Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Ministering to those in hospitals . . . Oakley F. Belden, Sr. (1927-2016) . . . new book: "Lessons from a Hospital Bed" (J. Piper)

On left: Oakley Franklin Belden, Sr. (1927-2016).
Louisville, Kentucky. April 2012.
What does a Christian do when he or she visits a hospital patient or someone in a hospice situation?

In general and in short, be a good listener, share a Bible verse or two, pray and be brief. In most cases, just your physical presence (i.e., taking time out of your busy schedule to show you care) is appreciated.

I--a "tent making" (Acts 18:3) hospital worker in the field of surgical instrumentation/sterile processing and infection control (November 2013- )--recently visited a dear and elderly friend (April 2012- ) in a hospice care center. Three of Oakely Franklin Belden, Sr.'s (1927-2016) last four days on earth I was able to visit. Each day I shared a Bible verse(s) and prayed for the longtime and beloved Immanuel Baptist Church (Louisville, Kentucky) deacon who was born the same year as my father (1927-2006) and who also served in the U.S. Army during W.W. II (1939-45).

"Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze straight before you."
Proverbs 4:25
"For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living."
Romans 14:7-9
"But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep."
1 Thessalonians 4:13-14

In February 2014 and 2015, I tried to take Bro. Oakley to his first-ever University of Louisville Cardinals men's basketball game. The February 2015 attempt came courtesy of Basketball Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino's administrative assistant who gave us three complimentary tickets. However, a fragile 87/88-year-old Oakley had to cancel both times the night prior due to his health. O well. The Lord Jesus Christ was Oakley's greatest joy and treasure, not sports. Yet he was a big U of L basketball fan.

Relatedly, an excellent new resource by John Piper was published recently (February 2016) to spiritually instruct and encourage hospital patients. At only 80 pages and a $7.99 retail price, I highly recommend the pocket-sized little book Lessons from a Hospital Bed. The foreword is written by Joni Eareckson Tada. From Piper's Desiring God website, a discount is given for bulk orders of 100 copies.

Lessons from a Hospital Bed.
By John Piper. 2016.

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