felt blessed to know his family. His daughter came in to check on us and I took another drink of my water while conversing with her.
I read another chapter and twice I made major mistakes that sent us both into laughter. His eyes sparkled and he tried to laugh but it caused a coughing fit. I winced at the pain it seemed to cause him as he gagged and sputtered. I could not believe that I was sitting there, next to a man who was so incapacitated and yet the Lord was allowing us to fellowship. I was not disturbed by the monitors and wheelchair. My mind was filled with compassion and my heart longed only for him to know my Jesus and accept the promise of complete healing whether on earth or in heaven.
I read a total of three chapters and in the third had another laugh fumbling around with my voice attempting to recreate a “booming” male voice.
Though I had seen the sparkle in his eye and thought I made him laugh it was hard to be sure how he was taking it until his daughter ran to her mother the minute she arrived and exclaimed “He was so into it, I haven’t seen him that alert!”
My reservations were wiped away and the Lord graciously confirmed that His thoughts are completely different from ours…and His ways are far beyond anything we can imagine.
I read again soon and will be sure to keep you updated.
“My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your way and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
“The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to and it will prosper everywhere I send it. You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands! Where once briers grew, myrtles will sprout up. This miracle will bring great honor to the Lord’s name; it will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.”