heart-loveWhen medical special needs first joined our family, we began spending a lot of time at our local children’s hospital. We are fortunate that it was just 10 minutes down the freeway from our house at that time, and there we had access to pretty much every service our child could need.

On the other hand, I quickly learned that many of the patients there came to the hospital clinics from hours away, even out of state. So began our waiting room ministry.

“Where are you from?”

“What time did you leave to get here?”

“Do you need directions to any stores or restaurants while you are here?”

“How often do you come?”

“Which doctor are you seeing? Is this your first appointment?”

There were any number of questions I started to ask to initiate conversation with worried, harried parents. As we talked, I assured them that their child was in good hands and would receive the care they needed. In turn, they asked me questions about my child’s experiences and what to expect around the hospital or in the days ahead.

When the patient also had a long history at the clinic, we compared notes and felt the comfort that someone else could understand how we lived with our child’s medical needs. Sometimes we shared ideas that might help us from day to day.

One day it was a girl, with a newly amputated leg, who watched my daughter walking on prostheses. Another day in the x-ray department, it was a boy we had seen on a television special. I remember another case where a boy’s elbow was so badly shattered, he’d been transported four hours to see a surgeon who could fix it.

Just last week it was a mother nervous about all the paperwork she was bringing from the school to the pediatrician about the challenges her son was having. She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw I also carried a manila folder stuffed with forms.

Through my children’s special needs, God has taken me into environments I never would have gone to on my own, then given me an opportunity to share his love and light in those places. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

Are you in a place you wouldn’t have chosen? Receive God’s comfort. Before long, you may be sharing it with others, too.