On arguing with your Doctor

The man walks through the revolving doors and looks around. The smell of rubbing alcohol immediately reaches his nose and he is reminded that he did not want to come here. He looks around at the half empty room and decides on a good seat as he walks to the counter.

“Do you have an appointment, sir?”

The man looks at the young woman and again is reminded of the hassle of the ensuing paper work. “Yes I should have been scheduled for 2pm.”

He half smiles, so does she. The woman checks her computer “Mm-hmph” and reaches down and hands out the large stack of papers that he was dreading to have to fill out. “Please fill these out and we will call you shortly.”

The man looks around and grabs a pen off the counter and looks back to see his seat has now been encroached upon by a lady and her son. The seat he wanted was not yet taken but the buffer zone he was counting on was now gone. He lets out a short sign and eyes another seat off in another corner by some fake plants and quickly approaches. He turns gives another glance over the room and sits down. He was looking around to make sure no one was also racing for the place. No one was. But he checked all the same.

He glaces at his phone 1:50pm. “Well, now for mindless paper filling out, it’s like I am still at work.”

He beings writing his name and birth date and social security number. “They should know all this”. He let’s the tedious work annoy him. He continues down through the document where it starts to ask pertinent and seemingly non-pertinent medical history. “Hufff, I don’t know why they need all this, what does my sexual history have to do with this?!” He continues on annoyed in the paperwork and at about 2:09 he concludes he has done enough.

He slams the pen down on the clipboard louder than he meant to, he quickly looks up to check if, but nobody notices. He gets up to look around as if someone was lusting after his seat, but nobody was doing that either and so he quickly dropped off the paperwork and returned to sit down.

“John?” The woman calls out.

He looks over his shoulder to the left and watches as a man looking equally as annoyed as him walks through the silver double doors to the back.  The man glances around and sees the typical magazines that people don’t actually want to read. He lowers his head and pulls out his phone to continue reading an article he had found interesting earlier at work. Of course CNN was on but he would rather read about it. After a few minutes into it.

“Martha?” A woman not to far from him on his left stands up and heads to the doors but her face is more one of fear than annoyance.

He continues with his article. The government has made a decision, saved the day by simply pushing their laws through without the voice of the people. Of course the man doesn’t read it that way. “It is time to move forward with culture.” He said quietly. “It was the voice of the people, there didn’t need to be a vote.” He continues reading and thinking ‘You can’t legislate morality, everyone knows that.’  He gets lost in the article again. A few more minutes pass…

“Samantha?” The man looks up and to his surprise the lady that had moved in on his last seat position was moving up with her son. The man wanted to speak up. ‘I was definitely here before her” he thought. Instead of causing a scene he sat back in his chair and decided that as usual the nurses just messed up the order. “Alight Peter, no big deal.” Peter continued to read another few minutes, and then like music to his ears.

“Peter?” He gleefully stood and up and walked through those silver double doors. “Follow me.” The nurse said. They walked down a white hallway and rounded a corner and she led him into room 307. “The doctor will be with you in a few minutes.” She half smiled and closed the door.

Peter sat back down and was slightly annoyed that he had to wait more but such is life he said. Many more minuter passed and he decided to start reading once again. Eventually the door opened and the Doctor came in. “Hello Peter, how are you today?” The doctor was an older man with the looks of about 50 with his grey hair parted to the side and small but thick glasses. He looked like the kind of doctor you would imagine and would want to be your physician.

“Just fine today Doctor, I really feel great.” Peter smiled truly this time.

“That’s good Peter, good to hear, well…I know they sent you over here for the results, so if I may?” He asked.

“Please Doctor, I am all ears.” He smiled genuine again. The Doctor open his folder and took out three X-rays. The Doctor scanned over his notes one last time and looked up.

“As you know we were very concerned with some of these spots.” He said holding up the the x-rays so that Peter could see. Peter was truly not worried.

“Well Peter, I think we have been preparing for this.” Peter’s smile did not change.  “I still hate to have to tell you this but it looks terminal.” The doctor said in the most gentile voice he could muster. With a bit of his own surprize from the lack of a reaction from Peter he continued.  “But not to worry it is still fairly early on, so we can probably make good progress with chemo.”

Peter just blinked again, “But I feel fine doctor, In fact I went for a run this morning and I still feel as good as I always have. In fact since the fall, I haven’t had an episode at all. I feel even better than before because I have been doing everything that was suggested. I can’t have caner, I can’t!””I am sorry to have to give you this news Peter, but again don’t worry there is so much we can do for you, especially sine it is early on.” The Doctor put his hand on Peter and tried to console him.

“No Doctor, I don’t believe you, I won’t!” Peter was physically shaking throwing off the Doctor’s hand.

The Doctor backed away and put his clip board up in front up him as if to make a bit of a barrier. “Now Peter, this is not the end by any means, we can work through this together, I have had quite a bit of success in this operation.”

“Noo! Doctor!! I won’t accept that, I won’t!” Peter stood up fuming. He looked at the Doctor and wanted to say something but instead he pushed right passed him and headed for the entrance. Peter stormed out of the reception and got into his car. “That Doctor doesn’t know what he is talking about, I feel fine. I am fine. I will show them.”

Peter continued his routine for months and convinced himself that he was fine and would not listen to anyone especially the Doctor. In two years, he passed away.

Now we understand the five stages of acceptance. We know that anger and denial are the first two steps, but we also understand that it is a tragedy if people stay there.

So sad. But is this really that unbelievable?

The church is a hospital. God is calling all to the house. We are all sick and in need of him. In fact it is so bad that we might as well be delivered straight to the morgue when we arrive. But all is not lost. Jesus Christ is the great the physician. He says that he calls not the healthy but the sick. He came not for the righteousness but for the unholy, in fact he came for our this very problem.

This is where Jesus says that we are, also that he is who we need, what we need, and he is available.

Furthermore the truth is that Jesus’s staff are also sick. This is a sick person run hospital, some may have earned their positions as nurses but they still need the great physician’s care as well, and he allows them to help. The job of the sick are supposed to bring their friends and loved ones because they themselves have experienced healing at the hands of the great physician.

See the great physician has already given the diagnosis. The call has gone out, it has been told on the mountains and in the streets. Some recognize their need and come to his hospital but some scoff at the notion that they are even sick. Both are sick but only one comes and gets treatment. When someone is convinced they do not have cancer no amount of discussion will change their mind. And certainly no amount of screaming will either.

If a man wants to walk the earth as a sick man rejecting the healing services of God there is not much I can do. This is why Jesus spent more time with those who heard his message rather than those who rejected it. He told them all of their need of the Great Physician but only the humble responded and received care.  This is the sad truth. It is not about types of sin or types of religiosity, it is always about humility at the diagnosis.

However compounding the issue sometimes the help tends to focus so much on the other people’s x-rays that they start to sound like they themselves are not also going through their own treatment as well. If I sound like I am not also in treatment for my own prognosis than others will start to resent that they need treatment and I don’t. I fear that sometimes we get into the business of instead of applying the healing balm of the Gospel we have instead tried to be evangelist’s for people’s sickness.

The church can never convince someone they are sick when don’t believe that they are. We can only point people to the great physician. Only the sick that realize they are sick will go, only they can recognize their pain and identify with it or reject.

I fear where we are culturally is that the church is trying to convince the world of something they will not see and they hate us for it. Maybe instead of trying to convince people they are sick we can only remind them that Hospital is open 24/7 and the Great Physician is always on duty.



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