The elderly man sitting next to his wife in the wheelchair in the hospital waiting room was tall and very slender. He had driven a truck for 40 years until a stroke he suffered made it impossible for him to continue to work. In that 40 years he and his wife had bought a home, raised their children, paid their bills and taxes and done everything they could to set a good example for their children. Despite his health issues they had continued to make ends meet.
Six months earlier the doctor in the small town clinic where they lived told the man that his wife likely had breast cancer. They sent her to a regional medical facility where the diagnosis was confirmed.Because of the man’s disability and discharge from his job they no longer had health insurance for his wife. Suddenly they were faced with the reality that his wife needed treatment to save her life – treatment they could not afford. After many failed attempts to obtain assistance they were ultimately told by the small regional hospital that they could not treat the woman any further. There was nothing they could do.
The couple returned home and his wife grew more ill with each passing day. Devastated and with nowhere left to turn the elderly gentleman left his sick wife resting at home one Sunday morning and slipped into a pew at the back of their small town church just hoping to find some relief from the feelings of despair.
At the end of the sermon that morning the Pastor said he felt there was someone there who had something they needed to share. As the soft music continued to play the elderly gentleman suddenly found himself rising from his seat and slowly making his way down the aisle toward the front of the congregation.
As he neared the front he wondered “what in the world will I say”. He never spoke in front of groups. He was terrified. As he turned to face the crowd he thought his knees might give way. But as he began to speak in an uneasy tone about the life he and his wife had lived and the situation he now found himself in his voice soon became filled with strength.
He told the Church it was hard for him to understand why they had worked all their lives, raised their children and always taken care of their business and now when he needed help for his ailing wife there was nothing he could do save her. He prayed daily to God for strength and help. As tears streamed down his face he said it was almost unbearable to think of life without his wife. He didn’t know where else to turn.
After some comforting words from the Pastor and prayer from the congregation the elderly man excused himself to the bathroom to dry his eyes and steady himself. As he emerged from the bathroom the Pastor said there was someone who was visiting in the congregation that day who wanted to speak with him. The visitor told the elderly man she was very moved by his story and wanted to help him. She said she couldn’t make any promises but gave him a phone number and asked that he call the next day.
The call the elderly gentleman made the next day started the wheels in motion that would deliver an answer to his prayers. The stranger who was visiting by chance in the congregation worked at M.D. Anderson hospital. The stranger arranged for his wife's care at one of the leading cancer treatment centers in the world – free of charge. His wife had been delivered from certain death by a divine appointment in a small town gathering of God's people.
The story was a reminder to me that when we don’t know where to turn WE WILL ALWAYS FIND GOD IN THE MOST EXPECTED OF PLACES.