The Waiting Game

“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Much of life is spent waiting…….Waiting for something to end or something to start. We have all spent hours waiting in hospital rooms. Hoping for good news…..being prepared for the worst. In the case of old age or terminal illness, everything rests on the edge of one moment. One such moment was related to me yesterday. A close family friend who is also a Pastor was telling my Mom about waiting in the hospital room for his Mother-in-law to pass on.

Much had led up to this moment. Pastor Greg and his wife Ann, who several years ago had a bad stroke, had been caring for both of her parents. Due to Ann’s stroke the majority of the burden fell on Greg and it has been taxing to say the least.

Ann’s parents went to church, but didn’t want to hear anything about having a personal relationship with God. Greg had tried to talk to them before about spiritual things but they had made it clear that was “okay for Greg and Ann”, but not how they believed.” It was a mutual understanding and they got along fine, that was just how things were.

It was about 4 in the morning and Greg was alone in the room and beyond exhausted. Ann had gone home long before. It was just he and his Mother-in-law who looked like she was already gone from this world. Greg had His Bible and was alternately praying and dosing off. He heard a rustling noise coming from the bed and looked over. She was sitting straight up in bed! In Greg’s own words, “It was like a corpse sitting up!” Then she lay back down.

Awhile later he heard the rustling again……again, she was bolt upright in bed. Now he had been fervently praying that he would get another opportunity to talk with her, so he opened his Bible to the book of John. She lay back down again.

Once more the rustling……..once more she was sitting up and even looked somewhat coherent. He decided this may be his last opportunity, so he drew the chair to the side of the bed. To make a very long story short, they talked, he read from the book of John…..”I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live. John 5:24,25

They continued talking and he kept reading from John, explaining salvation and what it means. When he knew that she understood, he asked her if that would be something she would like to do, accept Jesus as savior. She said yes. Shortly thereafter, her waiting was over. She had passed from this life to the next.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 1:12

At her memorial, the Pastor asked Greg to speak. Since this was their own Pastor, Greg was somewhat taken aback. What would he say? The Father-in-law then piped up and said, “Why don’t you tell them what happened in the hospital room?” Greg was surprised by this, but he did tell the story, word for word, at the funeral. He told my Mom that you could have heard a pin drop while he was telling the story…..

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