I came across an old article by John Piper where he listed ten things he learnt following an unexpected stay in hospital. I have added my own notes to each point.

1. Don’t murmur about delays and inefficiencies in the hospital, when you are getting medical care that surpasses by a hundredfold what is available in 90% of the world.
Even in the worst circumstances there is always a reason to be grateful.

2. Don’t let yourself be numbed spiritually by the ceaseless barrage of sounds, noises, television, and chatter that surround you in the hospital.
It is difficult being in a situation where you can’t get away from the noise. It is a time to receive God’s enabling so we can focus our thoughts on him.

3. Don’t default to the television.
Television can be a good distraction if you are unwell. However it can go from being a resource to a source of comfort if we allow it to take over our minds. Choose what you want to watch and look to the Source of all comfort.

4. Pray for the patients near you and, if possible — without undue offense — see if your roommate will let you pray for him, and tell him words of hope in Jesus.
God knows those he has place around you for “such a time as this”. Praying for others also helps keep our minds off ourselves.

5. Realize that physical pain makes focusing on God’s promises more difficult and demands greater concentrating effort.
Don’t get discouraged if you can’t read, meditate or pray as you normally would. Instead keep your prayers, readings etc. short and simple.

6. Reach out to a friend or family member to help you.
Accept help, not just from family but from significant others. If it is a serious illness family members may also be struggling. Remember that God didn’t intend for us to do life alone.

7. Accept the humiliation of wearing the same unflattering gown everyone else wears.
Humility is hard to learn but it is good for us. It is a virtue highly valued in God’s sight.

8. Let the pain and misery of your body, and of the people around you, remind you of the exceeding moral horror and spiritual ugliness of sin.
Suffering is not God’s intention but came about because of sin. We become so accustom to sin and suffering that we forget it is an aberration.

9. Let the self-revelation of Jesus as the good physician be sweet to your soul, and preach to yourself that this light momentary affliction is working for you an eternal weight of glory.
The devil will tempt us to doubt God’s goodness during times of distress but focussing on the cross will remind us of his great love.

10. Pray that none of these hospital hours, none of this pain, none of these fears, none of these relationships, none of this life-altering season will be wasted.
Nothing in God is wasted. God will use suffering to mould us and make us more like Jesus. However it is often not until we can look back with the benefit of hindsight that we realize how God has changed us. Therefore be patience with yourself.