The old man opened his eyes and blinked. He didn’t move, he just stared at the white ceiling. He could hear his heart rate monitor with its steady beep….beep….beep….beep. He winced when the automatic blood pressure cuff went off. He hated it when it squeezed tightly on his arm. Pinching his skin. He wished everything weren’t so automatic anymore. It was nice when the nurses used to do everything in person. When they wouldn’t stand around in a crowded nurse’s station, monitoring their patients by the green and red dots on an electronic monitor. He sighed and rubbed his arm where the cuff had pinched him.
He looked over to his right. Where his chair normally sat was an empty spot. He groaned and slowly sat himself up in his bed, grabbing for the nurse call-button. After a minute, a male nurse entered the room. The old man liked this nurse. He was special. Many times this nurse had stopped by his room to chat for just a few quick minutes before moving on to help the next patient.
“What can I do you for, Sir?” The nurse asked with a smile.
The old man just tilted his head in the direction of the empty spot where his chair normally was and grunted, “My chair.”
The nurse nodded, “Oh yes, sorry, Sir. I think the patient’s family down the hall nabbed it while you were sleeping. Would you like me to get you another one?”
The old man closed his eyes and nodded. The nurse left to fetch another chair and the old man sat back in his bed and relaxed.
Out in the hall, a heavy-set female nurse saw the other nurse leave the old man’s room. She touched his arm as he walked by, “The old man wants his chair again, huh?”
The male nurse looked sternly at her, “Don’t call him “old man”. He has a name. And yes, he wants his chair again.”
She looked down and nodded, “Yes, sorry. But…” she looked up at him again, “why does he always want a chair? He never has any visitors. No one ever sits in it. I don’t get it.”
The male nurse looked at her and smiled, “I asked him that one time. He told me that a very special person always sits in that chair. When I asked him who, he said….‘Jesus.’”
The woman snickered, “Ah, I see.” Satisfied that her question had been answered, she hurried off to the nurse’s station.
The male nurse shook his head in disappointment and found a chair. He brought it to the old man where he was waiting patiently and sat it down close to the head of the old man’s bed. “Here you are, Sir, enjoy your chat today.”
The old man grunted his thanks and waited until the nurse left. He thought about how many times he had had his special conversations with God. He found his faith on April 4th, 1932 when he was only 20 years old. Ever since that first day, he always pictured Jesus, sitting in a chair, whenever he prayed. Since he had been admitted into the hospital, it was harder to do. It wasn’t that he couldn’t find the time, or an empty chair; he just realized that he didn’t have the energy anymore. All he could to do was barely sit up and the only words that came out of his mouth were non-audible grunts which only the male nurse seemed to understand.
The old man looked at the chair longingly. Today was not a normal day. Today he didn’t want that chair so he could talk with God. Today he wanted that chair so he could see Him. The old man moaned as he slowly lifted up out of his bed part-way. He looked at his Savior as He held out His arms in an embrace. Suddenly, the old man’s pain was gone.
An hour later, the male nurse came by to check on the old man. What he saw brought joyful tears to his eyes. There was the old man, with his hands folded on the seat of the chair, his head resting on his arms, with his waist and feet still in his bed. The old man was dead. His last actions having been to hold his Lord as he was welcomed Home.