Walking into a person’s crisis is an intimate experience.
The pain of suffering is exasperated when met with the unknown. Fear increases when we do not have answers. Some environments are prone to more waiting and questioning and therefore fear. A hospital is a place of questions, waiting, hoping, and longing for comfort. As we minister to people in the hospital, we need to help them find the hope they need. We can bring the gap between what is unknown and uneasy to what is certain and peaceful.
Over the last two days, I’ve been in two hospitals with two families in our church. As I walked into the hospital, I prayed, God, please give me the right words… your words…
I’ve been visiting people in the hospital for as long as I’ve been a pastor— over a decade and a half. The ministry of presence is real, but it must always be coupled with a ministry of the Word.
Below are passages I find helpful for almost any type of hospital visit.
To Provide Security When Facing the Unknown
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Sela
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
For Building Hope When Feeling Hopeless
2 Corinthians 4:16–18
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
1 Peter 1:3–5
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
Facing Fear and Trusting God
fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
1 Peter 5:7
casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Security for Believers When Facing Death
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
1 Corinthians 15:55–56
“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.