As I sit in the emergency room holding my wife’s hand, waiting for the test results, I was reminded of the cold, sterile environment of the hospital. The constant sounds of medical equipment and the distant sounds coming from other rooms left us both wondering and praying for others as much as for my wife.
When the doctor came in to confirm what we already suspected, an appendectomy was needed, the flood of thoughts started. How urgent is the situation, how risky is the surgery, how long is the recovery and who will stay with the kids were all legitimate questions that left us with a sense of uncertainty.
One of the most lonely and uncertain times people face is when they are sick, in the hospital, facing surgery or other medical treatments. The uncomfortable reality is that not all medical situations turn out well. Chaplains, pastors and ministers know that this is a critical time when people need prayer, encouragement, hope and support.
The righteous asked, “’And when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to you?’ ‘And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to me.’” Matthew 25:39-40
As people of faith and especially as ordained and credentialed ministers we have a responsibility to visit those who are sick, in the hospital and facing unspeakable circumstances. In these situations we are ministers of hope, comfort and love when people need it the most. We have an opportunity to pray for healing, lead people to faith in Jesus and when appropriate provide pastoral counseling.
The direct recipient of the minister’s visit may be the sick person, but we should not neglect the family, friends and even the medical providers.
What should you expect, do and say when doing a hospital visitation? As non-denominational ministers we should be equipped to minister to people no matter their faith.
Hospital visitation is the topic for the upcoming minister’s conference call. This month we will be interviewing Rev. Tanya Wood and asking her to share about hospital chaplaincy. Rev. Wood was credentialed in 2009 and serves as a hospital chaplain and pastoral counselor. She has also just started blogging at http://steadfastcc.com
What questions would you like to ask Rev. Wood about hospital visitation, ministering to those who are sick or those who are grieving?
Post your questions in the comment section and I will use them as part of the interview.
Watch your email for the conference call details.
Blessings in Jesus,Dr. David M. SmuinPresidentwww.NCCChurch.org@DaveSmuinBlogging at http://pastordave.smuin.org