The mission field of waiting roomsWritten by John Tracy
For the past six years, Paula Edwards has been waiting to heal. The 45-year-old woman has two autoimmune diseases and developed pneumonia after her latest chemotherapy treatment. She’s the kind of patient the doctor’s staff likely knows on a first-name basis.
Not surprisingly, her chronic medical problems have led to financial difficulties. Paula and her husband struggle to pay for doctor’s visits and medicine since she has no disability coverage. Her lack of health and wealth, however, are not her main thoughts these days.
"My 70-year-old dad needs me," she said. "He’s facing surgery, and I was supposed to go with him to the cardiologist. I am just not well enough to make the ride, so I am praying he will be OK on his own."
Paula’s parents divorced three years ago, at which time her father moved in with her and her husband. Paula also cares for her diabetic mother-in-law, who’s been getting worse since insurance coverage ended on one of her medications.
It would be easy to get discouraged during such hardships. This selfless woman, however, not only looks after her family members, but looks forward to her next visit to the doctor’s office, too.
"I oftentimes wonder if God allowed me to get sick so I could have what I call a ‘waiting room ministry.’ I can’t tell you how many times I have shared Christ and what He has done in my life with others while waiting for a visit with a doctor."
She once met a missionary whose daughter was having a double mastectomy. They encouraged and prayed for each other while waiting.
"I am not in a position to question God about anything," Paula said. "But I can’t help but wonder how all the circumstances fit together. God always seems to put me in the path of someone needing encouragement, and oftentimes I leave more blessed and stronger in the Lord because of it."
John Tracy was a producer for Focus on the Family’s daily radio broadcast at the time of publication.
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