God Winks: How God lets us know that He is there. And He cares.
Updated: Apr 21
Just after midnight at a downtown hospital in San Antonio, a chaplain walked into the waiting room of the IC Unit on the 3rd floor. He came to bring words of encouragement, but it only amounted to disheartening news for Shelley’s still hopeful family as they prayed, hoped and waited for the best – their faith still strong. But the words of prayer offered by this man seemed somewhat canned. Now I am sure that this man of God was genuine in his prayer, but maybe seeing so much tragedy and trauma in a downtown hospital caused him to have more scripted thoughts. So many hurting people in his daily life that he had one well thought out prayer along with some well thought out uplifting words. When he left the waiting room, he left the family not hopeful, but hopeless as they saw their hope for a miracle slipping away.
A few hours later just after 5AM, one of the head doctors came in to give the final and catastrophic news – that Shelley was not going to make it. That she was going to die. And that they had done everything they could do in their power to save her, but it was now out of their hands. At that appointed time during this conversation between doctor and family, a small janitor of slight build entered the room and began sweeping the floor of what the family noticed as a VERY dirty waiting room. And this little Hispanic janitor just mopped and swept as the group conversed, and to some agitation to the family as well since they thought it somewhat rude that this man was interrupting what they thought to be a very intimate moment. But he completed his job and he left the room. A few moments later as the hospital staff left the waiting room the little old janitor stepped back in the room and humbly said in broken English, “Excuse me. Excuse me. I couldn’t help to overhear the doctors bring you the news of your family member. But I want you to know that she is with Him right now. She is with God right now. The doctors think they are in control, but they are not in control. God has everything under control and not them. I know this because I work for Him (as he points his finger high into the air). I work for Him. And I want you to know that she is much better off now then before. And she is waiting for you to one day join her. That is our blessed hope.” The little man then offered a prayer of encouragement and healing for the family assuring them that as children of God, we would one day see her again. He then took off his crucifix necklace and gave it to the family as a sign of grace and comfort, then left the room leaving the family filled with the promise of the cross – forgiveness and life everlasting.
Now think about this for a moment. Man sent a chaplain while God sent a custodian. The ordained chaplain offered a prayer that was rehearsed many, many times while the lowly custodian offered a prayer straight from the throne room of heaven. The hospital sent a man in slacks with a nice button down and impeccable shoes. God in his absolute humility sent a janitor in a ratty uniform and old work boots. And a custodian to some is considered one of the lowliest jobs that one can have. One that is frowned upon by many. So the Lord sent the janitor to represent himself in all his meekness. He came sweeping a filthy floor. You have to remember that He was born in a barn, He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey and He was crucified between two thieves. Typical of our God. Extreme humility and humbleness. And this one tragic morning, he appeared as a janitor to a hurting family.
So we all need to stay aware that He can come in a variety of ways to present himself to us and we all need to be sensitive to this fact. As the scripture says in the book of Hebrews, many have entertained angels unaware, so be on watch for such activities. And I have thought several times if Gilbert was such an angel as well. I saw it as odd that he had two bandaged hands as if he was severely burned. OR – maybe he couldn’t touch earthly vessels. I noticed these bandages as he swept with his broom and when I went to shake his hand in gratitude after his prayer as well. But he was heaven sent for sure, angel or human.
A few days after Shelley passed away my grandson asked to wear the little crucifix around his neck and noticed that it had a sweet smell to it. He showed it to his mother who noted that the smell was not there before. This occurred three days after Shelley went to be with the Lord. Three days. And what was the scent? I was told it wasn’t cologne nor was it perfume, but it was something sweeter. The smell dissipated later that evening but what was it? Maybe it was honeysuckle. The smell of our Lord and now of Shelley.