As I’ve mentioned on a number of occasions, God has apparently called me to be a missionary to the medical community in Reno. Due to my frequent visits for both emergency and chronic medical conditions, I have repeated opportunities to share the Gospel with medical personnel in our city. I have now shared my Covid-19 thank you letter and Gospel presentation with more than 30 medical workers since the beginning of this crisis.
Yesterday was another one of those opportunities—this time a surgery scheduled to clean out the now infected wound from an Achilles tendon repair six weeks ago.
I began the day in the Word and prayer. I read the story of Jesus’ divine appointment with the Woman at the Well in John 4. For some reason, I was incredibly moved at the point in verse 42 when Jesus revealed He Himself was the Messiah she had just spoken about—the one she hoped would make sense of all the confusion between her Samaritans and His Jews.
The woman was so moved herself that she forgot her water pot–and the whole reason she had gone out to the well in the first place–to go share the news with her fellow Samaritans back in Sychar.
So I prayed for the filling of the Holy Spirit. I also prayed that the Lord would arrange a divine appointment for me with someone who was as thirsty spiritually as the Woman at the Well.
He answered that prayer, and then some!
What I suspected and had suggested turned out to be true. If there is a silver lining to the Covid-19 epidemic, it’s this—it’s ripening fruit for the spiritual harvest.
So as I left for the hospital, I grabbed about eight copies of my Covid-19 thank you letter and Gospel presentation.
However, the morning began with a bit of a thud. The assistant who was screening for Covid-19 exposure quickly brushed aside my attempt to give her the letter with a “No!” All she saw was the “Thank You!” She had no knowledge of its spiritual content. Maybe she was too busy, or just didn’t think what she was doing was all that special. I’ll never know.
However, I persisted with others. I gave a copy to the lady who escorted me to my pre-op room. Moments later she would return to give me a very heartfelt thank you. It indeed felt as though the letter had been living water poured upon a thirsty soul!
However, God wasn’t done yet.
I distributed several more letters to various attendants. Then, my remaining letters were whisked away with the rest of my personal belongings. My primary pre-op nurse showed up. Jodi was a wonderful young mother of three little girls. After she hooked me up to my IV, she proceeded to ask me the standard questions she asked of all patients. One of those was, “Do you have any religious preferences?” I answered, “I’m a Christian.” Then I asked, “How about you?”
She answered with a very enthusiastic “Yes!”
So I asked her my favorite question: “So, if you were to die tonight and meet God at heaven’s gate, and He asked you why He should let you in, what would you say?”
Although she had occasionally attended a large evangelical church in our area, her answer was typical for many who believe they’re Christians, but might not be: “Well, I’ve been a good person.”
I kindly explained to her that if she were depending on herself, she was putting her trust in the wrong place. Using a few Scriptures, I briefly explained to her where her trust needs to be—in Jesus and Jesus alone. All this happened in the course of a totally friendly conversation that had absolutely no hint of any tension whatsoever. She seemed to accept my correction, and we went on to talk about her horse, children, and husband. She wanted to know where our church met, and as it turns out, she, too, lives in Spanish Springs. She indicated I might be seeing her there sometime in the future.
Soon thereafter, my anesthesiologist showed up. In my vast experience with surgeries, this visit is always very short and to the point with the question “Have you ever had problems with anesthesia?” I had no intention of trying to squeeze a Gospel presentation into the discussion. However, I did want to express my heartfelt gratitude for his service in this time of crisis.
He responded that he especially appreciated my gratitude in light of the fact that the next morning, he was flying to New Jersey to help in the healthcare disaster that was taking place there.
Whoa! I was suddenly so moved by concern for him, as well as appreciation for his willingness to risk his life for others, that I had to say something. So I blurted out, “Do you know where you’re going?” I had intended to add “when you die” to the question, but somehow those words, in the spur of the moment, didn’t make the cut.
He replied with something along these lines: “I’m just hoping I don’t come out of there in a body bag!”
At that point, my Gospel presentation became very compressed: “Just remember this one thing—Christ died for your sins.” Yes, I did elaborate a little, and he politely listened.
Then he engaged a little: “I’m not religious, but I am spiritual, and I know the difference between the two.”
I might be wrong, but when someone who doesn’t claim to be a Christian says he’s “spiritual,” it often means he’s open to many different, and sometimes errant, spiritual influences.
So I addressed that with him. I told him that not every spiritual influence is a good one. I then explained that he needed to follow the one true living God, and that Jesus is that God. And that if you get the wrong God, or the wrong way to God, you go to the wrong place. Then I quoted Jesus from Matthew 7:15: “Beware of false prophets, they come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.”
A bit surprisingly, he said he was aware of that and agreed.
So I concluded our quick conversation with what seemed most appropriate: “Why don’t you read the Bible for yourself?”
Then he had to be about his business, which very shortly, would be me.
All I could do was hope that I had planted a seed.
An hour or so later, as I was just barely waking up in the recovery room, I became aware of someone’s presence next to my bed. It was my anesthesiologist, and these were his words:
“I’ve decided to follow your advice.”
Now, as never before, people are willing to hear, and to find out the Truth for themselves.