God’s Divine Appointments

March 01, 2010

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope," (Jeremiah 29:11).

Loud crying was the first indication of Jillian's arrival in the Emergency department. The registration staff member called for assistance: "There is a lady who is wailing so loud, we can't get any information. Please help!"

Sitting in a chair, rocking back and forth with her hands over her face, Jillian was crying hysterically, "Why, why?" she asked as Julie Alvarez, registered nurse, gently escorted her back to a stretcher in the department, and the sobbing gradually turned to intermittent gasps. Alvarez held Jillian's hand and asked, "Would you like to talk?"

Jillian shared her story of personal tragedy — the death of her father, divorce, loss of custody of her children, her mother's recent cancer diagnosis, loss of jobs, depleted savings and, today, no money and no food. She had visited the local food bank and, sobbing as she drove home, she passed the local hospital and thought, "Maybe there is someone inside who could help me."

Alvarez hesitantly asked if she'd ever attended church.

Jillian said she had become a Christian 12 years earlier. Alvarez asked if she could tell one of her favorite Bible stories. Jillian nodded, and listened to how God provided for Elijah, a widow and her son in the midst of a famine.

"I said ‘Jillian, God loves you just as much,'" Alvarez recalls.

Jillian replied, "You're right. I need to remember that God loves me and that I do have hope for the future."

"At this, I felt impressed to offer to pray with her," says Alvarez. "She eagerly agreed. We bowed our heads and talked to God about the troubles in her life. Then Jillian hugged me, saying, ‘God brought me to you tonight.'"

After the physician examined Jillian, he said, "You fixed her!"

"No," Alvarez remembers responding, "God fixed her. I just got to help."

"The amazing thing to me was that I wasn't scheduled to work that shift. I was a last-minute fill-in — but I was there just when Jillian needed me," Alvarez adds.

The story of divine appointments, sacred work and prayer is an adapted excerpt from the Adventist Health devotional book Our Stories: Glimpses from Adventist Health. The book, featured in the October 2009 GLEANER, is a collection of inspiring stories written by caregivers themselves. To read more, please visit http://adventisthealth.com/aboutus/images/AH_Devotional_Book_final.pdf