The frailty of our human condition cannot be ignored forever. We all get older. Our bodies wear out. In a hospital, humanity’s playing field is leveled. Sure, some folks have private rooms. They get preferential care that others can’t afford. But, everybody is sick and they know it. Patients in a hospital are reduced to the same activities. Most wonder, worry, and wait.
We have a loved one in the hospital this week. My wife has spent quite a bit of time sitting by her side, even spending four nights with her. Noemi is farther along in the sanctification process than I am.
When one is in a hospital, waiting long hours for a diagnosis and treatment, anyone who enters the room provides momentary hope. It doesn’t matter who it is. Nurses, doctors, orderlies, friends, or family. All are potentially bearers of good news. The words they carry and the things they do are highly anticipated. Will they bring good news or bad?
Healthcare providers know that those they serve are sick. Their objective is to intentionally look for ways to return sick patients to health. They study those they care for, desiring to help, not to hurt. Though prescribed treatment may be unpleasant and even painful, hospital workers want those who are broken to get better. Surgery may be required to remove cancer or stop the bleeding. Temporary pain may need to be inflicted for real healing to take place. Most people who care for the sick see them through the lens of compassion. This week I have seen loving people at the hospital tend to my family with compassion. We are very grateful.
What About the Church?
Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness. Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. – Matthew 9:35-36
Like every other believer in Jesus, I have been undergoing the process of sanctification since the day I came to faith on December 21, 1971. Yes, I am that old. Still, at 61 years of age, there are days that I feel and act like an undisciplined kid. Don’t get me wrong. The strong hand of God is at work within me. I am not the same man I was just a few years ago. This is because of His work in me, not because of my own attempts at being good. However, observing the intentional compassion of those caring for our sick one, I have come face to face with some deficiencies that I need to address. I must confess that there are times when one particular characteristic of my old sin nature raises its ugly head. Anger.
Twice over the last week I have allowed myself to be provoked to anger. When directly confronted with this, I reacted like a deer caught in the headlights of a fully loaded eighteen-wheeler. The truth of the matter is this. I have allowed someone in need to get under my skin. It got to the point where I stopped caring about this person’s condition as someone in need of compassion. I reacted as the “old man” would, rather than responding as the new creation I am. God has used our family situation to confront me with an issue in my own life. It hasn’t been pleasant, but I thank the Lord for it. This week, I have looked in the mirror. Hopefully, I won’t forget what I have seen.
So, what’s this posting really about? If you are a disciple of Jesus, you are a healthcare worker. First, the whole world is sick. They may not know it, but unbelievers are lying at death’s door waiting for someone who really cares about them to enter the room and offer words of hope, to share Good News. Second, within the Church there are a lot of wounded hurting people, people who are in the process just like we are. What should be done with them? Shoot them, or bind their wounds?
Disciple Daily Network
This video is part of a discipleship training series called the Stories of God, available on this website for free. Additional teaching training materials are available to members of the Disciple Daily Network. You can join our network today.