“Could you please make a call on Mr. Bennett’s* grandmother in Paola, Kansas?”
“Sure,” I said. “But it will be a while. I’m over an hour away.”
“That’s all right. Just so you see her by this afternoon. According to the nursing home personnel, she’s suffering from heart failure. They’ve called in hospice.”
“Mr. Bennett is concerned not only for her health, but he’s not sure she has ever received Jesus.”
“I’ll check it out.”
Over the last couple of years I had visited Hanna Bennett* several times. Her grandson’s business is one of our subscribing clients for Marketplace Chaplains, Inc. We supply chaplains to corporations and on occasion, do hospital visits in other cities for out-of-town employees.
Driving, I wondered what would greet me when I arrived. Hanna was a sweet little 98-year-old farm lady.
When I entered her room, she was in bed rather than her wheel chair. Her lips were purple; a slight rattle in her throat. I greeted her and took her cold hands in mine. She rallied a bit and spoke to me.
I noticed a bowl of chicken noodle soup on her bedside table, sealed over with plastic.
“Hanna, would you like some soup?”
She nodded. “I’ll try a bite or two.”
As I fed her, I asked, “Hanna, have you ever asked Jesus to come into your heart and life?”
She smiled and nodded.
“Then you know He has a place ready for you in heaven.”
She took another bite, swallowed, then nodded and said, “But I’m not ready to go yet.”
After a few more bites, she indicated she didn’t want anymore. I took her hands again and prayed with her.
“Your hands are so warm,” she said.
I continued to hold her hands while she drifted off to sleep. Wrapping her hands in the sheet I took one last glance and bid her a silent good-by. I wondered how long it would be before she died.
Before leaving, I left my name and number with the staff but heard nothing.
The next Thursday an email arrived from the Texas chaplain. It read: “Hanna made a miraculous recovery on Friday night and is looking forward to seeing her grandson this weekend.”
If I live to be 100, God will never cease to surprise me.
*Not the real name.