Reflecting on my nursing days and the prayer that saw me through those challenging days and nights. Praying that you will know His peace today and pass it on as you walk along.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
John 14:27 – NIV
To this very day, I can close my eyes and still see those long, dark hallways stretching out before me. They are forever etched in my mind. The hallways varied, different decorations, different locations. Yet, somehow they all felt the same.
Traveling down those dimly lit corridors, I weaved my way to the nursing units where I worked. The bustle and clamor so characteristic of those hospital hallways in the daytime were conspicuously absent, their drama replaced by that uncanny quiet that accompanies the night shift.
I can still hear the little squeak of my polished white shoes on the waxed linoleum floor. I can still feel the rustle of my pressed white uniform against the nylon of my thick white support stockings. Over the years, I worked in three different hospitals, pulling countless night shifts, and still the knot in my stomach was always the same.
In the daytime, the hospital is alive with people hurrying to and fro. Those hallways are filled with wheelchairs and stretchers being shuttled from one place to another. Phones are ringing in the distance, voices echo as staff scurry past.
The scene is quite different in the midnight hour. Those bustling hallways of the daytime are now empty, devoid of the usual conversations. Something seems out of place, not quite right. There is a lonesome, almost eerie feeling in the air and that chilling sensation seems to spawn a prickly sense of dread.
On each of my long hallway walks, I would mentally prepare for the night ahead. Invariably, I found myself wondering if I was up to the challenge.
“How many patients will I have tonight? How sick will they be? How difficult will it be to get the work done tonight? Will we have enough staff?”
With each unanswered question, the knot in my stomach would tighten a bit.
Although I was an excellent nurse, I somehow never quite felt equal to the tasks ahead, at least, not on my own merits. I needed some high-powered help. I needed to pray.
So, on each of my nighttime journeys, I prayed what I came to call “the hallway prayer”.
“Lord, let me do a good job and not make any mistakes. Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace for Your Glory. Help me, Lord. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.”
The prayer always worked. As I repeated those well worn words, my anxiety lessened, my confidence grew, and that knot in the pit of my stomach unwound just a bit. Although many of the night shifts were quite hectic and stressful, I always managed to rise to the occasion. While I may have made a few mistakes along the way, thankfully, none ever caused any serious harm. I did my best. I gave it my all, and hopefully, I served as an instrument of His peace.
In this world filled with blaming, bitterness, and conflict, oh, how we need peace. Sometimes, it feels as if we have forgotten how to pass the peace. We fail to spread peace, because we fail to seek its source.
We live like we don’t need God. I can manage this. Let’s do it my way. We act like we know what’s best. Until it’s a mess. Then we panic. Then we cry for help. At that moment, we so want His peace.
The truth is that we are incapable of mending our broken fences without help. We need a higher power. We need to pray.
When we lay down our self-sufficiency and lift up our hands in humble supplication, not only will we receive God’s peace, but we are poised to become instruments of His peace, and it won’t be for our glory, but for His. Just like my sojourns down those long, dark always, none of us knows what lies ahead. Only God knows. He has the plan and we need to be part of that plan. We are the instruments through which God works to bring light to this dark world. By placing our trust in God’s power and grace, we can know His peace and share that peace with our fellow travelers as we journey down the long, uncertain corridors of this life.
Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:9 – NIV
Lord, let us be instruments of Thy Peace for Your Glory. Open our hearts and minds to listen, obey and serve. Give us hearts of compassion, spirits of mercy, hands of healing. Let us pass the peace to all those we meet. Put a smile on our faces and a song in our hearts that we might lift up those we meet along our life paths. O Lord, may our words and deeds bring You Glory and may Your light shine in our eyes this day.