"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.