Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: FAITH (strong, confident belief in God) (02/26/15)
TITLE: Out of the Cocoon
By Noel Mitaxa
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“Right now that applies to you and me both,” responded Pastor Neville, acknowledging the stifling, wafer-thin plastic of his surgical coverall, hat, mask and gloves: a mandatory fashion statement for all visitors to the Intensive Care Unit. “Because our prayer is going where we can’t all go. Plus all this gear ensures that nobody stays in here too long to tire you out.”
Frank’s ICU bed was set within a forest of tubes and wires, monitors, alerts and suspended drips; and as the nurse made yet another regularly check, Pastor Neville breathed a prayer of gratitude for how God had designed all of those supports and their monitoring procedures to fit internally as normal healthy bodies got on with living.
An infection had invaded Frank’s body, defying all efforts to isolate it. And though Neville had often seen clear answers to his prayers for people to be healed, he dared not be glib about God’s promises―as if God needed to have his memory jogged. Oh, for a travelling healing ministry, he thought, with a brief touch of cynicism about how keeping on the move would absolve him from any on-going pastoral care when results were delayed or missing.
Neville knew that Frank was seriously ill, and he knew he must not stay much longer.
As the nurse left, he leaned forward and lightly rested his gloved hand on Frank’s forehead to pray, “Loving God, we thank you for all the love you are pouring over Frank, and we ask you to bring healing to him in any way you choose; and as you perfect your strength in his weakness, that your rivers of living water will flow within him and through him to touch others who might not otherwise discover your grace for them. We pray that Jenny and their whole family will know the tenderness of your care for them.”
It was time to leave.
Neville felt extra warmth through his glove, as Frank appreciatively squeezed his hand.
And though more visits over the next couple of weeks saw him getting weaker, Frank never forgot to mention the comfort of his prayer cocoon…
He slipped away amidst the love of his wife Jenny and their family’s private vigil.
Frank’s prayer cocoon kept nagging Pastor Neville’s funeral preparations; before it birthed a fresh insight.
At the funeral, a packed chapel included several ICU staff members. Relating how Frank had felt peace and safety in the cocoon of everyone’s love and prayer for him, Neville added: “But Frank knew that he would not stay there. For nothing inside a cocoon is as beautiful as what emerges from it.
“We move through this part of life in what amounts to a temporary package that is affected by illness, violence, accidents or simply by old age―until the time comes for it to be discarded. A time which only God knows. A time for everyone who loves him to step into a level of his grace; a level so good that we can’t even begin to imagine it. Frank had accepted Jesus’ death and resurrection as the doorway into knowing and loving God―here and now and even beyond death―and he has stepped out of his cocoon.
“We have loved him, and now we must let him go. We could never wish him back. Yet as we open ourselves to God’s grace as Frank did, we find this grace increasing our gratitude for life and our certainty beyond death.
“And now, as we escort you along the edge of eternity, if you wish to explore this faith issue more personally, I’ll be pleased to set time aside with you.”
Over the next few weeks, Pastor Neville’s diary listed more appointments than it usually did...
Author's note - From a true story
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