Words of Hope: An Inspiring Example of Listening to God’s Will

Dad loved biographies more than any other type of book. He read to me children’s stories of inspiring people. One person he loved was Florence Nightengale. When we were in London, I had my daughter pose by her memorial. I had been so struck by her life! She was brilliant as a child and pled to learn math, not the traditional education of her gender – music, sewing, dancing. Her parents finally relented and found her a preeminent math tutor. He reported she was one of his brightest pupils.

Deeply devoted to God, she prayed to hear her life’s calling. She felt led to be a nurse and began to study in Europe because England did not allow medical education for women. She began to grow a following of women who aspired to serve in this way. When England entered the Crimean war, she was called on to help. Thousands of men were dying, not from war but from wounds and neglect. She and 38 volunteers traveled to Crimea to assist. Florence believed encouragement, nutrition, and loving aid would make a change. Despite all the nurses’ best effort, 40% of the men continued to die.

A doctor came to the clinic and reprimanded Florence. He scolded her severely for the sanitary conditions of the clinic. She obeyed his demands and instituted a rigorous cleaning regiment. The nurses even drained and scoured the sewer underneath the hospital. (This doctor, in a later autopsy, was discovered to be a woman who had hidden her identity the majority of her life so that she could be a doctor.)

Based on the new sanitation regiment, the nurses began to see immediate change. The improvement was astonishing. The death rate fell from 40% to 2%, seemingly overnight. Florence became a disciple of the importance of diligent sanitation. However, much of the medical world remained unconvinced. Doctors moved from patient to patient without washing or sterilizing any equipment or even their hands!

To build her case, Florence invented a pie chart and created her own record of statistical evidence. She provided data of the dramatic medical improvements due to the changes in sanitization. Her research and statistics went around the globe and revolutionized nursing and medical practices.

Florence inspires me to continue to listen to passion. I believe passion to do God’s will is one of the most powerful and beautiful stories on earth.
I bless Dad for teaching me about her.

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity. – Titus 2:7