I recently went into the hospital for a seven-hour, intricate procedure that would include three days in the ICU. I prayed about finding someone there who might be open to hearing of Christ and his restored gospel. Places like this are wonderful opportunities to reach beyond our usual circle of acquaintances; we meet people we might never see again.

And so I prayed. And once again I discovered that when we let Heavenly Father know we’re in the game, he gives us a jersey and sets up the players. At one point, I experienced hearing my name called twice, yet I was completely alone.

Well, we all know what that means, right? Someone is coming for us! We’re about to cross through the veil. At least that’s what first sprang to my mind. And when a nurse came in to check on me, I asked, “Are you a woman of faith?”  Her reply was confident and immediate. “Yes ma’am, I am,” she said. I told her I’d heard my name and we talked about the possibilities. It was odd, yet in a wonderful way, to be able to speak frankly with someone else who knew that death is but a door to the next realm. She belonged to a different church, but I think we both enjoyed sharing our common hopes, our faith, our lack of fear, and our trust in God’s timing.

And I knew it wasn’t my time to die. Not yet. But I was being prompted, by name, to pay attention. This particular nurse already believed. There was someone else God had in mind.

So the patient was patient and waited. The next nurse came in and I asked her the same question. Are you a woman of faith? She, too, was instant and firm in her response. But hers was in the opposite direction. “No,” she said. “Nothing.”

I looked into her eyes and she continued, “I mean, I think there’s probably a divine creation.”

“That’s fantastic!” I said. “That’s the perfect place to start.” I thought of Ammon teaching King Lamoni and beginning with that simple seed. Something about life indicates a design, a plan. Merely having a hunch about that is wonderful.

 “But you just aren’t sure about God, right?” I asked her. 

 She nodded.

 “Here’s how you can know,” I said. And I could see that I had her attention. “Find a quiet place later today, somewhere that you can be alone.  And then just pray four words. Ask, ‘Do you love me?’ Then listen, and watch what happens.”

She clutched her forearms. “Oh, I just got chills,” she said.

I smiled. “You also just got an answer.”

Yes, I know that we can get chills for lots of reasons. We can cry because of emotion, not solely because it’s the Spirit. But when we experience enough chills and enough tears of both kinds, we learn to tell the difference. And this was one of those glistening moments when the Spirit filled the room. This was the person I was supposed to meet. This was the most joy I had felt in a long time. I’m grateful to God that He gives us opportunities to share His love no matter where we are.

Hilton’s newest work, A Little Christmas Prayer, is not just for Christmas. Sometimes it takes a child to raise a village, and this tale teaches anyone, of any faith, the magic of gratitude. All her books and Youtube Mom videos can be found on her website. She currently serves as an Interfaith Specialist for Public Affairs.