Three different hospitals in one week, three different reasons to be in each one. April has been an eventful month, and it isn’t over yet. Wednesday I was at the weekly Paik Hospital English Bible Study class examining the internal evidence for the validity of the Bible. Thursday evening, I was in the emergency room of a second hospital with a church member who was suffering from a digestive tract infection. Friday afternoon I was in hospital room of a third hospital with Pastor DeVries, sitting at the bedside of a woman only hours away from passing into eternity.
Reminders of the Resurrection
April is one of the most beautiful months in Korea. The temperatures are mild, the cherry blossoms bloom, and the mountains turn green as the trees bud and leaf. It is a wonderful month for walking and seeing the spring flowers people have planted or that sprout up on their own. Nature reminds of resurrection as the new life of spring replaces the death of winter.
We celebrated Christ’s victory of sin and death on Easter Sunday. After our service, we went to a local park and handed out Easter eggs and shared the gospel. Easter reminded me that my grandmother was no longer with us on this earth, that one week before angels had escorted her to heaven on Palm Sunday. It was difficult not being with my family at her funeral service, but God was faithful to minister comfort and hope to me.
Being Able to Comfort
This past week, God gave me the opportunity to be a comfort to another family facing death. God brought me into a hospital room where a woman I had not met before lay dying from cancer. She was gaunt, nearly hairless, weak, and fighting pain with medication. Her husband and daughter were by her side, holding her hands, stroking her head, kissing her cheeks, and gazing upon her intently with love. They told us that her desire was to not be in pain and to pass quickly. She had been a believer for a little over two weeks and she was ready to meet Jesus.
They sang Amazing Grace in Korean and I hummed harmony. Pastor DeVries shared hope from Romans 8 as Helen translated into Korean. Before we left, I took this woman’s soft, frail hand in mine. I did not know that twenty-four hours later I would be back in that room watching her labor to breathe. Twenty-four hours later, her husband and daughter would be shedding tears, knowing that God was answering her prayer to go home. Twenty-four hours later, all I would do was silently pray, embrace the husband, and hold the hand of the daughter. And this is all I could do at funeral hall yesterday and today. Holy Spirit, love through me, comfort through me with the little I can do.
All Is Not Lost: Life Goes On
This morning, we received word that the older brother of one our church sisters passed away suddenly last night. As I write this, Pastor DeVries has just arrived in Andong to minister to unsaved family members. On Easter, Pastor DeVries spoke from the book of Job. He said, “God gives and takes away, and then God gives again.” God sent Jesus, Jesus died on the cross and was buried in a tomb, but then Jesus rose to life again. Job had much, Job saw nearly everything taken away, but then Job received much more from God in the end. All is not lost when we die; life goes on. We have this hope and this comfort as believers, and we share it with others.
He comforts us every time we have trouble, so that we can comfort others when they have trouble. We can comfort them with the same comfort that God gives us. (2 Corinthians 1:4 ICB)