THE CHURCH AND SOME SAINTS

 

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God…  Ephesians 2:19

My doctor is retiring.  I saw him this week for the last time professionally, and it was a bittersweet time for me.  Dr. B saved my life.

Many years ago when I was teaching and working on a graduate degree, I had to leave school one day because of intense back ache.  Back pain was nothing new to me; I was born with a mild case of spina bifida, which tended to affect many of my activities and complicate ordinary illnesses.

My mother gathered my two children and me to stay with her and my dad until this latest episode passed.  I took the pills that were my standby, but the pain increased.  After a few weeks, I was pretty much bedfast.  And then came tingling in my legs with visual and hearing impairment.

My doctor decided to hospitalize me for tests.  Batteries were run, and I tried to describe my symptoms to a noted neurologist.  Later, he called my mom to see if I was mentally stable.  When nothing of significance showed up, I was released—with intense back pain, tingling, visual and hearing impairment, and headaches.

We were praying in earnest for healing and diagnosis of the malady that for me was much more than mental instability.  All along Pastor Schwanenberg and Gloria had been visiting and praying with me.  One day they that said Dr. B, a church member, was interested in my case and wondered if my family would like him to give another opinion.  Without hesitation, we accepted his offer.

I was hospitalized again, and more tests were run.  Between tests church friends were visiting and cheering me on.  My friend, Linda, brought me a book and was with me when I received a call from my insurance agent.  I was waiting to see if coverage extended to the multiple tests and hospital stay.  I thanked my agent for calling, but somehow, without my saying a word, Linda left knowing my congenital malformation had exempted the company from covering conditions related to the back.

The next day or so, Dr. B came in with a smile.  He said they’d determined the problem; it was pernicious anemia, so called because before it was learned that vitamin B-12 injections could treat the anemia, most people who developed the disease died from it.  He began frequent injections of B-12 and within a day I was walking, and my symptoms were decreasing.

When I was released from hospital care, Papa came to pick me up.  He entered my hospital room with a smile and an envelope.  He always loved to joke, and he kept me in suspense about the contents.  Finally, Papa told me that when Linda had left the hospital, she went straight to Pastor Schwanenberg telling him about my insurance dilemma and wondering what the church could do.  By the time I was ready for release, my dad had in hand an envelope from my church with a check to pay all the hospital expenses.

Within a few days I was back at home and then back to work.  I called Dr. B’s office to see about paying his bill, which I suspected would be quite large.  Instead, the bookkeeper told me that the doctor had written it off in its entirety.  I’m not sure they make doctors like Dr. B anymore, but I am grateful that God brought this one and all those saints into my life.

 

Loving Father, thank you for the Church, your Body, and all the saints who bless us in so many ways.  Help me to love in deed just as I’ve been loved.  In Jesus’ name.  AMEN.

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