94: Don’t Take It Back

94: Don’t Take It Back

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles and More

Don’t Take It Back

Give God your weakness, and he will give you his strength.

~Author Unknown

At 1:00 p.m. on a Monday afternoon, my phone rang. “Wendy, this is Wayne, the roofer. I just put Rod in an ambulance. He fell off the roof.”

I was more than 1,000 miles away. I booked a flight and rushed to the airport. I would arrive around midnight.

I got off the plane with my small suitcase in hand and took a taxi to the hospital. I was dropped off at the emergency entrance only to find that my husband Rod had been moved to the trauma ICU. I had to go back outside and walk around the hospital to the front entrance.

As I walked, I spoke out loud to God.

“God, I need a miracle. I don’t want to do this alone… God, I don’t know what to do… Will you take it?”

I entered the hospital security area to get a pass to the ICU. The guard recited a list of directions that I was too upset to understand. As I stared at him blankly a kind, elderly gentleman next to me said he would walk me there since he knew where to go.

We made our way down the wide hall toward the trauma unit, and he stopped to offer his large right hand. He introduced himself as Pastor Holland. I stopped in my tracks, took his hand and hugged this total stranger. As tears rolled down my cheeks, I said, “I so need a pastor right now.”

“Would you like for me to go with you?”

“Please,” I replied tearfully.

As we continued down the hall, he asked me what I had done so far. I told him I hadn’t done anything yet as I didn’t know what to do. I told him I talked to God outside the hospital, and that is when Pastor Holland stopped in his tracks.

“And what did you tell God?” he asked with an intense gaze.

“I didn’t know what to say, so I just asked God to take it.”

His deep brown eyes softened as he said, “And don’t take it back. If you gave it to God, do not try and take it back.”

We arrived at the locked double doors of the trauma center and used the outside phone to be let in. We found Rod on life support. Tubes, braces, bandages, restraints and noisy machines filled the room. Pastor Holland walked directly over to Rod’s limp body, gently laid both hands on top of his head and silently prayed. Pastor Holland stayed with me the rest of the night, until we were asked to leave for a couple of hours. He asked if I had paper and a pen to write down everything, since he very wisely knew that I would not remember much that was explained to me. We exchanged phone numbers, and he gave me two Bible verses to read in Ephesians from the small Bible he kept in his right pocket. We both left the hospital about 7:00 a.m.

When I returned two hours later, the room nurse told me that I had just missed my pastor.

“Oh, he is not my pastor,” I replied. “I thought he worked with the hospital.”

“Why, no,” the nurse said blankly. “We have never seen that man before. We let him in because we saw him with you and thought he was your pastor.”

Who was the heavyset man in a gently wrinkled brown suit with a harvest gold shirt and matching handkerchief in his left breast pocket? Where did he say he came from? Was he my miracle?

It made me think back to our earlier conversation. Pastor Holland said he didn’t have a brick-and-mortar church. He said he just went where God told him to go. He was to be at our hospital, and then he would go to Texas and on to Tacoma.

Had he really been sent to help us?

For six days, I did not see Pastor Holland. I went on the Internet to Google him without any success. I remembered he told me he took the bus to the hospital that night, so I thought he was local. I couldn’t find his name in any local listings for clergy. I checked the pastoral sign-in notebook at the main entrance of the hospital. No “Pastor Holland” had signed the book. When I called the number he gave me, it was only a recorded message that the person was unavailable. Was he real? I must have called that number a dozen times to see if I could talk to someone but I always got the same recording.

On Sunday, Rod was being prepared for his first surgery — to place eight titanium screws in his eye socket and repair his fractured jaw and cheek. I kept reflecting on what the pastor told me. Do not take it back… Do not take it back. If you give it to God, do not take it back. As my cousin and I arrived at the hospital for the surgery, I saw Pastor Holland. He was just outside the hospital entrance. I had told my cousin about him, so I couldn’t wait to have her meet him.

“I am here only a short time,” he said. He gently took my cousin’s hand and said, “Take good care of our Wendy. She’s very precious to all of us.”

Instantly, I knew everything would be all right. My mother, who had passed away, had written those exact words in a letter to me more than thirty-seven years ago. When Pastor Holland said “precious,” I knew in my heart that it was my personal message from Mom through him. I didn’t need to doubt the existence of Pastor Holland as my miracle. He was not only my angel, but also a messenger. I now felt my miracle was in place. By that afternoon, Rod’s facial surgery would be described by the physician as “perfect.”

It has been four years since Rod fell off the roof. He not only had that successful facial surgery, but later had a subdural hematoma that required a craniotomy and then a major shoulder tendon repair. At each step of the way, my strength came from my angel, Pastor Holland, who had gently whispered, “If you gave it to God, do not take it back.” I repeated that phrase over and over for months until Rod made a full recovery.

We are so blessed to have miracles and angels around us. We never know when they will find us. Fortunately for me, I was actually able to give my angel a hug.

~W. Bond

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