This past Tuesday I sat most of the day in the surgery waiting room while doctors worked to open nerve passageways in a loved one's spine. I am praying for her timely and full recovery, and that her walking is more sure and stable after she returns home.
The hospital where she had surgery -- in a major city nearby -- was a very crowded place. Being used to our local health care facility, I can honestly say that from time to time I was more than a bit overwhelmed by the scene. It just seemed so crowded.
As I was sitting and thinking about the situation, I was reminded of a passage in the fourth chapter of Luke's gospel.
It talks about how one day, as the sun was setting, people started gathering all around Jesus. It says that all those who had any who were sick with various kinds of diseases brought them to Jesus, and that he laid hands on each of them and cured them.
I thought about Jesus being crowded, about how the people were pressing against him and how the people behind those people were pressing in as well, about their sicknesses and diseases and about their hope.
And it made me think about this crowded place I was in and how these days we bring any who are sick with various kinds of diseases to hospitals and pray they can be cured.
Big hospitals can be very crowded places. People bounce off each other on their way to exam rooms or operating rooms or procedure rooms and lunch rooms and restrooms. It's sometimes unavoidable.
However, when we are ill -- when something dreadful in this world we live in has affected our bodies and our physical well-being -- hospitals are the places of choice for finding out what's wrong and for trying to find healing.
And don't be fooled -- hospitals are places of healing.
I would also add that we also are affected by some pretty dreadful things in this world that only Jesus can heal. And he does that in so many ways: Sometimes through the laying on of hands by believers, and sometimes by the laying on of hands by doctors, nurses, technicians, chaplains, and so many others.
My prayer for each of you today is that you may know the touch and the love of the savior to help you through those times when you must place your physical well-being in the hands of trained medical professionals.
I once heard someone say the divine touch of healing comes through human hands -- those hands are the vessels Jesus uses to heal us and make us whole.
It's a healing partnership that seems to be working well.