Yesterday, in the emergency department, a woman cried and confessed to me how sad and depressed she has been for most of her adult life; she told me that her boyfriends always said cruel things to her; she lamented her lack of a way to make it in the world, because her job paid so little.
A little later, another woman told that her legs were hurting, but that they always had because when she was young, her mother constantly beat her with broom handles and other implements, under the pretense of ‘loving her and wanting to make her better.’  Later her husband was cruel to her as well.

It isn’t the first time.  People often tell me their stories.  Sometimes I just want to touch them, to comfort them.  Often, I try, if only by listening, by telling them I’ll pray for them, by offering them some little bit of hope.  Like telling them that however anyone else views them, God loves them like a beloved little child.

Holy week should resonate with everyone working in an emergency department.  I think that Jesus would have like the emergency room; no, I think he does.  Not because he enjoys suffering, but because it’s a place of vulnerability, where people often come when they are at the end of their strength.

I imagine him walking from room to room, listening, touching, praying, and forgiving.  Imagine that!  People with histories of evil miles long; with addictions like demonic possessions that force them to do horrible things; with crimes lurking in the recess of their minds.  Imagine Jesus forgiving them and setting them free!

Imagine Jesus saying, ‘No, you don’t need disability any more!’  ‘Pain pills are killing you; let me kill the pain!’  ‘I don’t care what you did, it’s gone now.  Go forth and sin no more!’

Holy week isn’t about some weird ancient religion of blood and hatred.  Holy week, the Passion, is about the Son of God coming down to the great ER of life, taking the wounds and lies and addictions and hurt and misery on himself.  It’s about Him taking all of that and immersing it in death so that it died, and he rose.

Sure, we’re still struggling.  Yes, messes and tragedy, sickness and death still exist.  But the hope is there.  The forgiveness is there.  There is love for the loveless and difficult.  There is healing for every broken part.  There is a promise of new life now, and new life later.
Jesus, the great ER doctor.

I believe that He dwells in all who follow Him.  Maybe that’s why they tell me the stories of their brokenness.  Not because of me; but because of Him, whom (hopefully) they see in me.

That’s what we need.  Jesus in us, in the ER, day in and day out, night after night.

Listening, confronting, forgiving, touching, rebuking, informing and most of all loving all of the people, good and bad, who come through the door.


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