He looked so sad when I first saw him. He was quite a few years older than I, but like I did during my first days in that impersonal hospital ward, he felt scared and worried.

My bed was on the other side of the room, but I gave him a reassuring smile.

“It will be all right.”

But he turned away, closed his eyes, and pretended he was asleep.

A hospital is a strange place. All patients are on the same level; everyone faces a common enemy—fear. What’s wrong with me? Will I get better? Will the operation be successful?

Later that day, I again tried talking with my fellow patient. I’d already been there for nearly two weeks and was starting to feel like a veteran.

“Why are you here?” I asked.

He looked so despondent, I almost felt bad I had asked. Then he softly answered: “I was going on holiday. Car was in front of the door. I went to use the bathroom one last time. That’s when I saw the blood …”

He fidgeted with the hospital sheet. “And now I’m here instead of in a hotel in France with my wife. I feel like jumping out of the window.”

Right then the doctor stepped in with a solemn face and told my new friend: “Mr. Williams, your surgery is scheduled for first thing tomorrow.”

When the doctor left, I could tell he was in the depths of despair. He didn’t want to talk anymore and pretended to be asleep again.

Suddenly I felt the nudge of God’s Spirit.

Write a few verses from Psalm 91 on a card and give it to him before he goes to surgery.

Psalm 91? What if he doesn’t believe in You, Lord?

Just do it!

So I did. The nurse gave him the card the next morning before wheeling him out.

The operation was a success.

And so was the card. When I talked to him the next day, he said: “Thank you so much for those wonderful words. They gave me so much strength. Did you write that?

“No,” I answered, “God did. They’re from the Bible.”

“Amazing…” he mumbled, then he smiled. “Maybe I need to read that book for myself.”