Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,  for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.~Matthew 6:34

It had been an exhausting day for me at a local hospital, and I realized that, even with a longer day, there was more work here than would be humanly possible to accomplish. Finally, rounds were done, ward work completed, and sign-out finished. It was time to start “spiritual rounds.” After evening rounds, another team member and I often stayed to address the spiritual needs of willing patients.On this particular evening, we visited an elderly female, who was having a relatively lengthy stay in the hospital, due to Clostridium difficile diarrhea. We had visited and prayed with her daily, and our supplications seemed to provide strength from which we all continued to move forward. She was not a Christian, but enjoyed the time we shared together and was increasingly open to spiritual things.

Unfortunately, she was deteriorating rapidly, despite medical therapy. Her abdomen was becoming increasingly tense and surgery had been consulted. We entered the room quietly for our nightly visit and found her sleeping. Not wanting to disturb her, we gently placed on her pillow a religious book with a picture of Jesus on the front cover and left the room quietly. We wanted her to see it when she awoke and be able to gain strength and hope to keep going.

Upon returning the next morning, we waded through the multitude of requests and responsibilities common to our pre-rounding duties. We headed toward the room of our friend to check on her progress with hopes to have a conversation about the book we had left the previous night. Instead, we found an empty room and a bed with clean linens awaiting the next patient. Commonly, patients are relocated to other rooms during the night hours, so we inquired of the nursing staff as to which room our friend had been moved.

The charge nurse told us the whole story. Overnight, this patient’s condition significantly worsened, and it was decided to take her to the OR for emergency surgery. After two hours of surgery, she lost her fight with toxic megacolon and passed away. Our hearts were instantly saddened and heavy.

So many questions flooded our minds. Did she wake up and find the book? Did our visits help her find a peace that passes all understanding? Did she find Christ as her personal and loving Savior? Did she, like the thief on the cross, find the outstretched loving arms of the Savior ready to save?

How fragile life is. How precious the moments we have together with family, friends, patients, and each other. How important it is to never put off for tomorrow what we can do today, especially when it comes to spiritual things. This experience cemented my conviction that there is much work to be done to bring hope to people in need. Truly, today “is the day of salvation” for all of us.

-Craig Seheult, LLUSM class of 2009, is an instructor in LLUSM department of medicine and a hospitalist for a local medical group. This story occurred during his third year of medical school.