Reflection #10 – A Tribute to Nurses

During our COVID-19 shutdown, Pastor Zekveld plans to provide a personal reflection each weekday.

A Tribute to Nurses

Let’s pause today to thank God for our nurses and all others at the frontlines of the ‘war’ effort against the COVID-19 pandemic: doctors, PSW’s, medical researchers, and all who are putting themselves in harm’s way at hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, and pharmacies.

Jenna Meloche, a registered nurse from Windsor, Ontario, knows what it’s like to do double duty by functioning as a close family member to her COVID-19 patients. Jenna stated, “A family member said to me ‘I want you to go into my husband’s room and I want you to say in his ear that we love him and we miss him and just be strong.”

After taking precautions during long shifts at work, Jenna comes home to the same thing. To protect her parents she changes in the garage, uses a separate bathroom, and wears protective gear when in common areas of the house. She says: “My nose is raw from wearing a mask every waking hour – first at work and then again at home….We’re fighting a war.”  (CBC News, March 28, 2020)

Mary Lyn, a nurse in our local nursing home, was giving care to an elderly man who hadn’t been able to see his family in weeks since lockdown. Seeing a Bible at his bedside she had compassion on him and sat down with him. She opened his Bible, and finding his bookmark at Psalm 47 where his wife had last read to him, read the Word of God with him. Then she grabbed a couple of Kleenexes from his table to wipe the tears streaming down his face.

The stories of Jenna and Mary Lyn are repeated in millions of places around the globe right now. In addition to increasing demands and risks of health care, they offer special acts of kindness by functioning as family members, friends and pastors on behalf of those who cannot reach the sick and dying.

Last week in Quebec an emotional Premier Legault was deeply grateful for the outpouring of response from nurses across his province. Fears of an overwhelmed health-care system led Quebec to invite retired doctors and nurses and anyone with health care experience who wished to help with COVID-19 to contact them. Within just a few days 10,000 people had sent in resumes to help out.

Nursing students at McMaster University are the latest health-care students to ask for early certification so they can join the fight against the coronavirus and ease the burden on the health-care system. (Global News, March 28)

Nurses across the province of Ontario have been put on notice that they may be called on to leave their home and workplace to be deployed to other areas of the country where there’s greater need.

Our greatest tribute, of course, goes to medical workers who have already lost their lives in the line of duty fighting COVID-19. We thank the Lord for His good gift of health care and of those who are willing to dedicate their skills and their lives in this important calling.

So how do we appreciate them? There are many ways, but let me suggest 3:

  • First, take the epidemic seriously. Hear the warnings of our doctors and nurses to take proper precautions. Scott Laughton first served as a soldier in Iraq in the 1990s, then for 25 years as a police officer, and now as a registered nurse in New Jersey. Last week he suddenly found the hospital unit where he works transformed into a COVID-19 ward. He says, “Many are not careful. They don’t understand the devastation that this can cause. Not only to the people themselves but to the families and to the health care workers that are actually in there holding their loved one’s hands when they’re going through this.” (Julia Musto, Fox News, April 1, 2020)
  • Secondly, take time to pray and appreciate them, especially the ones you know in your own church and neighbourhood. Help them with your prayers. It takes new courage, compassion and strength each day. Send a text, email or card expressing your gratitude for their sacrifice. Even if they’re not working directly with COVID-19 patients, they’re all dealing with the stress of the lockdown, staffing shortages, and virus precautions.
  • Thirdly, thank God for His gift of health care. When Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” He told us He cares about all our physical needs too. One of the ways He answers this prayer is by raising up doctors and nurses who have a passion to study medicine, research diseases, care for the sick, and are willing to risk themselves each day by coming into contact with infectious diseases.

Through them God shows His care for us. He shows that our sicknesses matter to Him. He cares about our sicknesses so much that He sent Jesus to carry not only our sins but also our sicknesses and diseases with Him to the cross. (Isaiah 53:4, Matthew 8:17)

In our health care workers we get a taste of Jesus’ real TLC; we get a taste of what Jesus came to do for us forever. Through faith in Jesus who died and rose again, you get healing for both soul and body. He heals you of both sin and sickness! Even though we will die some day in some way, full healing is on the way when we belong to Jesus. That’s the eternal health care God provides for everyone who believes in Jesus, including doctors and nurses.