I sat in the spine surgeon’s office, deflated. I was preoccupied with pain and surgery number nineteen looming on the horizon. The Physician’s Assistant, for whom I had a particular fondness, came in and spoke to me about what was ahead. Claire has a smile that warms your heart, a twinkle in her eyes when she smiles, and is strikingly intelligent. I’d firmly come to believe that twinkle in her eyes, to be God’s spirit. When we were finished talking about my broken-down body, we began to talk about God. This was not new. I had come to look forward to and enjoy these brief talks. She shared a faith in God, and I felt an unexplainable kinship with her because of it. I could have never known she was about to tell me a testimony that would have a profound impact on me. Claire’s expression changed. It was soft but searching. I perceived she was discerning a divine urge to share something. She searched my eyes inquisitively and began to speak, “When my mother was eleven years old she was sick with measles encephalitis. She actually died while being transported to the hospital by ambulance and was blue when she arrived at the hospital. The ER doctor said he normally would never have taken that type of case into surgery, but he felt he needed to. He was able to resuscitate her and put a tracheostomy in place and stabilize her vital signs. She was in a coma for three days. At 3 pm on Good Friday, while still unconscious, she saw God’s hand and the arm of His robe come down and open the palm of His hand to her. She felt an overwhelming warming and cooling sensation take place all over her body, and then she awoke. She felt that God had placed her spirit back into her body.” I was astounded at this beautiful miracle. Claire and I sat together trading testimonies for a few more brief wonderful moments. By the time the visit was over, we both had taken turns wiping tears from our eyes, and she gave me a big hug before she left. I thought about that miraculous testimony all the way home and from time to time after that. While I endured surgery on my spine, and some miserable complications, I consciously tried to picture God’s hand outstretched. I placed my worries there, and then my life. I did that over and over for months. Post-surgery I had an allergic reaction to the glue that held my incision closed. I developed huge, itchy and stinging blisters on my incision. When that finally resolved, my incision would open and drain but never fully heal. The whole situation felt long and tiring. This warranted another minor surgery to correct the incision that wasn’t healing. That fantastic Physicians Assistant was with me the whole way, walking me through all of it, even calling me during the weekend when my incision had opened yet again. To say that Claire is a fantastic provider seems so puny compared to the impact she has on the lives of her patients. She is a blessing. When I’d finally healed enough, I longed to do something very special for her. I wanted to do something that would be a blessing to her, as she had been such a blessing to me. Claire had shared such a beautiful testimony that had reassured me through so much. She’d also cared for me for nearly four years in an “above and beyond” manner. I prayed earnestly about what to do for her. A thank you card or coffee mug seemed so inadequate. One night as I lay in bed praying, I was picturing that hand of God outstretched to me. Suddenly, God’s spirit came over me prompting a thought, “Amy, why don’t you paint the hand?”
I mulled this over, wanting to be sure it was God’s spirit and not just me. I figured I should at least give it my best shot. About a week later, I found myself home for the weekend with my sick little girl. My follow up appointment with Claire was the next Tuesday. I eagerly cracked out the painting supplies and invaded the kitchen table. I started painting Sunday morning, and I painted all day while praying the whole time, that I would somehow be able to capture the way the testimony made me feel. I desired to paint the mental picture that had made a life changing impact on my soul. This mental picture had comforted and carried me through so much. With Tuesday looming ahead in just two days, I was on a bit of a time crunch. I finished Monday night at about ten minutes till midnight. I finally felt content. I would look at it again in the morning. I had done my best. I prayed to God that He would reassure me that it was His will that I give this painting to her. I didn’t want to do something that might seem too personal. I lay down exhausted, and grabbed my cell phone at a few minutes after twelve. I knew my Bible app would have a new scripture for me. I pulled it up and as soon as I read it, I knew God had given me my answer. It read: Psalms 16:11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. My heart nearly burst. I had painted for Claire, the right hand of God. This was no coincidence. God had answered my prayer almost instantly. I laughed at God’s great sense of humor, and prayed aloud; “Thank you God! Thank you!” She was definitely getting that painting the next morning! I felt the need to write the scripture on the back of the painting, so I could tell her why I knew she needed to have it. Before my appointment, I took one more good look at the painting, and fixed a highlight on the hand and sleeve that needed a tweak. I decided the painting was as good as it was gonna get. I threw it into a super classy trash bag, and tried to be as inconspicuous as one can be, while awkwardly carrying a large trash bag wrapped square, into their crowded doc’s office. Once I’d made peace with the puzzled stares, I started to feel very nervous about how it might be received. My stomach somersaulted and I sat in that room nervously waiting. Claire walked in as always, with her warm beautiful smile. She quickly got to work removing my stitches and chatting with me. I noticed every time she glanced down at the huge square by my legs, but I waited until the last stitch was out before telling her I’d made her something. I put it up onto the exam bed and pulled the trash bag off. Her hands immediately covered her mouth as she gasped. She turned to me while her eyes filled with tears. “I can’t believe you did this for me! Oh, my goodness! Oh, it’s almost like you can just reach out! How did you? Oh, I love it! I can’t believe you did this for me!” By now, tears had given way to quiet sobs. She hugged me as she cried. I felt immeasurable joy fill my heart and boil over. I knew right then, that this was what God wanted. He had done this.
I told her about how much her mother’s testimony had helped encourage me and give me peace. I told her how I’d prayed for reassurance as to whether it was the right thing to give it to her, and the scripture that was given to me just minutes later. I turned the picture over and showed her how I’d written it on the back, and then I pulled the scripture up on my Bible app to show her that it was, in fact, my daily reminder scripture. She was still wiping away tears when I told her, “You know, sometimes God has certain people cross paths for a reason, and I’m so glad you crossed my path”. I drove home from that appointment with tears of joy streaming down my face. I couldn’t thank God enough for the precious gift it was to be a part of this blessing. Nearly a year later, wearing yoga pants and no makeup, we sat on the couch in her house, having a heart to heart. We had grown so close. It was almost surreal and incredible to think our relationship had evolved from patient and health provider to soul sisters with the same Heavenly Father. This woman who had stitched me up from surgeries was now doing far more profound things for my heart. She had quickly become a best friend. This was something only God could do. As we sipped our coffee and talked, Claire jumped up excitedly as she hurried into her bedroom, and yelled over her shoulder, ”I need to read you something!” She emerged with a journal and a huge smile. I’d grown to adore the expression she got, when sharing something awesome that God had done. She looked lit from within. As she settled back onto the couch, she began to explain, “This is my prayer journal.” Before I’d given her the painting, she’d been praying and keeping this journal. She’d realized that my painting was an answer to her prayer. The same week I’d given her the painting, she noticed she was receiving a series of blessings in short succession and my painting was one of them. She read aloud to me from her journal how each prayer was quickly followed up with a blessing. The day before I gave her the painting, she had prayed for God to, “Please, please, reach out His hand to her.” The next day, I’d come in and presented her with a painting of God’s hand outstretched to her, as well as the scripture letting both of us know that it was indeed God who’d orchestrated this beautiful miracle. It was indeed God who’d orchestrated this beautiful miracle. We may never know how far the impact of one miracle reaches. I have a sneaking suspicion that the ripple effect reaches right into eternity. My prayer is that you will see and feel God’s hand reached out to you in your life. God’s hand is always outstretched to us, yearning for our hand to reach out and grip His.
Psalms 95:7 For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today if ye will hear his voice…
Amy Moser is a popular blogger in Phoenix, AZ area and the author of the book, The Magnificent Story Of A Lame Author.