Reminiscing about life experiences is a regular mental exercise for many people. My father taught me never to forget where God brought me from and the people that helped me along the way. I often recall my childhood and every major life event in between. So many people made spiritual, personal, and professional deposits into my life bank account. It seems the older I get, the more my thoughts revisit specific people whose life journey and faith in Jesus Christ strengthened and encouraged me in some way over the years.

During my nursing career in a cancer hospital, I witnessed firsthand the unshakable faith and hope of many patients and family members. I still remember the testimony of a dying man that I cared for over twenty years ago. His message was encouraging then and still inspires me now.

After knocking on the door, I entered the hospital room of an older adult in the end stages of his battle with cancer. Slowly pushing the procedure cart into the room, I introduced myself.  Moving closer to his bed, I explained that I was the nurse assisting the doctor with his procedure. He looks at me, and a faint smile appears.  Reaching for my hand, he declares, “I’ve been waiting for you.”  His emaciated body lay relatively still as I prepared him for the procedure. He is breathing heavily, and his face glistened with sweat. He is wet from a long night of sweating through the debilitating pain.  I gently exchanged his gown for a fresh one and then took a moist washcloth and wiped his face. I had administered his procedural pain medication when the doctor entered the room. “Good morning Mr. Smith. I am Dr. Jones. (not their real names) I will be placing a catheter to administer medication that will significantly relieve your pain. Do you have any questions?” Mr. Smith merely shakes his head, and with that, we began to position him on his side for the procedure.  He grimaces and groans as we slowly turn him, and again he reaches for my hand and holds on very tightly.

Dr. Jones confidently begins the skin prep, and suddenly, Mr. Smith starts crying out, “Oh Jesus, oh Jesus, oh Jesus!”  I could see that the doctor was startled by this, and he asked if I had administered the pre-procedure pain medication.  I nodded yes, and Dr. Jones continues but attempts unsuccessfully to insert the catheter.  Mr. Smith maintains his cry of “Oh Jesus, oh Jesus, oh Jesus!”   I could see sweat forming on the doctor’s forehead and then slowly rolling down the side of his face. Mr. Smith persists in crying out, “Oh Jesus, oh Jesus, oh Jesus!” “Give him some more pain medication!” the doctor shouts to me.  Mr. Smith responds, “Doc, I don’t need any more pain medicine. Oh, Jesus, oh Jesus, oh Jesus.” Perplexed and becoming a little anxious, the doctor makes another attempt but cannot insert the catheter.

Seemingly a bit annoyed at his inability to perform a procedure he had done hundreds of times before, the doctor looks at Mr. Smith and says, “If you are not having any pain, why do you keeping saying, oh Jesus?”   “Doc, did you get the catheter in yet?” replies Mr. Smith. Looking disappointed, the doctor replies, “No, not yet.” Mr. Smith responds, “Then I have to keep calling Jesus because He has not shown up yet. Oh, Jesus, oh Jesus, oh Jesus!”

I could see through his facial expressions that the doctor was pondering what he should do next.  I leaned over and whispered, “Let’s try re-positioning him.” He agreed, and after re-positioning Mr. Smith, the doctor once again attempts to insert the catheter. Suddenly, the catheter slips right into its desired location. The doctor exclaims with excitement, “I got it in, Mr. Smith!” Mr.  Smith pauses for a moment, takes a breath, and begins to cry out, “Thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus!”

In no way was Mr. Smith minimizing the experience and expertise of his doctor. He called on the only person He believed was in control and could help him. This dying man exhibited patience, trust, and steadfast faith while enduring pain and suffering. He preached a three-point message from his hospital bed: (1) Call on Jesus, (2) Wait on Jesus, and (3) Thank you, Jesus. In his feeble voice, he declared that there is Power in the name of Jesus.

What message of faith and hope in Jesus Christ does your life tell?  Who needs to hear and see your story in action?

“Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:15-16, NIV)