Faith Story from a Frontliner
As all of you know, we have been battling this pandemic for the past 1.5 years, surge after surge, wave after wave. I haven’t been home to KL to see family in 1.5 years because I feared that I would unknowingly bring the covid infection home. This meant I had to see mum battle lung cancer last year while I stayed in Kota Kinabalu to work. There were times where I could not help but ask God so many questions. Why this? Why now? When will this end? And what is your purpose for me in all of this?
Work has not only been at times physically draining, but also mentally and emotionally. The hospital beds are full, with many more waiting for beds and care. And sometimes, it gets to the point that every patient that I see is just another case that we have to treat and get out of the hospital as soon as possible, so that there’s a bed for the hundreds that are waiting for a bed. Breaking bad news of the impending death, or death, or the futility of our treatment has become so rote that sometimes I forget, that behind every patient is a person with a story, with a family.
I was struggling the past few weeks with what others may term as bordering on the verge of burn out; I was tired physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually questioning God’s plans and purpose at this point in my life. But, every once in a while, God gives us little reminders that He’s still working, and that He’s still in a picture.
Not too long ago, I had a frail old lady come into my ward with a severe lung infection and was critically ill. Her condition worsened over the course of a few days, and we knew that she would likely succumb to her illness. As usual, I arranged to meet with her children to break the bad news. I met with her son and her husband who was about 90 years old. He was half deaf, using a makeshift hearing aid, sitting on a wheelchair.
It was a long process, as the 90 year old uncle insisted that he be told of what was going on, and that he would play a part in making treatment decisions concerning his wife. I remember feeling impatient as I had to speak very loudly, and had to repeat myself over and over again into the mike portion of his hearing aid so that he could hear and understand what I said. But somewhere midway during the conversation, the Holy Spirit poked at me, and told me to be patient. Uncle finally understood, and it was decided that letting her pass in peace was the best for her. Due to the pandemic, visitors are not allowed to visit patients. So all I could do was to arrange for a video conference with for her family to see her for the last time. With tears in his eyes, uncle told me that he misses his wife very much as he hadn’t seen her in a week. Then he looked me in the eye and asked if I was a Christian. I said “Yes”. He asked me to hold her hands while I was with her, and to tell her that she was going back to her heavenly home. I did as uncle asked.
The video conference with her family, although was filled with sorrow, also had an underlying sense of peace. I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in the room at that moment.
It was also God telling me that He is enough, and that I am where I need to be at this current moment, doing what I am supposed to do, and that’s all that matters. For that encounter, I am truly thankful.