The Hospital of the Great Physician
As you walk through the halls of a hospital or other health care facility, you will most likely pass by a vast variety of different lives, attitudes, illnesses and stories, all in varying and very differing stages of their existence. Some folks may have just been admitted, while others may be preparing for their departure. Some may have been acutely and accurately diagnosed, while others may be still anxiously awaiting their doctor’s determination. Some may be active and crying… while others may lie silent and somberly waiting. But one thing is certain: The patient’s rooms to either side are occupied by many hurting people whose bodies are in some sort and/or stage of affliction, and whose attitudes are probably as varied as their bodily diseases and diagnoses.
Take for example, the older gentleman in the room to the left. He has simply decided to stop trying. He knows that his doctor has the medication that could completely cure him – he just refuses to swallow it. He knows that his physical therapist has the plan to get him up, onto his feet, and moving forward to eventually going out of the door again – he just doesn’t want to put in the work, sweat, and effort necessary to accomplishing that. He has decided that it is oh so much easier to just lay there in bed; have hospice come in a couple or three times a week to help make him a bit more comfortable; request a morphine shot every so often just to deaden the pain of his suffering; and then to just eventually, slowly, and silently drift away and die – which is the inevitable end result of any and all such lazy and lackadaisical attitudes of disinterest in putting forth whatever effort is necessary in order to get better, stronger, and back to living life to the fullest once again.
Then, there is the lady in the room to the right. The doctors have done all they can. They say she may never walk again. The accident left both of her legs in a terrible, tangled up, and broken-boned mess. She, like the man in the room across the hall, knows what’s at stake. She knows that her doctors are holding back nothing in their diagnosis, and she appreciates their honesty in telling her the truth. Her physical therapist marvels every time he thinks of how intently she listens, how much pain she pushes through in order to make any progress, and just the sheer amount of effort she puts forth no matter how painful the exercise he promotes. There is no doubt in his mind or anyone else’s at the facility that this lady is absolutely going to do everything in her power to heal, walk, and live again. Just this morning the hospice nurse walked into her room by mistake, took one look at the look in her eyes, and quickly realized without a word that this lady would most likely one day soon be walking again – in the same manner in which she, the hospice nurse, then turned and walked out of this lady’s room and into the needlessly dying man’s across the hall.
Three weeks later, things would be far different. Both rooms would, by then, be occupied by different residents. This, because while the man who refused to put forth the effort to listen to those who knew, and to do what they said must be done in order for him to get better, was three weeks later being remembered and buried by his friends and family. The lady from across the hall was also surrounded by friends and family as well… only it was as she walked very slowly but determinedly down the aisle, to the absolute and teary-eyed delight, and side, of the love of her life.
The Lord’s church is His body (Eph. 1:22). Local bodies of His children are also referred to as “churches” (Rom. 16:16). The Great Physician has given them all the Great Prescription that will heal and help them… but which ones will take it and do it is the greatest of questions. Some of His local bodies are needlessly dying today because of their lack of desire to put forth whatever effort is necessary to truly get spiritually stronger. Others will exhaust any and every effort, no matter how painful, to one day walk with Him in white. Which one are we?