GRAND RAPIDS, MI – I received a call that Mrs. K was in the hospital with an infected knee from her second knee surgery. It was reported that she was going to need her third surgery, was in a lot of pain and emotional distress, and needed a chaplain visit desperately. She was a “well seasoned” Christian and worshipped every Sunday, but pain and the anxiety of possibly losing her leg caused depression to overtake her.
As I entered her hospital room the tears in her eyes instantly told me she was in bad physical pain and spiritual distress. She was at the top of her pain cycle, and was not quite due for her pain medication for another half hour. As a chaplain, one of the most wonderful moments of my ministry was to see the face of Mrs. K. change from despair to hope. In chaplain training we talk about the ministry of presence, and it is just training until you see how much power is present when you represent the presence of God.
When I reached out my hand to her it was a moment indescribable and meaningful. My hand was that of the Undershepherd of Jesus. It was a feeling of humility and a sense of unworthiness, yet a moment that I would not trade for any other. The emotional impact caused me to grasp for words, and I said “I heard that you were just about perfect.” She said “how can that be?” She thought I had lost my bearings or my “elevator was not going to the top floor.“ I read from my Bible (ESV) in James Chapter 1:2-4, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Through all the pain she realized she was just about perfect in her faith and steadfastness. She eventually lost the leg after the third surgery but became even stronger in her faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
As a chaplain at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, I see our precious brothers and sisters fight the same battle of pain every day. As their chaplain pastor I preach messages and lead Bible Studies making every effort to not only equip them to witness for Jesus, but to be prepared when the testing of their faith hits hard. I minister to the members of our Home, and when “Perfect Pain” comes their way they minister to me with spiritual strength that is amazing. What a blessing it is to be an Undershepherd Chaplain for Jesus.
CONTACT INFORMATION: If you have been called by God to be a chaplain or to be of support to our chaplains in prayer please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also see more information on our BSCM website at bscm.org/chaplain.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chaplain Bob Dennis is the new Chaplain Coordinator for the BSCM. He became a North American Mission Board endorsed chaplain for the State of Michigan after ministering as a pastor in the Woodland Baptist Association for many years. He currently is a chaplain assigned to the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.