Last week, the Agnews spent a few days in the hospital. It wasn’t our idea of a fun family outing, but we sure did learn some valuable things from the experience. We were in the middle of a busy week and had some commitments coming up and we were unsure of what we were even dealing with.
In short, my wife became ill and eventually got better. Days later, the sickness returned with greater intensity. Unsure of the cause, we explored some options. Eventually, it got to where the pain was so bad we found ourselves in the emergency room on Tuesday afternoon. After a very rough afternoon, the medical team was able to get her in a healthy spot. We went back home Tuesday night with some medicine in hand and thought we were over this whole episode.
The pain returned increasingly as the night went on, and my wife started walking to the garage in her pajamas expecting me to take her back to the hospital. I knew this was serious.
As the pain increased on the way to the hospital, she looked over at me and asked,
“What do people in third world countries do when they get sick like this?”
As honestly as I could answer with one hand on the steering wheel and the other hand on her back, I replied,
So after two trips to the ER and 2 days in the hospital, my darling bride was better and we came home thankful to be back together again and in good shape. The whole episode caused me to reflect on a few things.
#1. Keep a 3rd World Perspective with 1st World Medicine
When Amanda asked me that question in the car, I was completely honest with her. People die from a simple sickness like she had. It turned out to be some GI virus that just attacked her bad. With the ability to get to medical help, this problem wasn’t life-threatening (even if it felt like it), but in other places the same, “simple” issues become terminal. I couldn’t help but think of our son’s biological parents who died when he was 1 month old and 5 months old. When asking an uncle what they died of, he replied, “They got sick and they died. They weren’t sick long either.”
It put it into perspective for me.
I complain about healthcare stipulations while rarely thanking God for having healthcare in the first place.
It is important to be thankful for the ease at which we have concerning doctors, equipment, information, and prescriptions.
#2. The Body of Christ Is Wonderful
At every turn of our exhausting week, we saw the Body of Christ at work and it was wonderful. People coming to our home, people in the ER, people in recovery, you name it, at every turn, God sent a Christian family member to come alongside us for comfort and direction and it provided peace unexplainable.
Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. -1 Cor. 12:27
It reminded me how thankful we are to have family members in Christ everywhere we turn. It made me to be cognizant concerning my availability to others.
#3. Your Job Is a Ministry
As we encountered different medical personnel, we were reminded that regardless of your vocation, it can be used as a ministry. We saw medical professionals use their gifts, their presence, and their compassion to provide comfort for us in a dire time. Paul said it like this in Colossians 3:
23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
What would it look like if all Christians used their place of employment to shine a light for Jesus (Matt 5:16; 1 Pet. 2:12)?
No matter your profession, God can use it as ministry.
It has been a whirlwind. Our family was/is worn out. It was a harrowing ordeal to see your wife in such bad shape. I can honestly say that I would rather go through it than watch her go through it. On the other side of it, we are grateful for so much. I pray that maybe our gratitude can become contagious in your own life and cause you to think about how you can be used today.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
2 thoughts on “Lessons from a Hospital”
I read this with such sorrow that I didn’t know y’all were going thru all this. Thanks for sharing your perspective with us and so thankful she is on the mend. Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family!!
It was a previous post from June but thank you for your sympathy!
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