When I find myself telling a story over and over, I figure – it must be one worth sharing, and this is one I seem to tell frequently, so here goes…
It was probably about five years ago. I was working my normal 12-hour shift in ICU, and this particular day my patient was a 94-year-old woman who’d had a stroke that morning. (We’ll call her Norma, because I like that name 😉
Norma’s grandson had found her slumped over in a chair, and she was unable to move the right side of her body, her face drooped, and the words she attempted to mumble really didn’t make much sense. He called 911, and that’s when she came to me.
Norma’s family members stood vigilant in the hospital ICU room throughout the day as I whisked her out for medical procedures, and interrupted them over and over for frequent monitoring and neurological checks. Slowly, she seemed to be improving, and just a few hours before I was to go home, she nearly made a complete recovery – not something we saw very frequently!
Nearing the end of my shift, the cardiologist came to see Norma. With all of her kids and grandchildren around her ready to listen intently, the doctor stood at the foot of the bed listing all of the tests he felt she needed, and said that she could make an appointment to follow up with him in the next week at his office, to discuss all of these tests, lab draws, appointments, and plans.
Norma politely let the doctor finish saying all that he had to say, and then asked him to come closer, and stand next to her hospital bed. He smiled, as if he knew right where she was going with this. Her grandchildren moved out of the way as the doctor approached her closely. Norma took his badge in her hand and pulled it closer so that she could read it. Then, she looked at him with her sweet, borderline smart aleck smile, and said this:
“Listen Tom. Um, you don’t mind if I call you Tom – do you?”
The young cardiologist smiled and laughed. “No,” he said, “you can call me Tom.”
And then Norma told Dr. Tom, “Listen. I am 94 years old, and I have a hair appointment on Tuesday, and that is the only appointment I’ll be going to. Do you understand Tom?”
The doctor smiled and laughed with her, held onto her hand real tight, looked her straight in the eyes and responded, “Yes, I think that’s just fine, Norma. That’s just fine.”
I never forgot that day, and neither did the cardiologist. In fact, Tom and I laughed about it every single time we shared a patient over the years that followed.
I often think about Norma. Norma knew Jesus, and that’s the only reason she had the peace that she did at the age of 94. In that short 12 hour shift, and very little of it when Norma was able to express herself and I was able to understand her, she made sure I understood that her peace came from knowing Christ, and being confident in His FINISHED work on the Cross. She knew she was going to spend eternity with God in heaven when her time came – not because of anything she had done, but because of what Christ had done.
I have watched a lot of people die during my nursing career in both ICU and hospice, and when someone is tormented over wondering whether or not they’ve done enough good deeds – it has always made my heart ache to think that they don’t really believe what Christ did was enough.
It was enough. He said so, I believe Him, and I wish you would too.
“Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.” Genesis 15:6
“For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Romans 4:3