I’m shocked! I mean absolutely shocked! Now, I don’t normally write in order to rant. I’m a firm believer that people have better things to do than read my rants–or anyone’s for that matter. But if I don’t say something I know I’m going to bottle it up and I’ll probably have a hard time sleeping–maybe even a hard time functioning as a normal human being. And if I don’t warn you, you might also experience what I did and I can’t even bear the thought. The craziest thing happened to me today. Can I tell you about it?
Here’s what happened. I decided to go and visit a hospital. I didn’t go because I felt sick. In fact, I felt just fine. I went simply to scope the place out. Now, I don’t do that on a regular basis and what I’m about to tell you will probably be so disturbing that you will never want to step foot in a hospital again. And, truth be told, I can’t blame you. Yes, you can thank me latter. Anyway, I got into the hospital and was waiting in the lobby and quickly found out that I was surrounded by coughing, sneezing, hacking, puking people all shades of green and yellow. It was bad. I was about to sit next to one woman when I saw her nose was running like Niagara Falls. Better not sit there! But the next open seat was near a little kid with chickenpox. Can’t sit next to him! I eventually found a seat near an older man but thought I should ask why he was there, “Excuse me sir, why are you at this hospital?” He replied, “Because I don’t feel well. Why are you here?” Needless to say I didn’t stick around to answer.
I decided to get far away from the lobby and go walk down the hallways. But this wasn’t any better. I peeked into different rooms and everyone I saw looked like they were sick and dying. There were people with diseases–heart disease, kidney disease, lung disease; there were people with cancers–liver cancer, breast cancer, and colon cancer; there were people with infections–urinary tract, bacterial pneumonia, influenza; there were people with sicknesses of every kind–strep, meningitis, hepatitis, croup, ear aches, pink eye, fevers, rashes, mumps, and bumps! You could have probably found every sickness in the medical encyclopedia there. I couldn’t believe it. What a miserable place! What a terrible place! What a wretched place! As you can imagine by now I was in a bit of a frenzy. Did all of these people even know what was really going on here? So I did the only thing I could think of doing. I ran through the hospital yelling, “You need to get out! You need to get out now!” Well, apparently I caught the attention of doctors, nurses, administration, and, yes, even security. With a look of concern one of them stopped me and said, “What’s wrong?” Thinking they would listen I promptly replied, “This place is wrong! It’s full of sick people!” You know, I think it was his response that really irritated me. He should have been thankful for my acute observation–they all should have been. I’d just done them all a favor. But before being escorted out by security he looked at me and said, “Of course it’s full of sick people. It’s a hospital.”
Now, I’m not going to claim to be very good at satire (sorry, this is my first attempt!). But there’s a point. We all know what to expect when we step into a hospital. We’re going to find sickness. That’s why hospitals exist. In the same way, that’s why the church exists. The church is full of sinners! Ever wonder why Jesus spent so much time healing the sick and diseased? Because the outward condition of the infirm was a mirror into the soul. They didn’t just need physical healing, they need spiritual healing. Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick” (Mark 2:17). Yet, we’re shocked when we find sin-sick people in the pews. People who struggle with every sin in the encyclopedia of sin. Or, to put it more personally, I forget that’s the reason I’m there too. The church is a hospital. Actually, if we were more open, honest, and transparent, an Emergency Room may be more to the point. And the true health of a church is measured in our willingness to acknowledge our sickness and use the only remedy God has given–the gospel of Jesus Christ.