We were in the middle of eating dinner. My phone rang and it said the call was coming from West Palm Beach, Florida. Usually I let calls like that go to voicemail. If it’s important enough they’ll leave a message. For some reason I picked it up. A fellow pastor was on the other end of the line. Now stick with me because this gets a little convoluted. A pastor in Wisconsin had called him because a husband and wife from his parish in northern Wisconsin were at Disney on a mommy and daddy getaway. An important moment was taking place.
You see, The unimaginable happened. The husband suddenly passed away, and they needed a local pastor to go be with the wife at this most difficult of times. I told them that the hospital where they ended up was about fifty minutes away from our house. But I’d get there as quickly as I could. So I hopped in the car and headed out.
I got to the hospital and met the poor woman in the Emergency Room. All I could do was give her a hug. I told her how sorry I was. The nurse gave us a room where we could have some privacy. She cried and told me what happened. She cried some more. They were supposed to go back to Wisconsin this evening. Now their pastor at home was telling their three young children that Daddy wouldn’t be coming back. To their credit, Disney gave the grieving woman a room in the Animal Kingdom Lodge until her parents and father-in-law could join her tomorrow.
I listened to her and let her cry. Before I left for the hospital my wife and I decided we would offer to have her come back home with me so she wouldn’t have to be alone for the evening. She was appreciative of the offer, but declined. I gave her my phone number and told her to call for anything at all. Pretty soon a taxi came to pick her up. Before she left the hospital we prayed. We thanked the Lord for all those who helped and cared throughout this ordeal. We prayed for the kids. The prayer included petitions for peace, comfort, and help. In such an important moment it’s not easy to know how to pray. But pray we did.
Then she got into the taxi. And off she went.
You never know when an important moment will enter your day. Two people who had never met before were able to share faith — the very essence of life — at a time when it was needed more than any other.
This poor woman has a long road ahead of her. I don’t know why this had to happen to her. And I don’t know why, in the grand scheme of things, I was the one chosen to minister to her. But I do know that these most important moments are the reason why faith in Jesus matters. It matters eternally.
Faith in Jesus is the only thing that will help us through any and every surprise life tosses at us. Nurture it. You never know when it’s the only thing that will be able to sustain you.