We Must Walk By Faith!
“We live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7)
I found the bus parked on the side of the road. A small crowd stood to one side, shocked looks on the angry faces. I climbed aboard and found my patient sitting in the aisle in a pile of broken glass, her hands pressed to her forehead, her arms and lap stained with blood. She might have been angry, cursing and shaking her fist at the foolhardy teenagers who had reportedly flung the rock at the bus shattering the window and hitting her in the head, but she didn’t seem to be. She took a deep breath, told me her name, and then quietly submitted as I lowered her hands to examine the wound. And it was deep—a three inch gash above her right eyebrow. A golf ball sized hematoma had already formed. Her eyelid looked swollen, discolored and wet.
“It could be worse,” I said taking a wad of water soaked gauze and gently cleansing the site. “But you’re going to need stitches.”
“There’s glass in my eye,” she said. “I can’t open it.”
I finished washing the wound and dressed it with fresh gauze, careful to cover both of her eyes to prevent unintentional movement.
“Now—” I took her hands. “Stand up and follow me. My partner has the stretcher at the bottom of the steps.”
I saw her face draw up tight. “But I can’t see. How can I—”
“Larissa. Trust me.”
“Think of it as a faith walk.”
Her face relaxed. She nodded as if she understood. I helped her stand and then backed down the aisle, coaxing her with quiet words of encouragement. Her first few steps seemed timid, unsure, but as her faith in me grew she gained momentum and together we walked down the steps, through the door, and outside into the humid night air.
The back of the ambulance was cool and bright. I checked her vital signs and started an IV. We made small talk—about the event, about her wounds—but eventually the conversation turned to faith.
“You’re a Christian, aren’t you?” she said, more a statement than a question.
“Yes,” I responded. “I am.”
“Will you pray for me?”
Now I’m no saint, not even by a stretch. I don’t pray with every patient I get into the back of my ambulance. I’ve argued with many, fought with a few, and battled my own prejudices more times than I can remember. But her words? They were like cinnamon candy to my ears. A sweet feeling came over me. I knew what I had to do.
“Of course I will.”
And we prayed—two people from different worlds meeting in the most unlikely of circumstances, holding hands and praying as if they’d known each other for years. You know, they say God works in strange ways; I see it more as creative brilliance. His love breaks down barriers. It shatters human defenses. It brings people together who would otherwise never meet.
“You know what’s fascinating?” I said when I raised my head from prayer. “You haven’t even seen me yet and, still, you trust me.”
I saw Larissa nod. Then she smiled. And I couldn’t see them but at that moment, beneath the bloody bandages, I’m sure her eyes twinkled.
“We walk by faith,” she murmured, “not by sight.”
Pat Patterson is a novelist and an instructor of Emergency Medical Services at Wake Technical Community College in Raleigh, NC. He is an EMT-Paramedic with 16 years of service and experience.