I wrote this newsletter article several years ago after preaching a sermon about Easter. I thought it was appropriate to share it this week.
I was lying in the hospital bed on Friday, March 2, 2000. It was late in the evening, because I can remember how dark and somber the room felt. It was just my mom and me in the room; the steady flow of visitors throughout the day had ebbed. My last visitor had been the worst. It was the doctor. He showed me an MRI which revealed the lesions in my brain. He explained this meant there was a good chance I had multiple sclerosis.
I didn’t know what that meant, or what it would mean for the future, so with my mom there, I just cried. I prayed, “God, what does this mean? What do I do?”And when I opened my eyes, there stood Rick. Now, I imagine most people in Rick’s position would have quickly assessed the situation and politely excused himself. It was obvious I was in a lot of distress, and the last thing I wanted was a visitor. But, thank God, Rick stayed.
You see, Rick was used to distress and hospital rooms. Only two months earlier, he had lost his wife Linda to pneumonia. She was a sweet lady, only in her 40s, and beloved by the church. Rick had shown incredible strength during the whole ordeal, and managed to be an inspiration and comfort to us when we were supposed to be doing that for him.
So there Rick stood, hands in his jacket pockets, watching me cling to my mother and cry. I tried to gather myself as best as possible and but on my hospitality face, but Rick didn’t care. He simply said, “God sent me.”
“Did you know,” he continued, “that Linda was in the room right next to this one before she died? I pulled into the parking lot tonight, and I didn’t think I’d be able to come in. But God told me to, he said I had to see you. So I came in the hospital. But when I got on the elevator, I couldn’t bring myself to push the button for this floor, for Linda’s floor. But I had to. And then I saw your room, and I saw her room, and I knew I couldn’t walk into a hospital room again. But God told me it would be OK. So here I am.”
Indeed, there he was. I didn’t know what kind of journey I was facing in my life, but I couldn’t imagine it being any more difficult than the journey Rick had just made to see me. I remembered my prayer, “God, what do I do?” And I remembered Rick’s words, “God told me it would be OK. So here I am.” In the midst of my darkness, Rick brought Easter to me.
He didn’t cure me of MS. He didn’t promise me that life would be a cakewalk. He only told me that it would be OK. So here I am.