I do not like hospitals. When I was 10 years old, my fit and healthy dad, in his early 30s, was a passenger in a small plane crash where four people were killed and four others, including my dad, survived. I remember going to see him after the crash in hospital. He had wires, tubes and bandages all over him and his face was barely recognisable. This picture is still vivid in my mind, and the reason I don’t like hospitals.
I also love hospitals. Although I don’t understand all the technology used in modern surgery or the various medications, I love the fact that hospitals are there to care for the injured, treat the sick and give hope and healing.
Having been a patient in a hospital a few times I know the anxiety injury and illness brings. Humans need comfort and support during these stressful times. We think of the real and deep issues of life and what it means to be human—our purpose and mortality. This is where volunteer hospital visitation can have impact. Chaplains can also provide spiritual care and support when it is needed most.
God is a God of comfort. He understands our anxieties and is there to support us. That support often comes in the form of other humans. The apostle Paul wrote to the people of Corinth, “For when we came into Macedonia, this body of ours had not rest . . . conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you had given him . . .” (2 Corinthians 7:5-7 NIV). Are you and I like Titus? Have we experienced God’s comfort in our time of need so we can comfort others in their time of need? Disciples of Jesus can minister comfort wherever they go.