by Pastor Tim White
Nighttime at a hospital is rough when you are recuperating from a major illness or setback. The hospitals can get busy and you can feel so alone, and your fears can be magnified by every ache, pain or sorrow-filled thought. I guess that is why for three generations my grandfather, dad and I have spent the night at the hospitals with people who are really struggling. And there are some benefits. Almost every time I am a patient in the hospital the staff thinks I work there because they see me so often. So much so, that at times we have had to be persistent in order to get our bill. 😀
I have heard time and again from young pastors that the days of pastors spending their time caring for people in the hospitals are over. As a matter of fact, many seem to boast that they don't do hospital visits at all. I was musing with one person in health care and they told me "I don't know of any other pastors nowadays that spend the night with dying people at the hospital." I said, "Well, to me it has always been a blessed adventure and I don't know any other way to authentically be a pastor." We even had one large church in our area call and ask us if they could refer all their hospital visits to us. It seems there's a new generation of churches arguing that it is just not worth their time.
All of this was going through my mind as I was recovering from knee replacement surgery, hoping to be better than ever. But I had some rough nights, reaching those low points that bring dark thoughts like: "Why had I spent the last 43 years ministering to people in hospitals when many of them never expressed their appreciation?" But God wouldn't leave me alone to have such a pity party. He spoke to me in two-way prayer saying, "This ministry has been for ME and I've used you to bring comfort and hope to numerous people through the years. Remember to thank me always, for this honor!"
There is a prayer that transforms darkness. And this week I am going to teach on the amazing Biblical idea of the Mount of Transfiguration. Most of the best commentaries written on this section of the synoptic gospels are by Popes before they even became Popes, so knowing their history is helpful. This is just a fascinating area of Biblical inquiry - I think we are all going to learn something new that will impact our lives and the lives of those we touch in the community.
I have been in the darkness watching Wheel of Fortune 😀 and sent out a prayer asking God to transform the darkness. Please join us this week. It's been a long winter. We all need a powerful, practical message from the scripture that transforms the darkness for us- please join me and bring a friend.