Lessons from the ER

Lessons from the ER

My husband, Scott had a tonsillectomy last Monday. If you’ve had your tonsils removed, I bet the memory triggers something akin to post-traumatic stress as your hand spontaneously rubs your throat. Yeah, it’s no picnic. And I don’t care what they say, but no amount of ice cream is worth the pain!

At 52, the surgery alone is tough. But by Wednesday, Scott was experiencing excruciating intermittent chest pain and vomiting (with stitches in his throat!) which landed us in the hospital Emergency Room 45 minutes away from our home.

If you’ve ever been to an ER, I’m sure you can sympathize when I say, the place was a zoo.

Sadly, we’ve all grown to learn, this is part of the process.

To make matters worse, the hospital is under “remodeling” construction. The parking lot was a madhouse with cars circling like buzzards. The ER was so crowded you would have thought there was a rock concert—a few patients appeared to be on drunken and/or drug-induced stupors as if they’d been in attendance.

The check-in process was confusing even for the nurses who frantically went in one door and out another in search of patients. People were sick, injured, cranky, frightened, and downright rude.

It wasn’t long before I found myself sucked into the manic environment.

My attitude went from concerned, too fearful, to frustrated which eventually morphed into anger.

What was wrong with my husband? No one seemed to know. Nurses and technicians did test after test as we were shuffled from one crowded, germ-infested room to the next. We waited in a jam-packed hallway for a doctor for several hours.

About four hours into our wait, a nurse announced that anyone who was not a patient had to leave their loved one alone in the hallway and go back to the circus in the waiting room. This news went over like the proverbial lead balloon. Did this nurse realize how difficult it is to be sitting with someone who is having chest pains and then be told you must leave them? One woman adamantly refused to leave her husband forcing the nurse to call security all while the loudspeaker squawked “code blue” as medical staff sprinted through the nearby double doors.

Reluctantly, I followed the nurse’s request and stomped out into the waiting room to find there were no seats. And then I spotted her. A woman named Janette I’d spoken with earlier who was experiencing chest pains, too. I remember thinking to myself when I saw her the first time, “I should ask if I can pray for her.” But because of my own fear, I didn’t ask. Instead, when the nurse called her, I held up my hands like a steeple and mouthed I’m praying. A large smile lit up her face. I should have asked!

Now, there she was again, alone and shaking with fear. But before I could reach her, a nurse escorted her away just as our eyes met. I mouthed to her that I was praying and she smiled and nodded. Oh, why didn’t I listen to the Spirit the first time?

My next thought was a conviction from the Holy Spirit, “What about the nurse you got angry at?” I bowed my head and prayed for the nurse who was simply trying to do her job in a high-stress environment. I asked the Lord to forgive me for placing blame on her. As I glanced around the room, I began to pray for each person as the Holy Spirit helped me to see them with His eyes.

Jesus not only loves every one of them, He knows them intimately and died for their sins the way He died for mine.

The thought occurred to me that my purpose in the ER was not just to get help for my husband. I was there as an ambassador of Christ. I was there to shine His light.

The light of Christ’s love was most definitely needed and yet, It took me over four hours and a lot of frustration to come to terms with the eternal implications of the situation—of every situation.

Quite frankly, I’m embarrassed to share that it took me so long to remember something as fundamental. But the truth is: it’s not about me. It’s all about God. It’s about the grace He showed me that day in the ER.  It’s about the fact that He allows us to be His light. Isn’t that amazing?

And get this! I may have blown my opportunity to pray both times I saw Janette, but God gave me another chance. I found out Janette had been admitted and was able to leave her a note with my phone number. Today I received a wonderful surprise call from Janette. God gave me a third opportunity and I wasn’t going to mess it up. Thanks to God’s grace and technology, I was able to pray with her over the phone. What a blessing!

Speaking of blessings, I’m pleased to report that my husband is home from the hospital and recuperating from a bad reaction to the antibiotics that attributed to his chest pains and elevated enzyme levels.

Yes, God uses His people even in stressful situations—dare I say, especially in stressful situations.

He used Joseph in prison. He used Daniel in the lion’s den. He used David who was on the run from Saul who attempted to murder David. He used Paul in prison. He used the disciples in Christ’s ministry despite their lack of faith.

And He wants to use you and me.

No matter where we are, no matter our circumstances, God already has a plan in place.

As Christians, it is up to us whether or not we will be His light.  

Jesus says, in Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world.” And in Ephesians 5:8, “At one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.”

My friend, perhaps you are smack in the middle of a difficult situation. I encourage you to remember that God wants to use you.

How are you going to let your light shine?

13 thoughts on “Lessons from the ER”

  1. Thanks for your transparency. I’ve been where you were. I get anxious about my loved ones health and hearing God goes out the window. But He manages to get through to us anyway, right, despite ourselves? Glad hubby is okay. Chest pains are no laughing matter.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. So, so relieved to know that Scott’s okay!!! Yes, I’ve been guilty of the same thing, Beckie, so absorbed in my own worries for Danny (think all the heart issues) that I neglected to pray for those around me. I did finally come to my senses, and began to pray not just for him, but for all in the hospital who were suffering and/or worried. God can and will use us even in the midst of troubles and trepidation.


  3. Vulnerable, beautiful, and powerful post, Beckie. Love these thoughts:

    “But the truth is: it’s not about me. It’s all about God. It’s about the grace He showed me that day in the ER. It’s about the fact that He allows us to be His light. Isn’t that amazing?”

    It is amazing. So thankful Scott is okay and doing better. And how wonderful you connected on the phone with Janette. I just said a prayer for both of them too…and for you as you shine the light of Jesus into the world, even at an ER that’s akin to the circus. 🙂


  4. Beckie,
    From my experiences (25xs in ER in one year alone and no less than four every year since 2012) I have learned how God places you in places He sees best not necessarily where you want to be. The key is to be willing to serve God no matter the situation. The key to walking in the valley of night is knowing who you are walking with. Pain and fear are horrible. Pain paralyzes and it is hard to move through. So, I know this sounds weird, but don’t be still and hold onto God who is holding onto you. There is a witness in resolve. Persevere…He gives you what you need to get through this valley. Persevere and refuse to give in. Sit there and be still and set your eyes on God beyond the veil of pain and fear and doubt.

    I am so glad Scott is okay as well as you. Thank you for serving God there. God Bless you and your family. Praying for you all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jonathan, this is something I KNOW God will use you to share in your writing. Honestly, I’m a bit ashamed it took me so long to figure out how that God wanted to use me. You have given some amazing points! My friend, you’ve become somewhat the expert at the ER experience. Can’t wait to see and hear more of your testimony.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s