Phone in pocket buzzed in the middle of the preaching. A call from the emergency room. Excused myself quietly and answered it in the parking lot. The patient, whom I hadn't seen before, was a 20-something man who had a massive tumor in his thigh. Had a feeling this wasn't a simple case from the get-go. BP was palpatory, breathing was labored, body was cachectic. Decided to see him in the afternoon, after church, but via phone call added strong antibiotics and urgent instructions to the doctor on duty.
Normally, Sunday drives relax me. The roads are empty. The afternoon shadows cast by trees that line the highway are a thing of beauty. But that Sunday, the ER call felt like an interruption. Been looking forward to rest, you see, as if I deserved it—an afternoon nap, a quiet time with a book, a steady anticipation of my brother's announcement to the household that the cookies are ready. Asked the Lord for forgiveness at my selfishness as I drove for an hour, praying for this yet-unknown patient's healing. The patient's mother was grateful for my arrival. Despite the N95 and the stifling PPE and the sweat, spoke with the patient, then, away from the young man, with the family who knew they might lose him soon. What to tell his mother, brother, and sister on this time of desperation? That the man was critical. We'd do our best to help him, with no promises of sure recovery. Drove back to Marbel with a heavy heart. It was almost 3:30. The day was winding down. Pain and suffering abound in the world. Remembered the preaching that morning—the Emmanuel, God with us. In our sorrow and grief, dying for our sins to satisfy His Father's justice, so we may live.