Real Faith

Working in a hospital, I often see people at their very worst - sick, tired, anxious, and scared. They get angry with us doctors, or at the nurses, or at their family as they lash out in the midst of these emotions. But we also see heartbreaking examples of people at their best, the academic theology I studied in Seminary revealed in the lives of the saints, faith in Jesus played out in front of me.

I have been watching a 38 year old mother die for a few weeks now. She has been holding on with severe liver disease and lung disease for a long time. We, as physicians, haven't had much (or any, really) hope for her survival for a long time. Every day, though, when I came in, her sweet grandmother was by her bedside, praying over her. She had the kind of faith Jesus talks about when he uses the term "faith that can move mountains." This morning, though, this mother was no longer able to fight, and passed away. Her earthly body, eaten up by the fruit of her sins, betrayed her. At her bedside, I heard her Grandmother say,

"The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh. Blessed be the name of the Lord." There was no questioning, no doubt in God's goodness, even in the midst of this tragedy.

Then I watched as her 11 year old son sweetly kissed her goodbye on her forehead.

As much as I love my new profession, without my hope that there is more to death than just the final shudder, the final heave of the chest, the last electric rhythms of a slowing heart, I'm not sure I could get through a day like today. I listened as this family prayed together with a chaplain, and praised God that their mother, daughter and granddaughter was finally in a place where she would suffer no more.

"I will ransom them from the power of the grave;
I will redeem them from death.
Where, O death, are your plagues?
Where, O grave, is your destruction?" - Hosea 13:14

Blessed be the name of the Lord.


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