What can your church learn from a hospital?

I’ve spent a great deal of time in and out of the hospital recently. Sitting around various waiting rooms I began to think about what could a church learn from a hospital. In many ways these institutions are dissimilar. However, there are innumerable real life lessons discovered down the hallways of a hospital that bring focus to mission and visions for life both individually and corporately.

Here are a few reflections…

-Bad stuff happens, be ready!
Life inside a hospital causes you to quickly learn that suffering is inevitable in this life, for some more severe than others. Some try to ignore the possibility of pain, others figure out things to blame the suffering on. But ignoring is ignorance and too many people are busy arguing questions that people who are hurting aren’t even asking. Jesus clearly tells us hard times are part of our humanity. (John 16:33…In this world you will have trouble.)

So, as churches and as followers of Christ we need to prepare ahead of time. We need to be ready for the likelihood of suffering and not be swept away by trouble whether that be our own or that of another. In Christ we have the power and the perspective needed to endure any and every trial, as the remainder of the previous verse states…
John 16:33 In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

-The proper diagnosis determines treatment
If it’s discovered that you have cancer, advice to ‘take two aspirins and call me in the morning’ is a prescription that would get many doctors a sucker punch on the chin. Diagnosis is foundational and leads to the proper course of treatment. This is why so much time is taken to determine and confirm the right diagnosis, so that the very best plan can be made.

Often in our lives, and in our churches we are more interested in treatment options than we are fully understanding the diagnosis. Christian bookstores are filled with the equivalent of self-help books, sermons are laced with 6 steps to a happier, holier home and a hotter husband. We love to do stuff, we value helping ourselves.

Yet the gospel truth is that everyone of us are ravaged to our core by sin, a disease more menacing and demanding than the vilest cancer. We are held in sins vice grip, and none of our 6 steps to freedom or self-esteem exercises can break it’s power. Only through the loving and costly grace of Jesus Christ can sin be overcome and salvation found.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

For some this does not seem to come across as an encouraging story, BUT I believe that only when we discover the gravity of the diagnosis of our sinful state, will we be able to fully embrace and rejoice in the glory of Christ! The biggest problems in our churches and in our lives are not divorce rates, financial or sexual issues, rather, it’s sin! So then, turn to Christ, run to Christ, and trust Christ today, everyday, and every day after!


11 thoughts on “What can your church learn from a hospital?

  1. Thank you!! You packed in so much here, and I want to grab hold of it, as an individual, as much as a church. What ‘medicine’ am I dishing out to someone in need? What’s their greatest, most pressing sickness?

    From just another person who is praying for all of you, daily!

  2. Oh, Aaron, I don’t think anyone could have preached this sermon better than you did. Thank you for the brutal reminder of our human condition. And thank you for allowing God to use you in a powerful way during your own time of crisis.

  3. Loved the next to last paragraph! Oh and the two words – IGNORE and IGNORANT
    Strikingly similar huh.
    Thanks for the post and I am continuing to pray for Kate.

  4. Your words are so encouraging. I am truly amazed by the power of grace and your ability to not only receive it but to then share it with others so that their journey might be fruitful. God bless you and your family and thank you from a truly grateful heart.

  5. I confess . .I hate that we face suffering in this world . . sometimes the pain is so deep. Thankfully, we have Jesus to help carry us through. But to the fragile, the broken, the weak or non-believer, it sometimes seems like we are offering Jesus the same way we would offer a band-aid. How do we help others to know the real strength and comfort that only God can bring, when we ourselves are looking for the “quick fix”? Your comment “We are more interested in the treatment than understanding the diagnosis” jumped out at me. Yes, we want to get better . . .we don’t want to take the journey of pain, questions, doubts, waiting, the time of being refined, it just hurts too much. so, when it comes to the treatment, I think we need to ask, are we willing to endure all that may be required on our part to get to the healing?

    Thank you, Aaron, for sharing . .I think you have given me a lot to think about. In the meantime, I am praying for you and Holly, that as you minister to those around you in those hospital walls, that you find strength, courage and wisdom. Prayers continue for Kate. And Olivia and Will.

  6. All I can say is, “Amen!” Thank you for sharing God’s pure Word even admidst your pain. Have followed and prayed since day 1. God bless you and yours and hold you in the palm of His hand.

  7. Beautiful words of wisdom Aaron. So very applicable to all of us on this journy of life. Let us each one look into our hearts and lives and see the disease that may be fatal in separating us from that precious gift – and ultimate healing – called “eternal life”.
    My prayers are unceasing for little Kate.
    Blessings on this Sabbath Day.

  8. Wow. Well spoken! I think part of being ready for the bad stuff to happen is being honest and vulnerable as the Body and being willing to admit when things are going badly. We hide our brokenness and put a cute bow on all the things that hurt us because it is so hard to admit that bad stuff does happen.

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