A quick sigh escaped my lips as I shuffled through the sea of paper on the desk to find the new admission's notes. He had only been in the side room for five minutes, but already his notes were deep under a pile of documents, dressing packs and pharmacy bags.
I was really not in the mood for a new admission. My head was hurting, my feet were aching, and I just wanted the shift to end. I felt chronically drained of all my energy. One dear patient had passed away that morning already, and several others were quite sick. I had asked God on the way to work for some encouragement; I wasn't sure he had answered that prayer.
Suddenly I spied the notes and gathered them up. Now to find a place to sit, my feet were killing me. I had not received a handover for this patient; in fact. I hadn't even met him yet as I had missed seeing him being whisked into the side room. Glancing quickly over the notes, I was pleasantly surprised to see an entry saying the patient's church provided him with meals twice a week. As I made a mental note to ask him about his faith, I finished preparing the notes and stood up to go into the room. He was an oncology patient in his 80s with the cancer having recently spread to the larynx and was having trouble speaking above a whisper.
After introducing myself, I started the admission process. Vital signs were stable, and we were nearly up-to-date with all the risk assessments. 'I saw on your notes that your church does meals for you; are you a Christian?' I asked. His eyes lit up, 'Yes. So am I! What church do you go to?' He actually went to one I knew. When I mentioned the name of my church, he suddenly became excited and asked me if I knew a particular couple. I was so surprised when he said their names - it was my parents!
This man, this patient, who I could have so done without admitting that day turned out to be someone who had been praying for me all my life, despite having not seen me since I was a baby, having known my grandparents for many years. He and his late wife had prayed faithfully for many, many people for decades and our family - from my grandparents to my youngest cousin were among those blessed individuals. I was humbled and in awe of God's ways right there and then in that hospital side room with all the risk assessments and admission paperwork spread out across the table. God had done it. This man could have been admitted on any other day by any other nurse, but it was now, at this time, and I was there. God had answered my prayer, and in a way that I could never have dreamed.
I was staggered that God would bring a patient to me who had been praying for me my whole life on the day I asked him to show me his love and care. But why should I have been so astounded? This is our God. He cares for the sparrows - how much more for you?
And this beautiful occurrence is but a shadow of the astonishing truth that even at this very moment, Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the throne of God, praying for you. The glorified, risen Lord is praying for you.
If I was so encouraged to meet a fellow pilgrim who had prayed for me my whole life, how much greater joy is there in knowing and meeting with the one who has known and loved us since before the foundation of the earth and who prays for us at God's right hand! God answered my prayer. He is able to answer yours too.
Bethany Fuller is a Staff Nurse in Southern England