(May 14, 2019) Robert and Maureen McQuillan reflect on one of those unexpected ‘what’s going on’ times…
So… a fortnight ago we had such great interest in something we shared briefly on Facebook. As it links with articles we’ve posted recently about being bold and flowing with the Holy Spirit, we’re running it here too… but with some additional comments.
Really it begins as ‘a Robert incident’… as you’ll immediately realise (He may begin tongue-in-cheek as it were but do note that it’s an encouragement to rise above our circumstances, die to self, and bless others as we allow the Spirit to use us) –
So… For me that Wednesday was a case of ‘So…’ hospital incidents – ‘So…’ followed by other ‘so-es!’ How often people loosely use that little word ‘So…’ as they begin a tale! Actually it’s a word that has several applications – one, when used loosely as a sentence-initial to the words following, uniquely makes the connection more conceptual than grammatical.
‘So…’ conceive (imagine, vision) the following scenarios…
- So… after much fiddling around, several phone calls, cancelations/reschedulings I finally get confirmation of a booking for a minor operation/biopsy – but I must be chauffeured!
- So… my bro-in-law, Life4Kids’ Ken Gardiner, kindly escorts me to a hospital some distance away, one I’ve never been to before.
- So… the receptionist says, ‘So we’re running quite late, Robert. So you’ll be here for some six to eight hours.’ Duh! I think (but with a weak ‘Christian’ smile at the receptionist).
- So… as Maureen is expecting me home earlier than that time frame, I ask Ken to phone her the latest.
- So… Ken goes off to phone – and also to the local shopping precinct intending to chattily converse with strangers in his usual ever-so-affable way, finding openings of bringing Jesus into the conversation.
- So… meantime back at the ranch (the waiting area) I relax with several others. But suddenly, unexpectedly, I begin to feel queasy with troubling chest palpitations and some pressure.
- So… after advising reception I’ve had heart trouble and a stent inserted, I find myself promptly whisked ahead of others to a special ward and within minutes I’m lying on my back in bed awaiting examination, stabbings by a few needles, blood pressure reading taken, heartbeat checked… and so on.
- So… lots of questions, questions; It’s all go, go, go as I’m checked and double checked!
- So… the trainee nurse pricks one of my fingers for a sugar level reading and exclaims. ‘It’s far too low!’ My sleepy eyes open wide as with some new concern I think, ‘Oh, what next? This is all new. What’s happening to me now?’
- So… the tiny pretty Asian trainer nurse checks his findings and smiles. ‘But you’re using the wrong checker! Try this one.’
- So… My sugar level comes up all right and I breathe easy once more, reminding myself that the Lord’s in charge – even if sometimes he seems to be delaying procedures and clearances!
- So… now I feel so sleepy, as if I’ve been given the before-the-op injection… and I doze off.
- So… I’m abruptly awakened by a doctor and it’s more questions. Then, after more research, it’s decided that the op will be deferred until I see another specialist. So… I should now lie still for a while.
A ‘suddenly’ moment…
So… are you getting the connection, the conceptional picture? So much time has gone by, queries about this and that, uncertainties, minor op deferred and more. And… so I’m left alone to commiserate myself.
So… now I’m lying sleepily in hospital, heart beginning to pound again, BP rising?, taking tablets, wondering and praying, ‘What’s going on, Lord? My trust is in you, I believe in 1 Peter 2:24 and know that you’re looking after me. But why all this? Why am I here if the op isn’t going to happen? Why all this…’
Suddenly I realise something! The penny drops!
I had been attended to by the most precious little HK nurse (HK? From Hong Kong!). Earlier I had commented on her beautiful accent, how different, how rich, how soft, how pleasant it was. And she had smiled a winning relaxing smile. You don’t need to know her real name but… let’s just call her Wei (meaning precious, valuable – which she is!)…
Now, although my head is slanted, I notice this little stranger is moving away, into another ward and I’m sensing God giving me an encouraging prophetic word for her. For a stranger? Yes, why not? Doesn’t 3 John1:5 encourage us for reaching out to others ‘…even though they are strangers to you.’
Strangers can be brothers and sisters in Christ as John mentioned in this verse – or outsiders! In any case, I’m now forgetting about myself, I’m coming awake, dying to self and my woes, and being sensitive to the Holy Spirit! Will Wei come back, I wonder… and so I wait, forcing my eyes to keep open. Time goes on with me still lying flat on the bed and squinting sidewards out of my tired eyes, fighting sleep, praying that she’ll come back.
She does – finally. So – as she reenters the ward her eye catches mine and with my finger I indicate that I want her over. When Wei reaches me, smiling preciously and expecting me to share a need, I surprise her by somehow reaching up over the rail and taking her hand and saying quietly and gently, ‘I just want you to know that in my heart I sense this about you…’
No church jargon!
So… not using churchy-jargon ‘super spit’ lingo I softly share some words of knowledge about her, her abilities, her persona and encouragement that causes her bright smile to widen even more as she looks down at this stranger lying flat on his back in that hospital bed yet touching her life. Tears began to flow down her beaming face; her eyes smile behind the large round glasses.
Get more of this picture… it’s not a church altar call, it’s simply me allowing the Holy Spirit to demonstrate some of his 1 Corinthians 12 supernatural gifts through me! I hadn’t been preaching and she’s come forward to a church altar call line! I had simply believed I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to forget about me, to die to self and my situation and to move in some of his gifts to bless a stranger.
(Maureen and I call this ‘Marketplace Ministry’! In fact, we’re considering renaming our ministry JMM – Jesus Marketplace Ministries!)
Now I haven’t been ‘religious’ with Wei but for some reason out-of-the-blue she whispers something about trusting God. ‘God?’ I query. ‘Do you know him, Wei, really know him personally?’ I ask quietly, immediately knowing that here is a sister-in-Christ, not a mere stranger!
We roll on from there… and only now do I mention that I’m a minister as is my wife, Maureen. Wei’s eyes open even wider and we share further about Jesus and his caring for us. Wei remarks on how I was ‘spot-on’ with those words of knowledge and accompanying prophecy. No, I say, I wasn’t… but God was! I pray again for her… for the peace of the Holy Spirit to flow all over her, and that she will know her authority in Christ.
The op doesn’t happen as I’m considered not on top form – but the Spirit used me, sharpening me up when I was feeling sorry for myself! Cutting to the chase, Wei shares about her faith, her ministry in her great Chinese church and how some members in her group (immature Christians to me) are causing her concern.
So… (yet another ‘So…’!), still lying flat in the bed I take her hand again and after sharing some ministry counselling I pray for her, for more of the Spirit, for that those causing trouble, for her group, even for her church and her pastor (all ‘strangers’ to me!). Interestingly no other hospital staff come over, not even pass by… we have a special quiet time with each other and with God!
Wei’s reason for my strange hospital season
Hebrews 13:2 reminds us not forget to entertain strangers… I hadn’t ‘entertained’ Wei in some secular way but spiritually and encouragingly. Suddenly she was encouraging me as with a big smile, she says so seriously, ‘Robert, you may have been in some discomfort coming here – but God brought you here today just for me.‘
Yeah, I thought… all a God thing, not a Robert thing! God has his timings… and can use us wherever he wishes… and in his way – if we’re open, willing and quick to twig on! Now I relax and smile warmly, asking that Ken be phoned to pick me up and I could get home to Maureen and share all this with both them over some dinner.
Point: As we’ve posted here before… any time, any where, any old how, if we’re willing, we can be a blessing to others, Christian or not! Now we have yet another new HK friend, PTL, another assurance that God will use us supernaturally anywhere – if we’re willing to move boldly in the Spirit. Folk, even strangers, will get blessed… and many times we too in return.
O yes, dying to self… that Luke 9:22 scripture. There will be times when we may be in a ‘Woe is me. What’s going on, why me Lord?’ situation and be called on to die to self! Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians13:4 Message: ‘Love cares more for others than for self.’ Now we may not consider ourselves anything special but if we’re open to the Spirit, anything can happen… we can be a blessing – even when we’re ‘kind of out of it’ and feeling not up-to-it lying on a hospital bed! When we boldly God-given opportunities to bless someone we might get thanked but Jesus gets the glory… and that’s what it’s all about!
So (an important ‘So’), please note, the above is not a ‘self-boast’! No way! Whatever we do for, and to honour, Jesus doesn’t make us ‘someone extra special’… just humble servants not ego-boasting in any way! Yet servants with something to share that will – should – encourage others to dare to be bold… all with the Holy Spirit’s help!
‘Nuff said. Let’s all be quick to follow those inner Holy Spirit leadings and bring joy to others.
Dr Robert and Maureen McQuillan’s link is email@example.com / Facebook (Scripture and other emphases in this Onliner ours). Relating links: Carol Round’s Don’t Let Fear / George Forbes’ Open Door / Jim McClure’s Cost of Discipleship
So! (Yes, yet another ‘So…’) — last week my wife Eveline was in hospital for a ‘one day’ procedure, So… when it turned out to be more complex than expected she was admitted to a ward for several days, So! unknown to Eveline in that ward and in the opposite bed was another lady from our ‘home’ church who was in need of encouragement, So… guess who the Lord used to bring encouragement? Yes, Eveline! God’s ways are so amazing! Thanks for reminding us, Robert and Maureen… your article was so timely.
Thank you, Brian… and Eveline. So… (that sentence-initial yet again!) we’re confident that Eveline really blessed ladies in that ward. Your comment confirms you got it — that is, the heart of our blog which was simply an encouragement to allow ourselves to be used by the Holy Spirit anywhere God has us whether we feel on top or not, understand the ‘Whys’ or not. It all brings glory to God and honours Jesus. Of interest… we were disappointed to hear from one reader who evidently thought I was boasting(Me… boasting? No way, ever) and quoted us a misinterpretation of Matthew 6:1-4! The whole point of our sincere encouragement (opened tongue-in-cheek!) was obviously missed! No… like you guys we all should seek to bless others, whether Christian or not, thus blowing a trumpet for Jesus not ourselves! Blessings.
So right Robert! Whatever we do for the Lord (he may use us in the ‘foreground’ as he does you and Maureen, or in the ‘background’) it is for his glory — unfortunately those who he may use in the foreground risk being misread and or misunderstood — it’s a risk worth taking to let our light shine and encourage others but it leads to the Lord Jesus. So — keep on encouraging!