One of the privileges and responsibilities of a pastor is to visit people in the hospital. My goal is to encourage the patient and family when I go to visit them. I often read a verse from the Bible and always pray with the patient and their family.
However, I think there should be a rule that requires everyone from a specific church to use the same hospital! I spend many hours on the freeways of LA visiting people in hospitals from Redlands to Santa Monica and from Pasadena to New Port Beach! I have even driven to San Diego to see someone receiving critical medial care.
When I see the look on their faces and the tone in their voice, I know they are glad to see me and that they appreciate the time I have spent coming to see them.
Sometimes it is hard to find the patient in the hospital. On some occasions, new mothers use their maiden name when having a baby. In some cases, people simply use a different name when they are in the hospital. It can be hard to find people and pastors learn to become persistent when searching for their parishioners!
But, even when you have the right name and the right room number, it can still be difficult to find a patient in a hospital. Many older hospitals are like a maze in a corn field. Hallways go in different directions, signs and numbers are hard to read and elevators only serve certain floors. I have heard that some pastors have gotten so lost in hospitals and that they are never found again!
Recently, I was looking for a patient at the City of Hope in Duarte. I was given the room number and general directions on how to get there. However, as I wandered down several corridors in an older part of the hospital, I realized I was lost. Which hallway was I supposed to follow? Did they say to go left or right? Was it the first hallway on the left or the second hallway on the right?
As I stood near a nurse’s station, a nice woman wearing a white lab coat asked me if I needed help. She must have noticed the confused look on my face. When I said “yes” and told her what rooom I was looking for, she politely explained that I was in the wrong ward.
To my surprise, she insisted on taking me to the room I was looking for. I was amazed that she was willing to abruptly leave a meeting she was involved in to personally help me find the room and the patient. She sympathized with my dilemma and said that people often get lost or confused finding rooms in this older part of the hospital. With her help I found the room and person I was looking for!
Several passages in the Bible (Mark 6:34 / I Peter 2:25) refer to us as sheep who have gone astray. Sheep tend to wander away from the shepherd and get lost as they search for green grass. The lost sheep need a shepherd to find them, guard them and guide them. King David said in Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd…he makes me lie down in green pastures and he guides me to still waters”.
We need to remember that there are times when will we need the help of others to find our way whether through confusing hospital corridors and in broader areas of life. And, we also need to remember that there are people all around us that need our help finding their way, too.
The Bible says that we are all lost sheep and that we all need a shepherd. You can read more about the “Good Shpeherd” in the gospel of John chapter 10 and in Psalm 23.
Let me encourage you to be more willing to stop what you are doing and give help or directions to those around you. There may even be a pastor who has lost his way and needs your help! You will be glad you did and he will too!
Pastor Mark Hopper
efree Church of Diamond Bar
3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd
Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM