Helping others?

The Doctor's Life Support for 19 August

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ.

Galatians 6: 2

Each morning we medical students gathered around this particular patient. He made us feel confident in finding our feet in following Jesus Christ. But then, he had been following Jesus for a long time! His kindness and quiet confidence were an inspiration to us all. He had a malignant lymphoma, presently in remission after chemotherapy, but he was fully aware of his prognosis. He smiled at us and told us of other patients he had talked to about Jesus. Several were interested, and some had become his personal friends. He asked us to pray for them and he enquired about our personal needs for prayer. He made little reference to himself but, in a quiet moment, he led in prayer for all the patients and staff in the ward. We left feeling light-hearted, as though burdens had been lifted from our shoulders. I did not see him again for nearly two years. Then, as a junior doctor on the same ward, I saw him once more, his thin arm beckoning me for he had relapsed and was terminally ill. ‘I can’t pray!’ he whispered in distress. I held his hand in mine, for a few moments. Then I prayed aloud, thanking Jesus for being present with us and asking him to comfort this dying man. ‘Thank you’ he murmured in relief. He died the next day. It shocked me to think that someone, confident and strong in his faith, should have become so weak and needy as to feel unable to pray. But I remembered that two years earlier he had carried my burdens and, as he approached death, I had carried some of his, holding his trembling fingers as Jesus reached out to him. As we carry one another’s burdens, in our case looking after the sick, let us recognise that we are obeying and serving Christ.

Written by John Townsend from the UK

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