As soon as I stepped into Jamal's room, I felt the hopelessness. I'd taken care of him before; he was waiting for a lung transplant. That day he was very, very sick--on oxygen, struggling to breathe. His wife and two young children weren't even allowed to see him.
He was propped upright in order to get as much air as possible. His head hung awkwardly to one side as he gasped for air. Instinctively I fluffed his pillows and repositioned him trying to make him more comfortable in some. He mouthed a breathless "Thank you." As I did his assessment I tried to figure out how I could possibly relate to him. He was in such need, but he seemed so out of reach.
“How are you doing today?” It was actually a senseless question, but it was the only thing that came to my mind.
“My wife, my children. I’m worried.” Surely he couldn’t talk much. What could I do to carry the whole conversation?
“Can I tell you a story?” He nodded. “You know I’m a Christian, so I only have Christian stories to tell.”
“Yah,” he nodded weakly.
I had to see other patients right away, but I patted his arm and told him I would tell him a story later.
I was so busy I didn’t see him the rest of the morning. My buddy nurse covered Jamal’s call for me, but Jamal didn’t want to see her. As I returned to the floor, I got the smirky message, “Room 263 wants you. Only you.”
I rushed to his room to see what the problem was. “The story?” he mouthed, almost silently. My memory jogged; I really had forgotten.
I laughed with relief, “You really want to hear?” “Yah.”
With his prognosis, an impossible case unless he received a lung transplant, I prayed instantly for what the Lord wanted him to hear. The story of the woman with an issue of blood came to mind I instantly. How strange, I thought, to share it with a young Middle Eastern male. But I launched into the story and watch God provide the details.
“This woman had been losing blood for twelve years. She had spent all her life savings on every possible cure, on countless doctors. They couldn’t do anything for her. She left another visit to the doctor that day weak, hopeless, and out of money. As she was reaching home she saw a group of her neighbors celebrating--some who had been blind could now see, others who couldn’t walk were running around! One man who hadn’t been able to speak all his life was talking!! They told her ‘Jesus is in the neighborhood, if you go to Him, He can heal you too!’
"Oh, Jamil," I continued, realizing he was fully engaged. "Hope welled up inside of her. She decided to find him. She wanted healing so much.”
I noticed the expression on Jamal’s face change. He reached out with his eyes, his face was the picture of anticipation. He motioned for me to go on. I prayed silently as I proceeded, knowing the Lord could touch him as well.
The television was on in his room, showing a clip of the pilgrims in Makkah circling the Kabba in an enormous, pressing crowd. I wondered out loud what it must feel like to be in such a crowd.
“So many people were pressing around Jesus that it looked impossible how she could ever come within reach of Him. She decided if she could just get close enough to touch His garment maybe that would be enough.”
I explained to him that Jesus knew her heart’s desire just like Jesus knew his. “He knows you are worried because you don’t know what will happen. He knows you are concerned about your wife, your children.” He nodded.
So I kept going. “To her astonishment, Jesus began moving in her direction. Oh, if only He would be close enough to touch His garment. The press of the crowd almost seemed to shove her towards him, as clumsy as she was. She was almost within reach. She reached out, but it was quite close enough. He moved. She moved. Her hand reached out and the rough edge of his garment caught in her grasp. Instantly, she knew something had changed within her. She dared not think it, but it was real. She was healed! Jesus stopped. He asked who had touched Him.
“Feeling suddenly exposed, she tried to slip away. How could she explain her shame in public? But He’d asked. She hesitated. And then her sad story tumbled out, her face red with embarrassment as everyone stared down at her. But listen, Jesus was talking to her now. His voice was kind. He commended her desire. He affirmed her faith. He accepted her!”
I stood by there by Jamal's bedside a moment, knowing my patient needed time to think. Finally I asked quietly, “Do you believe that Jesus can heal you?” I knew it was a risky question.
The silence wasn't long. “Yes,” he answered clearly. My heart soared with praise to the Lord and the assurance that God would reward his simple faith. "Yes, I believe."
Soon after that touching exchange, Jamal received a lung transplant. He recovered quickly. He went home to his family. And he's sent me photos of his children huddled around him, his young boy hanging on his back! He even came and visited the hospital one day to express his gratefulness!
But more important to me, he tells me he reads the daily devotionals and listens to the inspirational songs I send out each morning to my friends; he messages that they are such a blessing to him. I send him helpful information about the eight natural remedies, about a Christ-centered marriage and family life. He tells me I am his sister because I prayed for him and helped him.
God has been very good to him. I am assured God is in the process of becoming very real to him too. Jamal will not forget what God has done for him, and God will always be there. --LS