I have felt the hand of God on my shoulder.
But that was years ago, when I first became a Christian and needed Him to guide an comfort me in a “tangible” way. I haven’t felt that physical hand in many years, but last week, I felt His presence surrounding every situation.
And I was comforted.
Early last week, my mom had some tests for her breathing. Standard tests but ones that she hadn’t done in awhile. She was having them in order to qualify for a new piece of equipment that others had told her would help with her breathing. Going to the hospital or any doctor’s office is always difficult for my mom, but we get through it and she wanted to do whatever she could to qualify.
At the conclusion of the tests, the tech and nurse told us getting the equipment shouldn’t be an issue as her scores were well below the levels they required. Awesome. We went home feeling good about the tests. Although difficult, at least there would be good results for Mom.
As soon as we arrived home, Dad informed us the hospital had been calling. They wanted her back – she shouldn’t have left. Her levels were “critically” low and she needed to be admitted. Because Dad hadn’t gotten good information when they called, he’d asked them to call back and talk to Mom. I waited but no call came so I went home. We had no idea why we’d need to go back. The tech and nurse both knew the levels and had let us go home. It seemed odd and I went home without worry.
Two hours later Dad called me to say they were headed to the hospital. They were still being told Mom HAD to come back. One person even told her she would die if she did not. I quickly called the hospital myself and was told, basically, that they should have never let us go home. She should have been admitted right away. They were covering their own … tracks.
So we went.
Now, for my mom, going to an ER is a scary adventure. Germs of all unknown origins fill each seat and her extremely low immune system could pick up anything at the drop of a hat. On our way to the hospital, I sent out a prayer request via Facebook outlining the issue. My friends immediately began responding with prayer.
When we arrived in the ER, I positioned Mom in a seat (one of two we found in the packed waiting room) and told her not to touch anything.
When the triage nurse took her to a secluded room for her vitals and to check her in, I outlined the issue, emphasizing that the hospital had screwed up, and, according to them, she was in “critical” condition.
I’m not usually so bold, but there was no way I would let my mom reenter the waiting room stacked full of germs. I was there to protect her.
And, soon, I felt the prayers of hundreds of my friends coming to save the day.
The nurse never returned us to the waiting room where others, she’d told us, had been waiting for a minimum of three hours and some up to five. My mom was given an EKG and then swiftly moved into an ER bed through a “back” door that only the doctors and nurses use. (I’m sorry for all those who had to wait so long in the waiting room, but I know this was the hand of God guiding us and ensuring Mom would not get more sick. Perhaps her levels really were critical and God was moving things more rapidly in order to save her life. I don’t know. But I pray each one of you that was there that night got the care you needed in a timely fashion. And know that God will help you too – simply reach out in faith.)
Over the course of the next few hours, my mom was given a breathing treatment to alleviate high CO2 levels in her bloodstream. She was checked for other issues. She saw multiple doctors. Eventually, she would be admitted but we needed to go through the standard procedures first. Along the way, I felt God’s guidance to speak out when I needed to, ask questions about her care, seek to understand the what and whys, and push for medication when she needed it. When they placed the breathing machine over my mom’s face and she started to panic, an unknown force propelled me from my chair to hold her hand.
God was with us even if I didn’t feel His physical hand on my shoulder as I did all those years ago.
It was still a long wait. But at least we were in our own room, without other germs possibly attacking Mom’s already low immunity. When Mom was assured she had a bed waiting for her, we left. It was around midnight. In the waiting room, people still waited.
I prayed for them as we left because I know the power of prayer. Instead of waiting five hours for an ER bed, my mom had gotten admittance to a real bed in less than five. And although her stay in the hospital (only two days) was fraught with additional issues (like not getting a lunch one day and needing to wait for a wheelchair so she could leave because the arm of one had broken off at the last minute), I know in my heart the prayers of many helped us to get to where we are today.
Mom now has the breathing machine at home that she needs. The process was expedited because of this hospital stay. The insurance agreed to pay easily due to her high CO2 levels. And despite fearing the machine (claustrophobia), she has been able to use it successfully each night.
I have felt the physical hand of God on my shoulder in the past. Now His touch is within my heart and guides me and leads me whenever I need Him. No longer do I need to have Him physically guide me – like a child need’s a parent’s hand holding – I can now feel Him inside me, in my heart, in my soul, directing every aspect of my life. I feel the prayers of many working for the greater good. And I am thankful.
Though I am surrounded by troubles,
you will protect me from the anger of my enemies.
You reach out your hand,
and the power of your right hand saves me.
Psalm 138:7 NLT