Chaplaincy to Whomsoever


Visit them. Share in the predicament. Exhort. Pray. Look them square in the face. Name their name. Smile. Wish them God's blessing. Promise to come back.

I am reminded of an excellent book by Henri Nouwen. It was entitled The Wounded Healer. In it he wrote of a young candidate for the priesthood who had taken to visiting regularly one chronically ill patient in hospital. The day came when it became clear that a very serious surgery was necessary, one with small percentages of success. The student, very shy and very vulnerable in his service, struggled with what to say, how to encourage in the ordeal.

Finally at the tail end of his visit and with the procedure just hours away, he blurted out, "Harry I can give no guarantees. I have no surefire solution to offer. I only know that we have prayed; that God is good all the time; that I will see you after this is over. Keep looking up."

And according to Nouwen that was all that needed to be said; should be said about the providences of God. It had to come from one who was not self-assured, not smug about the conditions of this fallen place, but triumphantly gambling on God. A wounded healer.

This is one of our fundamental needs in society; that a caring one will always be there waiting, anticipating the gladsome reunion. It applies to tomorrow morning, the end of the school term, the work assignment abroad, the wandering into sin, the sojourn in jail or in hospital, the entrance into Glory. Love watches and waits and welcomes.

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