Medical Emergency

By Amy Sparkman

Categories: Health, Safety


Can we trust God to help us in an emergency, even a medical emergency?

Response (This story answers the question):

I helped a close friend today. He was rushed to the Emergency Room, and I really wanted to support him, but I didn’t know how. I wanted to do more than just be there with him. My heart was racing, and I couldn’t sit still because my mind was swirling with fearful visions of what had happened to him. I tried to “think good thoughts” – something I’ve often been told to do when trouble comes calling. I immediately thought about what a good guy this friend is, about how he doesn’t deserve something bad to happen to him, about how unfair this scenario was, coming out of the blue…. And that brought me back to feeling afraid and helpless as my thoughts raced around and around the track in my head. Suddenly, a red flag went up. Stop it! The words were loud and clear. Pray. It was an order with no wiggle room.

Our family prays a lot! I mean, we pray about everything. And our prayers are pretty much always answered. I don’t mean that we get everything we want. That’s not what praying is – it’s not asking God really, really hard for something and promising to do something in return. Believe me, that never works! That’s just wishful thinking turned into willful wanting, which has nothing to do with God.

No, praying is first getting really, really quiet, and then listening big-time, and THEN letting your mind fill up with all the ideas about God that flood into your thoughts. I like to start by thinking about infinity. That’ll take some time, right? Hahaha—no! Because infinity doesn’t count time—it’s forever. I mean, think about that. Since God is infinite, then anything else we think of as being God is infinite, too—like Love. God is Love, so Love is infinite. That’s an awesomely amazing idea! Just let that settle in your thought for a while and see where it takes you.

So, back to my friend who was lying in a hospital bed, not feeling well at all, and waiting for a doctor to tell him what was wrong, and afraid of what he would hear. It was not a good picture.

But I wasn’t focused on that. I was working on fulfilling the order I’d received: Pray. The first thing I thought of was the Lord’s Prayer found in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew: “Our Father….” And that’s as far as I got. “Our” stopped me short. My friend was in God’s care. God isn’t only mine or only for those who belong to my faith. There’s only one God. I’ve known this forever, but I saw it differently today. My friend goes to a different church, but both of us—all of us—worship the same God. We might see God in different ways, from different viewpoints. But there’s only ONE God. And that means God is here for all of us. God is loving, caring for, comforting, and merciful to, everybody.

Then I got to “Father.” I love thinking about the best father I can imagine, even better than some of the really great fathers I know. But God is bigger, better, more than all of them put together because God is infinite. He’s strong, and He protects and guides, and He loves gently and tenderly, but also energetically and forever.

As I thought about God, it was easy to see that if God is being God, then all of us are totally “cared for, watched over, beloved and protected.” (That’s part of a verse in a hymn I love.) God is “here” for us. Always.

I kept praying: “Who art in heaven….” That’s where God reigns, where He exists—in the kingdom of heaven. And since we are His children, we live there, too. We’re completely surrounded, lifted up, nestled, in His home—in heaven. It was easy to see my friend there, too.

“Hallowed be Thy name.” To me, that means we are hugely respectful of God, and we never fall down on the job of showing our respect for Him—of listening for His word, of following obediently and willingly, of expressing our gratitude for Him, such as trying to see and appreciate others the way God sees and loves us. There’s always room to improve in that department!

“Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” This part of the Lord’s Prayer always makes me say, “Phew and thank you!” This is where we remind ourselves that God is God right here on earth, not just down the road … after we die … in heaven. So, that’s cool: God isn’t far away, and praying isn’t wishful thinking or day-dreaming. God is ever-present, everywhere, and always. Remember, God is infinite. So, I can expect God to answer my prayers, to guide me—and everyone else who prays or who’s looking for guidance. My friend sure was. And I immediately felt more at peace about God being right there for him.

There’s one more thing about heaven that I’m starting to understand. It’s that heaven is here. We can feel it, live in it, right now. It’s not someplace up in the sky where we move when we die. Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven is within us (Luke 17:21). It’s in our hearts, in our inmost consciousness. And the peace we find there affects our daily lives. If we’re living in the kingdom of heaven, we’re in a good place—we’re feeling good about ourselves and about our place in the world. That radiates to others, making them feel good, too. I wanted very much to be in that kingdom of heaven so that my friend would feel peace surrounding him.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” This line hits home every time I say it. This is “the ask.” But it’s the coolest ask I can imagine because it’s not for something specific—it’s for the most basic form of nourishment: bread. It’s for what we need to be ready and able to meet the challenges of any given day. It’s for sustenance and strength. What’s more, the wording is both a request and an expectation. If we ask, it means we’re open to receiving something. And God gives us exactly what we need.

“And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” Knowing God forgives me sure makes it easy for me to forgive! How many times a day do I put God through the ringer or throw God under the bus? Yet, God remains God. All-loving. All-powerful. All-knowing. All-good. That doesn’t mean I can keep acting in ways that require forgiveness over and over again. That would be ridiculous. God is intelligence, not stupidity. So If I’ve done something that needs forgiving, I need to reform, change my ways. Knowing God loves me enables me to do that. I didn’t know how this line relates to my friend, but I know from experience that forgiving others and forgiving myself is transformative. And as I see it, every little step helps me get closer to God, which makes for a better day. I wanted this day to get better and better.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver is from evil.” To me, this is another one of the “reminder” parts of the Lord’s Prayer. It’s reminding us that God doesn’t guide us into trouble; He gets us out of it! That definitely helped calm my thoughts about my friend.

“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and glory forever.” Nothing compares to God. Nothing’s as awesome or powerful or everywhere. ALWAYS. Amen. I like to think of this as both the end and the beginning. It’s the end of the prayer and the beginning of the outcome of that prayer. It closes the door on doubt and fear, and opens the door to endless possibility, to the expectancy of good.

By the end of my prayer, peace filled the room. I knew I’d been helpful. My friend rested quietly. Fear had melted away. A little while later, my good friend was told he’d be fine and could go home. As we left the ER, he thanked me for being there with him and said, “Your prayers sure made a difference.”

We can trust God in an emergency! AMEN!