Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Emergency Room Reveals the Global Emergency of Lostness

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Many years ago, I was sitting in the emergency room holding my son David (then five years old). While playing with some friends, David had fallen and cut his face on a concrete wall. The bleeding was under control, but the cut would require stitches. On this particular day, there had been a major traffic collision nearby, so victims of the accident were being rushed in to the ER. Their needs were immediate as their lives hung in the balance. We had to wait several hours before we could see a doctor and get my little David stitched up.

The emergency room is a world of its own. It rotates on an axis that spins impartially between life and death. In the waiting area, I held David in my lap as the chairs around me filled up. The automatic doors opened continuously, admitting family and friends of the people involved in the traffic accident. Complete strangers had been brought together by disastrous circumstances. They now shared a common bond as tension, fear, and sorrow began to permeate the atmosphere. I sat in silent reverence of the tragedy as inwardly, I put David’s minor injury into perspective. I was not waiting for a verdict. I knew that David would be fine. The people around me, however, had no idea what lay ahead. With tears in their eyes and terror in their hearts, they hoped for the best.

Into this delicate environment swaggered a loud and arrogant drunk. He
fell into a chair and began to ramble with the idiocy that one meets at the bottom of a bottle. He complained loudly about a baby who was crying across the room. “Somebody needs to shut that baby up!” he thundered.

If looks could kill, this drunken slob would have died from multiple wounds as most everyone in the room turned their eyes like daggers on him. The old drunk had some nerve!

Then just as I started to think my own judgmental thoughts about this man, I remembered Matthew 9:36, “When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, He had compassion on them.” And I wondered, What does Christ see when He looks at that man? I knew immediately that He sees the same thing He sees when He looks at me. He sees a child who needs a Savior.

Christ looked at the crowd. The crowd means everybody--every walk of life: the drunks, the drug addicts, the manipulators, the victims, the preachers, the artists, the merchants, the children, the teachers, the lame, the bullies, the beautiful--EVERYBODY. Jesus was moved to compassion, not condemnation (or criticism either). That compassion went another step and found its expression in His commitment. He committed Himself to a cross in order that we, everybody, might be saved.

Can we view the crowd from the angle that is found only at the foot of the cross? And can we show our kids this perspective in our everyday lives?

It has been over 2000 years, and life continues to hang precariously in the balance of our global emergency room. The seats fill with complete strangers who have been brought together under disastrous circumstances. Tension, fear, and sorrow permeate the atmosphere. The enemy’s victims are everywhere. As Christians, we know the final verdict for our lives, but billions around us are in disastrous circumstances. Their needs demand immediate attention. With tears in their eyes and terror in their hearts, they wait to be diagnosed by our dedication, treated with the truth, and cured by our Christ.

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