My Hospital Lesson

  • July 25, 2016
  • #8931

Facing hardship and worry can lead to despair. Hold on to Biblical hope by memorizing words of a hymn, a favorite poem or scripture, and then trust in God.         

My Hospital Lesson

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and I know hospitals.

I wish I didn’t, but over the years I’ve become all too acquainted with their stale corridors and ice-cold operating rooms. It started back in 1967 when a reckless dive into shallow water snapped my neck, leaving me a quadriplegic. When they rushed me to the hospital on that hot, July afternoon, I had no idea I wouldn’t be discharged until April 1969. One morning I was lying on a gurney in the hallway outside of urology clinic. After two hours of waiting, lying there counting ceiling tiles, a lab worker finally came out to announce that I would be “first after lunch break.” As the urology staff headed to the cafeteria, I just watched them go down the hallway and my heart sank.

I did not dare cry because there was no one around to wipe my tears. So I decided to comfort my soul with a hymn. In no more than a whisper, I sang a favorite from church choir: ‘Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side; bear patiently the cross of grief or pain. Leave to thy God to order and provide; in every change He faithful will remain! Be still my soul, thy heavenly Friend … through thorny ways leads to a joyful end!’ I was only 17 years old, but that moment defined how I would engage life in a hospital. My stay, I determined, would not be a jail sentence. I purposed that that hospital would be, well… a gymnasium for my soul.

Look, I was enough of a Christ-follower to know, oh my goodness, I had to hold onto biblical hope, or else I would go crazy. Even after I was released from the hospital in 1969, I would not allow myself to sink into suicidal despair. That small resolute act made all the difference; not only then, but it set the high bar for my battle against stage III cancer later on and my chronic pain. You don’t have to be in a hospital, or use a wheelchair like me. There are times when you’ll feel like you are going crazy, wondering how you’ll live through your hardships or heartaches. Take it from a veteran – set the high bar in your battle against despondency by holding onto biblical hope. Find an anchor in scripture, a favorite psalm or a snippet of a proverb. Or pick a timeless stanza from an old hymn, or memorize a few lines from an inspirational poem. Use that scripture, use that hymn or poem as your resolute act of defiance against discouragement. And then trust in God. I repeat, trust in God. Just do it! And to help you do it, John Piper has written an excellent little booklet called “10 Lessons from My Hospital Bed” and I want to send it to you today as my free gift. You don’t have to be in a hospital to appreciate his lessons, so visit me today at joniandfriends.org/radio and ask for “10 Lessons from My Hospital Bed.” And finally, today, trust in God. Just roll up your sleeves, face the problem, put aside the complaining spirit, and just do it: have confidence, have trust in God. Let me hear from you today on my Facebook page or you can always post a comment on my Blog at joniandfriends.org.

Photo: elderlarsen.net

© Joni and Friends

 

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