Learning Patience from Noah
Natasha was a young woman I met in the psychiatric wing of the hospital. She was born in Russia and when she was a little girl her father died, her mother was sent off to prison and she ended up in an orphanage. Thankfully, a Christian family from America adopted her soon after. Whether or not it was from all the trauma she experienced as a little girl I cannot say, but later in life, Natasha struggled with clinical depression and needed medical help.
I had visited Natasha on several other occasions, but on this particular day, I found Natasha sitting in the corner of the TV room, crying unconsolably. I inquired with the staff who was monitoring the situation, but no one seemed to know the source of her tears, or what to do with her.
She recognized me as I approached, but continued to cry. I led her to a private area to talk and asked, “Why are you crying?” Through her tears, Natasha managed to tell me about a fellow patient who had just gone home and about her discovery that her own discharge had been delayed. “I just want to go home!” she cried.
As I listened and thought about her situation, I decided to improvise a little with the story of Noah and the ark. I told Natasha that her depression was kind of like the terrible storm Noah had to endure. Even after the storm finally subsided, Noah had to stay in the ark for almost a year waiting for the earth to heal. Two times Noah sent out a bird to see if it was safe to leave the ark, and two times the bird returned indicating that it was not.
We talked about how hard it must have been for Noah to wait inside the ark while the earth was healing, and how God’s promise of a Savior provided comfort, courage and patience to Noah as he waited to leave the ark. When I reminded Natasha, that God had made those same promises of love and forgiveness to her, she began applying the story to her own situation, and her tears eventually ceased.
Jesus had dried Natasha’s tears and filled her heart with renewed hope. Like Noah, she would now patiently wait upon the LORD, confident that He would continue to provide healing and the proper time for her to leave her ark — the hospital that had kept her safe in the storm of her depression.
With a smile on her face, Natasha joined me in prayer. “Thank you,” she said as we ended our time together and “thank you to Institutional Ministries for sending a chaplain to bring me the healing power of God’s Word.”
Chaplain Kenneth Wenzel