It was midnight and I was still at the hospital, on call for a late neurosurgical case and awaiting a frozen section. A frozen section is an intraoperative consultation rendered by the surgical pathologist within about ten minutes after the tissue is freshly procured by the surgeon. The reasons for a frozen section vary with the case and surgeon. In this instance, the neurosurgeon was anxious to know whether the brain tumor was benign or malignant. I was equally anxious. There was no room for error and a quick and accurate diagnosis was expected. In many cases, a radical surgery could result from my diagnosis. I certainly had enough time to ponder my fears. I had been waiting for over three hours since the operating room called me. I thought back over other grueling frozen sections I had performed. All my experience, expertise, and reputation on the line with each call; I never got used to the angst I was feeling. I prayed a short prayer, asking God for peace and wisdom to care for this patient.
Agonizing minutes later, the brain tissue was delivered to me. Measuring no more than 3 mm in diameter and weighing less than a gram, I prepared the tissue by placing it in a cryostat which froze the tissue to -20C. In this hardened state, I positioned it on a metal stage and a razor-sharp blade sliced off 2-micron sections which were immediately placed upon a microscope slide. A series of stains followed and within 2 minutes, my slide was ready to be viewed under the microscope. During this preparation time, I was surprised and relieved to discover my usual anxiety melting away, replaced with calmness and confidence. As I peered at the microscope slide, the diagnosis was immediately apparent, which I quickly communicated to the neurosurgeon. I was quite relieved and thankful for a peaceful and successful encounter.
A few hours later, at home for breakfast, I reunited with the godparents of my wife. We warmly embraced, having not seen each other for two years. “Sorry I couldn’t pick you up last night at the airport when you arrived…I was on call.”
“We know.” My godfather smiled and nodded his head. “No worries, just happy to see you, buddy!” With his arm paternally placed around my shoulder, he said, “I was praying for you!”
Goosebumps raced across my skin. “I felt it! I am usually so uptight when I do a frozen section, especially a brain biopsy. Last night, I was completely at peace!”
And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.
Job 42:10 (ESV)
And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Mark 2:4-6 (ESV)
On that evening in the hospital, God answered my prayer by blessing me with the prayers and faith of my godfather. I was the recipient of his prayers and act of faith and God blessed him by answering it and giving me peace and knowledge to properly care for my patient.
The Bible provides us beautiful reminders of how we are commanded by God to pray for others. What is sometimes overlooked is how God also blesses the one who prays and acts on faith on behalf of others. God doubly restored the fortunes of Job only after he prayed for his three friends who argued with him and wrongly instructed him why God allowed his months of misery and misfortune. Jesus healed the paralytic when He saw the persistent faith of his friends. It is not just our prayers alone but the prayers of all of His children.
God hears our prayers and sees our faith for our own lives and for those whom He surrounds us through His grace and mercy.
All praise to the living God!
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.