It was early afternoon. All you hear are the sounds made in a large hospital. At the moment, I was being wheeled into a ward where patients stayed while going through testing to determine what had brought on the present illness.
Because I qualified for this situation, I had just returned from the Lab. I had been there for several hours and I weary, to say the least.
The nurses’ aid said I was just in time for my lunch. I had no interest in it, because I knew the try held liquids, all the food I was allowed.
Before I was helped on the bed, I heard voices, cheerful voices, say, “Hello”, “We’ve missed you”, “How are you?” all in one breath. It was Mr. Voorees, my boss; followed by The Colonel, the director of our division at Redstone Arsenal.
It was a nice surprise, but I barely held up my hand to them as I returned their greetings. They chatted about how full my end basket was on my desk; claiming that no one else could do my job. I was slightly amused, for I knew several who could do it and their own. Their laughter slowly lulled me to sleep, which didn’t matter as they shared stories with each other.
Without realizing it, I turned on my left side and became aware of a tall figure dressed in a long white robe walking slowly along my bed. His presence alerted me but I did not recognize Him at first. My heart began to pound because I suddenly knew that it was my Lord Jesus. He said nothing, but turned around and his hands touched my bedcovers. Before I could say a word, He vanished.
I knew, I knew for sure that He had come to encourage me. To say I was thrilled, didn’t explain my feelings.
My visitors were unaware of the presence of another visitor, the King of Kings. They rose from their chairs and bid me a good afternoon.
It was such a precious experience, I did not share it with anyone.
My story didn’t begin there. The result of the tests I endured resulted in drastic surgery. A few days before that was scheduled, my sister a friend drove up from Louisiana for a visit before the surgery. She brought gifts; a basket of strawberries (but I was forbidden to eat them), a tape player and several Christian teaching tapes. She included earphones for to wear while I listened to the tapes.
A day had passed since my experience. My attitude and spirit had changed since the previous day, so that I was better company. I sat in a chair between my sister and her friend. We held hands when my sister said, “Let’s pray.” Suddenly, I felt a warm feeling move through my whole body. I wanted to believe that what my husband had been told by the surgeon was not true. I didn’t believe it was hopeless. This feeling I was experiencing was proof. I refused to be discouraged.
I told my visitors what I had felt and they rejoiced with me. After they left, I had several calls from friends and was talking to one of them when my husband came to see me. I was talking and laughing with them. My husband stared at me and asked, after I hung up the phone, “How can you sound so happy when you realize what the doctor will find?”
My reply was that I didn’t believe anything very bad would be found. I grabbed his hand and begged him to believe with me.
The surgery was over before noon the next day. He was allowed a short visit and as he rushed into ICU his face was alive with the biggest smile ever. He almost shouted, “No cancer!” He repeated it. I asked why he thought there would be, and he admitted that the doctor was certain that was what they would find; we were finally on the same wavelength.
My childhood was one of Bible reading every evening after supper, before bedtime. My father read from his big Bible that had maps of the journeys Paul had taken; the names of towns and other points of interest.
As I grew older, my family friends were church members also. I was all I knew. We eventually moved to the city, where life is quite different. But my crowd was friends from church. I was a Christian, or so I thought.
My interest had broadened! New temptations entered my thoughts; new friends filled my time. Life was more exciting. There wasn’t as much time for Bible reading. But I was in school, away from home and parents. I knew I had changed.
Marriage, children, World War II. So many changes had taken place, I lost my way for a while.
We were a long way from family, but I wanted to do right by my children, so I took them to church when they were quite young. They loved Sunday School and church. I did too.
My husband was overseas and wrote that we could come there I agreed. It was exciting to think of travel, so off we sailed to Japan.
We lived in a quansette hut. Had two maids to help me care for my two young children. I made friends at the chapel, and we had a group of GI’s who met one night a week at the home of a Japanese Christian. I found myself being drawn back into Bible reading, singing Bible choruses. My society was back to normal. I was a Christian again.
Military life is one move to another. Even though the war had ended, there were still occupations at various post in the US and overseas. Each move brought changes; new set of friends; drifting away from good habits. So the story goes with each change. This life lasted for many years. Children became adult, off to college, marriage, jobs for them, away from me.
Then came the illness. The drifting had taken it’s toll, church became important again. New friends, an interesting job to contend with. Then I met Jesus. I couldn’t forget the wonder of that encounter. By then, I was reading my Bible everyday. I had such a hunger that I knew I was being fed and communing with the Holy Spirit. I knew I’d never drift away again this time. I felt sure that I WAS BORN AGAIN. Ever so thankful. For thirty-eight years I have remained true. His grace and mercy have sustained me. Now, I’m waiting for His return to take me HOME! Amen.
Written By: Loraine Whittaker,
Cypress UMC Member