Submitted by Andy McIlvain.
I have been in the nursing profession for 10 years now. I am an LPN and have experienced nursing in a hospital setting, home health, and now in family practice. We in America, despite the dysfunction of our medical system, live in a time and place of unprecedented health benefits. Although many people do not get the health care they need, many do. We should be thankful to God for these blessings. Many people travel from around the world to have health care in our country.
Healthcare is a human endeavor within God’s creation, it is a gift. We are his hands and fingers. Yet we are still rebels in a fallen world. Even the most mature and sanctified among us is prone to selfish and sinful thoughts and actions by our sin nature.
As a nurse I am a servant to my patients. I get them something to drink or I wash their feet of some other task, often a menial one. My job is not to judge how they came into my care but to care for them. Just as God does not treat us as we deserve, I do not judge those I serve. As a nurse and as a Christian, I am not inconvenienced but eager to serve.
In addition to the bodily care we provide, we nurture the soul of the individual. We can listen to them, we can pray with and for them and their loved ones. Their lives are out of control, and they hurt both physically and spiritually. People are often difficult and rude in the midst of their pain. I am called upon to be empathetic, compassionate and ultimately Christ-Like in these situations. God is our Helper, he sustains us. Just as he sustains me, he calls us to do the same for others, so, as a nurse, I have the privilege of doing that for a living.
Throughout history Churches and monasteries have cared for the sick and injured. Christian doctors and nurses, following the example and teachings of Jesus, have led the way in efforts to alleviate human suffering, cure disease, and advance knowledge and understanding of medical care.
The world and our culture values our individual fulfillment and desires more than the gospel of grace. The idolatry and selfishness of self-determination in medicine is endemic as it is in all things. Yet the providential grace and mercy of God does not leave us to our own devices.
God has allowed suffering and sickness in my life to make me more aware and empathetic of the adversity experienced by our patients, which makes me a better nurse, a better servant. This sanctifying process of becoming more holy, more Christ-like, through the daily battle of renewal is grounded in Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit. I am weak and overwhelmed, but, through Christ and the Holy Spirit, I can minister to our broken and hurting world. So can you!