so you walk into the doctor’s office, tell the receptionist you have an appointment for 2:00 p.m. she checks the book, says, “oh yes, dr. so-and-so will be with you in a moment, please have a seat.” you sit, pick up the closest magazine… maybe, “medical weekly,” or a 1997 copy of national geographic and pretend to read it while you wait. and wait. maybe uncomfortably, depending on the nature of your ailment. you glance around at the other patients and wonder what could be troubling them…the waiting is tense for everyone…yet everyone is here for the same reason, bound by a similar desire – to be made well.
the inevitable moment comes when the door opens, dr. so-and-so sticks his head out and says, “come in!” you enter his sterile and slightly intimidating office, glance around at the charts of various human organs, his certificates and diplomas and the display of all his other achievements and qualifications. you sit on one side of the desk, he goes to the other side and, having sat in his chair, folds his hands across the desk, looks you in the eye and asks, “so…what seems to be the problem??”
whoa. i mean, hold on…. aren’t you going to have coffee, talk a bit, get to know each other first??? find out about his likes and dislikes, get to know his personality and if it gels with yours?? aren’t you going to ask him to list all his medical achievements in the last 10 years???
bear in mind, you don’t have what we would call, a close-knit, trust-proven-over-the-course-of-years, extremely tight relationship with this doctor. he’s not your best friend. he wasn’t there with the injury happened. he wasn’t with you when the sickness started developing. ignoring that, he’s not watched movies with you and cried with you and knows that your favorite color is brown and you don’t like uji. nope…he doesn’t know you at all. likewise, you don’t really know him… granted, his degrees nicely framed on the wall tell you that he’s had training. perhaps he was even recommended by a friend or a relative who knows him to be good at what he does. but, seriously…you don’t know if he just mis-diagnosed someone twenty minutes ago. you know nothing about his medical background. you don’t know how many mistakes he’s made. you don’t know if he’s faithful to his wife, if he hugs his kids, or if he likes dogs.
still… this total and complete (yet qualified) stranger looks at you and asks, “what seems to be the problem?”
and you tell him.
you tell him about the aches. and the pains. you tell him about the sleepless nights. you tell him about the wound. when he asks you questions, you answer them. when he asks you about your family’s medical history, you answer him. he might ask you some deeply personal and private things, yet you push past the discomfort of having to be very blunt with a stranger and tell him still. he might need to perform a checkup that requires you to take off some layers…. but you trust him. you comply.
why? why are you trusting him?? why put yourself on the line like that? why are you exposing things?? why are you talking about it???
i mean, why not sit down with this doctor and say, “you know, doc, if you’re REALLY a good doctor and if you REALLY care about me and if you REALLY want me to be well… then i think you should just KNOW what’s wrong… if you are really the doctor you say you are, then i shouldn’t have to tell you… you’re a professional! you’ve been trained!! you should be sensitive to my needs and be able to figure all of this out!!”
right? he’s a doctor! he spent YEARS learning how to fix the broken things in the human body. he should know. why should you start explaining things??
and here’s another thought… why should you take medicine??? especially if it’s gross medicine! i mean, if it’s candy-coated and you get to drink it with a milkshake… ok, maybe. but the nasty tasting stuff?? or even worse, what if you have to do something like physical therapy??? why should you go back to let them pull and stretch and cause pain??? is it really worth it?!?!
maybe it’d be better to just let the doc figure it out on his own. and only take candy medicine. and never do physio. it would definitely be more comfortable….
… here’s the point. we all can relate to the awkward doctor’s visits. we all know how it feels to have to expose things to the doctor… we all understand why it’s important, crucial even, to explain how we got the wound, how we’re feeling now and what’s really going on. we know that a proper diagnosis is dependent on understanding where the disease came from, how was in contracted… what caused the wound…we understand why we have to take medicine. we understand physical therapy. and surgery. we even applaud those who have really harsh stories of illnesses they battled or physical calamity they overcame. we celebrate the cancer survivors! we cheer on the car-crash victims who are having to learn to walk again! we love seeing medical miracles – tumors removed and hearts transplanted! it’s amazing! it’s inspiring!!!
but none of it would’ve ever happened if those people hadn’t been totally motivated by one thing and one thing alone… they want to be well. they want to be healed. they want to be whole. they have REFUSED to let accident, injury or sickness hold them back. they have adamantly decided that, whether the accident was their fault or someone else’s fault, they’re gonna keep fighting! they have decided to do what needs to be done to get better.
why are we so willing to do it in the physical realm, but not in the spiritual??
why do we sit at home, sick, hurting, dying even… yet we say, “if my pastor is REALLY a man of God, he’ll know what’s wrong with me! the Lord will show my cell leader and give him/her a word of knowledge.” why are we willing to swallow the embarrassment of having to get VERY personal with a doctor we hardly even know, yet unwilling to sit down with men and women who are DEDICATED to loving us and walking with us to say, “this is where i’m hurting…these are my symptoms… pastor, i feel pain when this area is touched… pastor, i got wounded when this happened… mentor, there’s a history of marital unfaithfulness in my family and i’m seeing signs that i may struggle with it as well… pastor, i need help. pastor, i don’t feel well… pastor… i’m hurting. i’m infected. i need.”
why, when our pastors prescribe medicine that tastes horrible or perhaps “spiritual therapy,” where we get stretched and pulled and worked hard, or maybe even surgery, where things have to be cut out and removed… why can’t we trust them??
is the medicine disgusting? yes.
does the therapy HURT? yes.
is surgery frightening? yes.
why are we doing it? because we want to be healthy. because the pain of healing is better to face than the pain of dying. because, though the process may be horrible, in the end, it leaves us better than before.
“but pastors are human… fallen man… they can fail. they could tell me the wrong thing. they might hurt me. they might not get it right.”
so could doctors.
it’s sad. it’s true. but we don’t judge the whole medical community by one doctor who failed.
do you want to get better?? don’t you want to be the one who BEATS that spiritual cancer that had been eating away your eternity??? don’t you want to stand back up on spiritually dead legs and walk?? and RUN!?!? don’t you want a heart transplant if the one you have now is dying or diseased?? aren’t you sick and tired of being sick and tired???? aren’t you exhausted from battling the chronic spiritual diseases???
God has set up a hospital. the church.
He’s got a great medical team. the pastors.
He’s got wonderful nurses. mentors. cell leaders. friends. family.
He’s got amazing medicine. the process.