It wasn’t my usual grocery store, the one where I organize my coupons according to aisle, and can get in and out as fast as humanly possible. No. I dropped into this one because I was headed in that direction and needed to pick up a few items. I don’t like to dally at the grocery store, especially not with Thanksgiving just around the corner. I was standing on yon side of the store when an announcement came over the loudspeaker, “Billy Albertson come to the pharmacy.”
God has been doing this to me lately, dropping me in places where he can use me; like the gas station on Monday (more on that in another post), and the Christian Authors Guild on Monday night. He’s been pruning me, carving a little nick in my ear so that I will hear His call.
Knowing that there is only one Billy Albertson, and he isn’t on any medication, I drove my buggy to the non-yon side of the store eagerly anticipating one of those love-filled Farmer Billy hugs. Perhaps he was there for a flu shot, I thought. My stomach flipped and my heart hurt when Billy turned and I caught a glimpse of him.
He had aged, badly. His skin dull, lackluster. His stance, stooped over. His eyes tired.
“What in the world?” I asked while easing him toward the door. “What is going on with you?” Whatever he had, it was obvious he needed to be home.
“Doctor’s don’t know,” he pulled up his shirt sleeve revealing a puffy calamine-painted arm, “they’ve cut a hunk off’a me and sent it off.”
Dialing Daughter Number One I said, “Your father is ill. What is going on?”
I learned that Billy’s doctor-an incredible, and very competent and compassionate man- had spent two hours examining Billy, then sent him straight to the hospital earlier in the week for a variety of tests. Billy does not have shingles. Billy is home and for the family, neighbors, and concerned friends who may be reading this, we also need prayers for rest. According to all reports, no one really knows what is going on. This is a random ailment. All I know is that Billy is ill and he is not himself, and that we must wait for the biopsy results. Billy’s doctor is on this like a chicken on a June-bug, but the Great Physician is ultimately in charge.
“You read in the Bible where Job took pieces of broken pots and scraped his skin,” Billy said. “I am in such agony I could scrap myself clean to the bone.”
Sounds like Chicken Pox doesn’t it? It also sounds like Shingles. Right now I do not know, neither do the doctors.
What I do know is that God put me in the grocery store, the one I never visit so I could be placed in Billy’s path; so I could ask you to pray. Even though the biopsy is marked STAT, the doctor doesn’t anticipate receiving the results until Friday. Would you join me in praying that the results come sooner? Would you ask that the doctor know how to treat Billy’s condition?
And would you please pray for healing?
Blessings to you!
Renea Winchester is the award-winning author of Mountain Memories; True Stories and Half-Truths from Appalachia. Her first book, In the Garden with Billy: Lessons About Life, Love & Tomatoes earned her a SIBA and GAYA nomination. In 2014, Mercer University Press will release her next book titled Farming, Friends, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches. Email her through her website at www.reneawinchester.com