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FIRST-PERSON: The Great Physician’s emergency room

ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)–You know you’ve been to the hospital too many times when the emergency room staff knows you by name. When my boys were younger, I think we even may have qualified for customer loyalty cash back on certain hospital procedures.

Those painful memories of many minor hospital visits rose to the surface again recently. My week ended with my daughter needing an emergency visit to the dentist because of an abscessed tooth. Two days later, my youngest son fell off a scooter and we were in the emergency room getting a splint on his elbow and arm. Spring training for high school football started two days after that and we were back in the hospital because my oldest son received a mild concussion from a blow to the head.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate the medical staff and their wonderful skills, but I would like to appreciate them from afar. I think it is much better to recommend doctors based on other people’s evaluations than from first-hand experience.

“It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick,” Jesus said. I thought a lot about his words lately.

Our family knows what it is like to need a doctor. We couldn’t fix or properly diagnosis the problems of our children; we needed a specialist.

During one of my visits to the hospital a woman named Christi was working the late shift. She had the most pleasant attitude, in spite of the fact she had to be back at work at 7 o’clock the next morning.

As we visited during my late-night check-in, I asked where she attended church. Christi was a regular at her church when she was not required to work. She shared with me that she was a single mom and church was very important to her.

I asked her a question, “What do you think God requires for a person to go to heaven?” She gave me the correct answer of placing faith in Jesus alone for salvation. We might be tempted to respond to her response by saying, “Praise the Lord,” and not probe further. However, my follow-up question revealed something startling. “Christi, have you placed your faith in Jesus?” She shook her head, no.

I shared the Gospel with her. I went through various Scriptures so she could see in the Bible what she expressed with her mouth. In a few moments, she surrendered her life to Jesus in prayer.

In many ways, Christians serve as a triage nurse. We ask questions to determine the spiritual condition of someone. We share our knowledge of the biblical text and refer the “patient” to the Great Physician. Then we get to stand-by as an assistant while the Holy Spirit examines a person’s heart to draw that one into the kingdom of God. If that person is open to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, the Great Physician does heart surgery, giving the new believer a heart that beats for God.

I won’t get the choice about staying away from emergency rooms with my children. That is just part of being a parent with active kids. However, I get to choose whether to participate as an assistant to the Great Physician. It’s a place to receive spiritual blessings. I pray you will participate and be blessed too.
Keith Manuel is an evangelism associate on the Louisiana Baptist Convention’s evangelism & church growth team.

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  • Keith Manuel