Hospitals used to make me sick. I could only visit for so long before my queasiness would force me to leave.
A member of our church just passed away. It made me think of the number of times I visited him. Hospital visits are part of every small church pastor’s duties. I’ve driven 3 hours to visit. I’ve driven up to four and a half hours to visit the dying son of a church member. With this man who just passed away, I visited him 3 and 4 times a week. It was never a long visit, just a chance to say hi and to pray with him.
For me, hospital visits are more about showing I care than about following any certain ritual. I don’t ask about too many details of the disease as I allow them to share what they want with me. I bring my Bible with me and even have a few ideas of what I might read, but if it doesn’t seem appropriate, I don’t force it. But I try to usually take time to pray for the person.
My hope is that I can encourage them just a little and leave them with a reminder that God loves them and cares for them.