I’ve been thinking…that can be dangerous! I’ve had a lot of
time to think at a hospital for the last few weeks. My father-in-law has been
there but doing much better, as we speak. Nonetheless, through testing and
treatments, we’ve spent long days and nights with him as he battled illness. As
the room grew crowded with medical personnel or visitors, I would walk down the
hall to a waiting area. It just so happened that the only one on the floor was
behind the family area near the Intensive Care Unit.
I tried to read a magazine, read a book, or fiddle with the
iphone that I still barely know how to use, however, I was distracted by the
people I couldn’t help but notice. My heart was aching so much that I couldn’t
concentrate. It wasn’t that they were talking loudly, eating snacks or watching
“Judge Judy” like many of the other waiting areas. There were families huddled
together crying. There was an elderly woman alone, anxiously wringing her hands
and checking her watch, as she waited for the Doctor. There were a few solemn people
pacing restlessly. In walked a Doctor and everyone looked up as if they were
waiting for the inevitable answer to the question-good news or bad news?
The Doctor headed for the elderly woman and I overheard part
of the conversation. She was given a choice regarding her husband, to remove a
tumor or not but with great risk in both scenarios. The room where I was
sitting was separated by a partition but I could hear everything. Did I belong
there? Was I intruding or did I happen on that room for a reason? I felt like I
was invading the privacy of loved ones so I started to leave but when I did… I
looked again. I looked at the lady in tears, so worried, and faced with such a
decision…a life and death decision. I imagined that they were part of that
great generation who stayed married through sickness and health and ‘til death
us do part. I wanted to stand on my chair and say, “Let us pray, I know a
Healing Jesus.” Or maybe I could just go to one or two people and offer to pray
but…I just sat there. It’s one of those times when you ask yourself, “Do they
want bothered or should I just show respect and pray silently?” I opted for the
latter and sat alone in my chair and prayed for these hurting people as I hurt
I sat awhile longer and thought. I watched what was going on
around me as doctors and nurses hustled about. Then I noticed the
sign-Intensive Care Unit. I realized those words meant something. These
patients were in special need. They needed a type of care that was dictated by
their illness…intensive care. The word intensive describes a concentrated
effort in order to achieve something in a short amount of time.
It’s very serious when someone is transported to Intensive
Care…and so my train of thought kept chugging down the track. How many people are
in need of special care and aren’t in a hospital to get it? How many walk in
and out of churches hurting when they get there and hurting when they leave?
Where are our concentrated efforts in churches and in the Body of Christ, in
general? We care about the music, the preaching, the announcements, the events
but where’s our hustle, what are we missing? A doctor and nurse would never
ignore a patient in the Intensive Care Unit because their work means life or
death…doesn’t ours too? The gospel is
not merely to be preached, the gospel is what we are and what we do.
We have a short amount of time to achieve results and we
have to notice what Jesus did in His ministry on earth. He went to the hurting
and He still does; His care is intensive and His efforts are endless.
I learned something in that waiting room and I was reminded.
I walked out and was thankful that I could walk. I felt sorry but not for myself-My sorrow and
compassion were for those on six floors of a hospital. I once heard someone
say, “If Jesus came to earth, He wouldn’t make His first stop at a church, He
would go to the nearest hospital.” He was and is His own ICU…I got the hint.