They are common, I am told, and easily treated. Never having had one until now, I have found them UN-common, and as treatable as a Kool-aid stain on carpet. Regardless, God promises to work all things together for good, including a urinary tract infection.

It struck about two months ago, with a vengeance. “Take this medication, and you’ll be all better.” I believed the doctor and did my duty, but relief did not come the first time. Or the second. Or the third. Oh yeah. I have tried six medications and liters of cranberry juice. This little infection is a doozy.

In the meantime, I have been learning about our town’s health center. If you need an appointment you can get one, as long as you book it three months in advance. If you are one of those normal people who cannot predict her illnesses 90 days before they occur, you get worked in. Here is how.

I show up at the health center at 8:50 AM. At 9:00, the doors open, and the 40-50 people in line all take a number. The receptionist listens to our pathetic tales. If we are not pathetic enough, she tells us to come back another day. If we are sufficiently miserable to warrant medical attention that day, she takes our information and then tells us to sit and “wait just a minute.” Bless her heart. The big hand is for minutes, and the little hand is for hours—those two things that go by while I am sitting in the waiting room are not minutes. Then again, she is not the one with the infection.

Around 10:00, the doctors show up. We sit. Some fidget, one wiggles his foot, another rubs her thumb and forefinger. Nobody makes eye contact for long. At regular intervals, the intercom crackles out a name. We are waiting…waiting…then, there it is! Like a contestant on “The Price is Right,” the lucky patient gets up and makes his or her way on down to the exam room. Around 11:15, I win my chance to see my doctor, and my prize is two new prescriptions, which at that point is better than anything Bob Barker ever gave away.

On my way to the car, someone calls my name. It is a young woman who comes sporadically to our Bible study. She has a headache so bad that she skipped work and walked halfway across town to the health center, only to be told they could not work her in. I offer her a ride to the hospital, or wherever she needs to go. She accepts, and on the way, we talk. I have tried to help her grow spiritually. God has so far not been at the top of her priority list. For now, I am thankful for a chance to show her God’s love and to strengthen my relationship with her. Despite her pain, she says she wants to come to our Bible study again, and tonight I will visit her in the hospital. If God had not kept me at the health center for two-and-a-half hours that day, I would have missed a chance to reach out to her.

A month earlier, I had been waiting at the health clinic (again), marinating behind a thick book as the hours dragged along. Another patient simmered nearby. Suddenly, he boiled over. Puffing and pacing, he complained to anyone who would listen. The security guard and I looked up, caught each other’s glances, then stifled our chuckles. This guy was losing it. He lumbered up to a wall, did a wind-up, and slapped it. As the guard calmed him, I giggled behind my book. I could hardly blame the patient. After 60 years of waiting rooms, I might start slapping the walls too.

Last week, as I left the clinic, the same security guard followed me out. He had noticed my accent, and he wondered if I speak or teach English. He wants some extra help with a class he is taking, and we exchanged contact information. An opportunity to tutor is also a chance to speak about the Lord. My husband and I meet with him today.

Again, if I had not been at the health center, I would not have met the guard. I do not claim to understand God’s ways, but I believe that He orchestrates circumstances to put us where He wants us to do His work. If it took a nasty infection and two months of visiting the health center, then so be it.

Lord, please use me to do Your will. But Lord, if there is someone I need to meet who works at a trauma unit, burn center, mental institution, or jail, can You please spare me the ordeal and let me meet them at the grocery store instead?


©2014 Thrive.


Question to consider:  How have you seen God orchestrates circumstances “to put us where He wants us to do His work”?