2005-03-28 - Critical Care
1 Thessalonians 5:9, 10 "For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him."
As many of you know, my health has not been great for some time. This continues, and this past week, I spent Tuesday-Friday in the Critical Care unit at a local hospital. It probably sounds like a bigger deal than it was, but I was hooked up to lots of machines, and my arms are all bruised from being poked and prodded with needles so those vampires could take my blood. I asked on Wednesday if they would let me get out of bed and walk around some, and they agreed. I unhooked myself from the machines and took a walk around the 7th floor. I only did it once. As I passed the rooms, I realized that there was, on the entire floor, maybe two or three conscious people, out of all the rooms combined. Everyone else was out cold, head tilted back, mouth wide open, and tubes coming out of them everywhere.
My thought was that if this is how life ends, how sad an ending this is to lives that were probably once dynamic, and energetic; people who were loved, cared for, counted on, and positive contributors to society. My initial reaction was that this was depressing. Because of this, when I went for other walks in the hospital, I visited other floors. However, with every life experience, we should seek to learn and reflect upon what the Lord would have us take from our experience.
The first thing for me to consider is my own mortality. After all, I was placed on the same floor with these people. This should tell me something. Thankfully, I am not afraid of death. It is healthy to remember that our days are numbered, and spending a few days in the Critical Care unit was a helpful reminder of this truth. We ought to seek to live each day to God's glory. We would be fools to end up in the Critical Care unit of the local hospital, having lived lives that counted little or nothing for eternity. I suspect that several of those on my floor have already met their Maker.
I don't know where the people in the Critical Care unit stood spiritually, but my assessment would be that once they reach that state, they are beyond the reach of the gospel. Most were so drugged that they were kept in an unconscious state. The one that I did talk to was clearly on a drug that hindered his ability to reason. What I realized is that we must seek to share the love of Christ with others while there is still time. The myth of the "death bed" confession became so real to me this week, as I saw the helplessness of those who appeared to be at the end of their earthly lives. There really appeared to be no opportunity for them to turn to Christ in repentance and faith, even if they sought to.
Don't get me wrong, I am not becoming an Arminian here. I still believe that salvation is a sovereign work of God in Christ through the Holy Spirit, but we ought to seek to share this grace with others while the timing is opportune, and not wait until a moment of crisis. This is clearly something I took away personally from my experience this past week.
Soli Deo Gloria,