On Sunday, I had a short sermon all ready for the chapel service Nancy and I lead every Sunday at the hospital. No one comes, but some people watch, live or on the recording.
On Sunday, we didn’t have the service, so I could be with a family who lost a loved one. So I decided to share a bit with you. One of the texts was from Luke 15. Here’s some of what I write.
I think we wonder sometimes if Jesus knows we are in the hospital. The shepherd unaware of the sheep who are here.
Because if he knew, he’d be here, right?
Climbing the stairs, two at a time.
Holding up a hand to stop the protestations of public safety.
Winking at the RN, asking the tech for a blanket, and then telling the patient, telling you, to stand up and walk.
After a month of tests, after a decade of illness, after a day of the tiniest of NCU breaths, a miracle.
All the well people out there left to their ignorance and comfort, the shepherd attending to us.
And the shepherd turning from the patient and looking right into the eyes of the nurse, hardened a little against the tears. And saying, with the quietest of voices, “You were doing the best you could do all along. You really were. This is the hardest kind, the most challenging, the almost impossible for anyone but me. Thank you.”
And in that moment, the nurse knows that God came down from the administrative suite and left the 99 in the insurance company, 99 who have no understanding of the battle right here, and found her, sat with him.
And the chaplains, even the chaplains. The valiant, flexible defenders of God’s sometimes, always, incomprehensible work. Creating space for him. Sometimes creating what feels like excuses for the imprecise, impermanent healing. Wondering why Jesus is with the comfortable, safe, happy stories and why we are here.
I think we wonder, sometimes, some of us, if Jesus really knows we are in the hospital.
It happens. All the time, each day, with no need of condemnation, we lose track and feel like we are lost track of.
But we are not. We are not ever out of the mind of God.
Why does he let that happen? Or cause it to happen? What is the lesson God is trying to teach us. What are the lessons we are supposed to learn.?
What if there aren’t lessons. Other than, perhaps, that God is intensely in pursuit of us?
Because he is. Not to fix things around us, though sometimes that happens. Not to give us understanding of what is happening, though that happens sometimes. Not to make things comfortable, not to let us build such walls of comfort that he isn’t needed.
God is intensely in pursuit of us because he loves us. And wants us to be in that love.