Today while scheduling work appointments I inadvertently dialed an old acquaintance instead of the intended recipient. I was initially frustrated when my old friend answered rather than the person I needed to talk to, thinking I did not have time for this.
I opted to tell the truth about the mistaken call and asked how he was doing. I was shocked to hear that he was doing okay, other than waiting to hear from the physician who would tell him whether or not he is a candidate for a liver transplant.
It seems he has non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver. I didn’t even know there is such a thing. After a few minutes of catching up, I told him I would be praying for him and that I would check on him in two days after he sees his physician to determine if he is going on a liver transplant list.
After the call I struggled to return to the work sitting before me. I was sorry for my initial irritation at being distracted. I thought about my promise to pray for him.
I’ve never had a serious illness, but I have seen it up close and experienced the grief of watching someone you love face a frightening health ordeal.
How easy it is to say, “I’ll pray for you.” I’ll add you to the list of needs, mostly my own, that I lift up to the Father and be done with it.
But what does God call us to do? My dear friend Nancy Scarbrough says we are never more Christ-like that when we enter into another person’s suffering.
I think I won’t wait until bedtime to pray for Gary. I’ll just stop right now and pray for him. And I am going to make that call on Friday. Perhaps I’ll even reach out to his sweet wife and tell her I am praying for her, and when the time comes, I’ll be there to help in any way that I can.
After all, my old friend opened the door for one of life’s greatest opportunities. To show love to a friend. To share his grief. And to pray for healing.