There is so much suffering and pain in this world. It seems present wherever we look, especially in healthcare. We are exposed to trauma, unexpected death, cancer, infections, life altering illnesses, and tragedy daily. Even within the microcosm of the hospital, we can see and feel injustices. The insurance crisis and poverty, the opioid epidemic and addiction, human trafficking, child abuse, alcoholism, and more. It certainly seems overwhelming . What are we expected to do about it? Is it possible to even begin to fight a battle against something so much bigger than we are? Is there any point in the single voice speaking out against an administrative decision, or in support of a patient, or advocating for the sick. The answer comes from a surprising place, history.
I have been listening to a podcast titled “Hinge” which tracks two people’s joint search for the truth of Christianity and its evidence. It is an honest discussion attempting to ask and answer questions from the viewpoint of the atheist and the believer over 10 episodes. Episode 6 is devoted to the question “What would the world be like if Jesus never existed?.. if Christianity never existed?” It seems like an odd question to ask but the podcast details the changes that have occurred in human culture as a result of Christians. I encourage you to listen, but in short, the podcast discusses the world as it was during the time of Jesus, in 1st century Palestine:
Poverty is rampant.
Rule is by physical power and violence.
Land ownership is subject to rule and may be ripped away at any moment, without cause.
Servitude is common, even for those who were free under prior rule.
- Women have no rights, and no voice.
Daily life is painful, tiresome, and without hope of upward mobility.
Life expectancy is 30 years.
Injustice is plentiful and speech against the ruling party is met with swift and severe retaliation or death.
Into this world a single person appears, Jesus. He teaches a message of hope and purpose, radically different and free. Jesus heals, He feels the suffering of those around Him and weeps. He shows us His way and provides His body as a sacrifice for us all. Through Him, Christians begin building a community of hope and love, one that will even care for the injured and outcast of other cultures. The origins of hospitals rise from Christian asylums for the untouchables. As history records it, the Christian faith leads believers to fight oppression and slavery, fight for women’s rights, establish democracy, and introduce concern for the welfare of the common man. This is the history of our modern day democracy, our freedoms, and our healthcare institutions. It all began with Him and a few followers.
Why are we discussing this? Because these changes were not foreseen by the early Christians. They had faith in a greater plan and did not live to see the fruits of their labor, but fruit in abundance was produced. As we work in our own hospitals and clinics, we may feel a pull toward an issue, a problem, or a cause. This is not an accident, and it is not the rambling of naivety and youth. Our creator has given us the hearts and minds that yearn for justice, burn with the fire, and cry with tears of empathy. God gives us the capacity for passion and lays upon our hearts the yearning for a better way. Our platform may not be popular, and it may not be well known, but that did not stop our Christian ancestors. We are called. We may be the only ones carrying the light of Christ into the world around us. We follow the examples of William Wilberfoce, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, and so many others. Their contributions were not immediately obvious yet they changed the world.
The world is certainly a better place because of Christianity and its believers. Listen to that pull, that calling. It may be the very spark the Lord will use to bring about the change that we seek. I don’t know where the Lord has placed you or what cause He has laid on your heart, but I am certain it is no accident.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31