Joy In The Hospital Room





Joy In The Hospital Room

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

Outward circumstances have little to do with joy.  I worked as a Chaplain in a VA hospital where I counseled dying men.  Some had joy even on their death beds.  Many suffered great pain.  I walked down the corridors of the Veterans hospital to visit patients who were dying. A pungent smell of medicine, cleaners, and sickness filled the air. There were no flowers or visitors on this ward.

George was a big man who had been a construction worker.  He was 52 years old when I came into his room at the hospital where he was suffering from stomach cancer.  “I am in so much pain Chaplain I can’t talk right now…  I am just waiting for a pain shot.”

“How long will it be before you get your shot?”

“At least an hour,” he said.

“Why don’t I just wait with you,” I said.

Then I asked him what he loved to do.  “Oh, I love to work in my rose garden,” he said.

A song came to my mind.  I began to sing 

In The Garden

 I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses

And the voice I hear falling on my ear The Son of God discloses.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,

And He tells me I am His own;

And the joy we share as we tarry there,

None other has ever known.

He speaks, and the sound of His voice,

Is so sweet the birds hush their singing,

And the melody that He gave to me

Within my heart is ringing.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me,

And He tells me I am His own;

And the joy we share as we tarry there,

None other has ever known.

Sing it again Chaplain

“Sing it again, Chaplain,” he said as tears streamed down his face.  As George meditated on walking with Jesus in his garden he found joy in the midst of pain.   We sang the same verse over and over again until a nurse with a pain shot interrupted us.  “Come back tomorrow,” he said.  “And bring a hymn book so we can sing all the verses.”

Apostle Paul told us to think about what is true, right, pure and praiseworthy.  When you are going through a hard time do you wonder if Paul understood how difficult it is to think positive thoughts?  When he wrote Philippians he was on house arrest chained to a guard.  In 2 Corinthians he tells says,  “Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one.  Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea,  I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers.  I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep.  I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food.  I have been cold and naked.”

Who suffered more than Paul?  Yet he encourages us to think about what is praiseworthy.  He says, “In everything give thanks.”

Joy is Not in Your Circumstances Here on Earth.  

Joy is healing to hurting hearts.  When going through difficult times words of praise will totally change our focus and feelings.  When you meditate on what is good, pure and worthy of praise you will feel a sense of joy.  It makes absolutely no sense to look at the positive in life when we are going through a difficult time, but God meets us in our difficulties when we praise Him even in our difficulties.  Our focus in life will totally change as we thank God for everything we can thank Him for.  

Over and over we sang the verse and chorus to, “In The Garden,” until the nurse came with pain medication and sleeping pills. I told him I would bring flowers when I came the next evening. “Don’t worry about the flowers,” he said. “Just bring a hymnal so we can sing all the verses.”

That evening I went to an all-night grocery store and bought flowers. I went back to George’s room every evening to sing songs from my old hymnal. George found joy in the midst of intense pain. He learned to transform his sorrow to joy through thoughts of joy and peace.   Even in great pain, we can choose what we want to think about. What we think about expands in our minds. If our thoughts are filled with fear, failure, loss, and pain these emotions become like a deep hole we can’t get out of. But when we give our fear, failure, loss, and pain to Jesus choosing to exalt Him we can see beyond the pain to the joy he has for us. In my search for joy, I discovered that outward circumstances had little to do with joy. Several on their deathbeds had joy. There was a freedom to put aside all the lies and unimportant things we worry about daily when we know we have little time to live. We are free to live for the moment and enjoy each experience as it comes.

Today’s Challenge:

Imagine being in a place you love to be; the ocean, a garden, around a fire with friends or in a hot tub.  Now take that place of joy and imagine Christ with you saying, “I love you with an everlasting love and I will never leave or forsake you.”  

Who do you love?

What do you love?

Take time to do what you love.

What are you worried about?

Is it really worth your concern?

If you would like to share your answers with our group post these to our Facebook Group


Not a member of the Joy in Troubled Times Challenge yet?

Join today it’s free! I look forward to seeing you on the other side. Here’s why I decided to do this challenge. Since joy is a choice, and a choice we make every single day, I want to challenge you to make it a habit. Over the coming days, I want to inspire and encourage you to make a choice each morning to be more joyful.

It takes time and daily conscious decisions to change habits and how we approach life. That’s where the challenge comes into play. The idea is that you have a daily reminder here on the blog and via email each day to help you remember to make that choice. Of course, there will also be plenty of helpful content on the topic of joy in the form of a new daily blog post. At the end of the challenge, I hope you have formed new habits, new ways of thinking, and new ways to look at each situation as it arises. With a little shift in thinking and perception, you can have a more joyful, more fulfilling life. I hope this challenge will help you get there.

My Challenge to You Today = Join the Joy in Troubled Times Challenge Today

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