Our church care group leader stepped down from leadership a few months ago for health reasons , but continued to attend our meetings.
Just before Christmas he finally had the operation he had been waiting for… double bypass and valve repair – a five hour surgery.
Last Sunday morning in church he told us his story !
In his hospital room, he asked the nurse prepping him for surgery, how many people would be involved in the operation. The nurse replied that there would be a team of six doctors plus the support staff.
When he was wheeled into the operating room, he looked around and saw that the room was full. From his prone position he wasn’t sure he could see them all but he counted at least 12 people.
In no time there were four IV trees set up and a nurse stood by ready with a needle in her hand.
Looking up at the anaesthetist, he asked, “Can we slow things down a little? May I say something?”
“Sure!” she agreed.
Bill said, “I want to tell you a story … In India there was a guru who was highly respected because he could answer any question put to him. Any young person aspiring to be a guru himself.. had to come up with a question that the old guru could not answer .
One young man , in conversing with a friend, spoke about his desire to be a guru. The friend asked.. “Have you thought of a question the guru could not answer?”
“Not yet,” replied the young man.
Some time later he came to his friend to say, “I have thought of a question.”
“What is it?” his friend inquired.
“No, no.. I can’t tell you what it is or you will tell someone else and the old guru could hear of it and then know the answer.”
The next day the young man climbed the mountain to see the old guru. When he had found him he said, “I have a question."
The guru indicated he was ready to hear it.
The young man held out his hand closed into a fist and asked, “What do I have in my hand?”
The guru though a minute and answered .. “A bird!”
“Right, “ answered the young man .. “but the question is, is it alive or dead?”
The guru replied thoughtfully, “If I say it is dead , you will open your hand and it will fly away… If I say it is alive you will squeeze your hand and then open it to show that it is dead.”
By this time several of the surgical staff had drawn closer to Bill's bed , listening to his story.
Pausing in his story, he looked up into the faces of the group of people around him and asked… “So…. do you know the answer to the question?”
The anaesthetist said .. “Aren’t you going to tell us the answer?”
Bill said.. “Yes.. Ok.. I will tell you the answer to the question.”
The answer is .. “It is all in your hand!"
Bill continued... "Just as it is now. I am a man of faith.. I believe in prayer.. and now all is in YOUR hands just as we all are in God’s hand."
The anaesthetist said, . “I have never heard a story like that !”
Bill told us the reason that it was important to him to speak of his faith , even in the operating room,
He is now in his eighties and his life long guiding verse has been I Peter 3:15
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defence to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.”
All his life he has tried to be faithful to this verse… seizing every opportunity that presents itself for him to share the reason for his faith, in weakness and in strength.
I would really like to know what the conversation about that heart patient was when the surgery was over .. or even if the atmosphere in the operating room was different … We’ll probably never know.
I was blessed by Bill’s story, and it reminded me to be more careful to watch for those , sometimes fleeting moments that present themselves with opportunity to say something to point people to the God in whom I trust !