The difference.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

"You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." - Matthew 5:14-16


I know I've mentioned it before,this cultural phenomenon here in the South that people call themselves "Christians" and go to church, but it pretty much ends there... well, it still baffles me. In my day to day life, I am surrounded by a lot of these people - and very few who are true believers. I have to be so careful when I say this, because who am I to judge who really knows the Lord and who doesn't? But I think it's pretty obvious when you encounter a person who is passionately pursuing Jesus, living out the Gospel, understanding that they are sinners in need of grace, etc. It's quite a contrast.

In many other parts of the country, it's much more black and white. If people aren't committed to Christ (or at least remotely interested), they don't attend church every Sunday. They don't plaster a fish on the back of their car and hang a cross around their neck. Not the case here. It's frustrating to be around many people who gossip about every.single.patient, insinuating the most horrible things about them when they know nothing, then talk about their Sunday school class... really?! It's not only frustrating; it's sad. They don't realize what they're missing, and they're the hardest people in the world to convince that they're missing anything (especially a relationship with the Lord).

But here's the thing... it's so encouraging to see a true follower of Jesus. And I had the privilege of seeing it first hand last week, in the midst of a crisis.

In the trauma unit during my last rotation, one patient was a teenage girl who had been involved in a terrible car accident and had not been responsive since being at the scene. Every clinical symptom pointed to her impending death, and her young parents were very realistic about the fact that these would be their last days with their only child. They were believers, and each time I watched them come to her bedside during visiting hours, there was a peace surrounding them that I had not seen with other families. The contrast was striking. They gently brushed back her hair from her face, held her hand, and often prayed aloud over her, over them, over their unimaginable situation. They exuded light. Faith. Hope.

The doctors were stunned. Angry, even. I heard a resident say, "They're saying it's 'God's will' that all of this happened to their daughter... how in the *#$#@* could they even think that?!" They didn't understand. Those parents were confident that they'd see their daughter again, and even though they weren't prepared to say goodbye just yet, they accepted His will with peace and hope. It was just her body anyway... her soul was safe. It was devastating and beautiful to watch.

All that to say, I know it's so often that our true character and faith don't really show until trials. But oh how I hope that my faith will be refined through fire! And how I hope that patients, friends, acquaintances see a difference in me because I know Jesus.

12 comments:

  1. You have summed up my experience in the Midwest. I had trouble articulating it when I came back to the West Coast until I made friends at my public liberal arts college. It was only then I could say, "I have met more genuine Christians at this Godless college in this Godless town than I did on my Christian campus in the Bible Belt." I think there is safety and apathy when we surround ourselves with like-minded people who are sitting on their faith.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well said! The Christian campus thing is quite an anomaly to me, and I know exactly what you mean.

      Delete
  2. I notice that too when I visit the States. It's totally different from how things are here in Czech. I can't say either is better, but I do know that God works in different ways for different cultures! And that each culture has its own spiritual strongholds, and problems. Our jobs are always the same though- be a light, pray for our friends and share with them the real message about Christ. What ended up happening with the girl (if I can ask)...what a great example of faith her parents were. THank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Claire, I really don't know what happened to her - but if I could guess, I'd say she was declared brain dead and was hopefully able to donate her organs. That would be the best case scenario, I think. Still so, so sad and shocking to that sweet family.

      Delete
  3. Great post. Medicine is such a good place to see where the "rubber" of our faith meets the "road" of hard times in life. It's challenging, but as a medical professional, you have such a good opportunity to love people well, and show them the love of Christ. My husband is a 4th year med student, and whenever he encounters patients like that, he always writes them a letter of encouragement. It's a good habit to get into!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for your husband! I know his patients must appreciate that so much!!

      Delete
  4. Wow! I have such chills & convictions. One of my favorite songs is Kari Jobe's "Light of the World" & I strive to be that every day!
    xoxo,
    Leigh

    ReplyDelete
  5. True. One of the reasons I like your blog is how faithful you are, even though we are not of the same faith by name. People often forget that He sends the Comforter for those times of trial as well, and that is truly merciful.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Your posts always seem to come at the right time and make me think about how I live my own life. I too pray that people can see a true Christian inside of me through all circumstances. You never know how long God has planned for us to live here on earth... The story you told in your post makes me realize how important it is to glorify God each day and not take for granted what He has blessed us with. Thank you, Whitney! You're such an encouragement to me! :) Love and Blessings...

    ReplyDelete
  7. as a parent to four boys... i know that we'll have a handful of moments where we are clinging to His plan and not ours (aside from the normal day-to-day trust and assurance, obv) - reading this breaks my heart. a good reminder of how to respond. my heart is breaking for those parents. yes, i will be glad to know that they are with God, but they bring so much joy to my life (and sharpen me as well... oh how the Lord has used them to highlight many of my weaknesses...) it would be a huge feat to be that parent.

    ReplyDelete

I just love reading every one of your comments...
If you leave a question for me, look for a response in the comments section!

Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground