Life in the ER – Theology Essay
Working in the emergency room of a hospital can be extremely hectic and demanding. Recently my cousin’s wife started a second career as an EMT in the ER. She could tell you how stressful it is at times and yet rewarding.
Perhaps, like me, you feel that you have been in life’s ER for most of your life. Life in the ER is a daily encounter with trauma, tragedy, and tears, but there are also times of joyous triumph. Job was one of the most severely tested men in the Bible. He experienced life in the ER – life full of trauma, tragedy, and tears. He lost his children in a terrible wind storm. His livestock were rustled by bandits. He lost his wealth and health and was misunderstood and falsely accused by his friends. Job lamented, “Man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7). In all of his troubles, Job never lost his faith.
How can we triumph while living in the ER? We may not know all the answers to why we face trauma, tragedy, and tears in life’s ER, but Paul reminds us, “For now we see in a mirror dimly but then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know, just as I also am known” (I Corinthians 13:12). Paul then gives us three foundation stones for an abundant, victorious life. They make us triumphant when we spend time in the ER. “Now abides faith, hope, and love, these three. But the greatest of these is love” (I Corinthians 13:13).
Note the following four things about life in the ER.
First – TRAUMA can be turned into triumph. What is trauma? The dictionary defines trauma as “Traumata [Greek]: a bodily or mental injury caused by an external agent”.
Job certainly faced trauma. Satan was the agent who assaulted him. Consider the mental anguish Job went through. He questioned God but he never lost his faith. He felt like it would have been better not to have been born. But then he comes to a place of triumph. “Though He slays me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15). Why did Job have such “faith, hope, and love”? This is perhaps the greatest declaration from a man ever made. “For I know that my Redeemer lives; and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself and my eyes shall behold and not another” (Job 19:25-27).
Paul suffered severe mental and physical trauma. “We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair . . . Knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us . . . while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (II Corinthians 4:6-18). Paul experienced triumph out of trauma. “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Romans 8:31-35). God can turn trauma into triumph. (Romans 8:28-39)
Second – TRAGEDY can be turned into triumph. Tragedy is taken from two words – tragos (goat) and aeidein (to sing). Even in sorrow God gives a song. (Psalm 6:8; 126:5 and Isaiah 35:10; 61:1-10.)
I remember sitting before the caskets of my two brothers and a cousin. They were only teenagers when they were tragically killed by a young drunk driver who ran a stop sign at a country road intersection. It was the first personal tragedy that I had encountered. I was so grief-stricken that I thought I saw their cold lifeless bodies move. “Perhaps God is going to miraculously raise them from the dead or maybe I am going to awake from a bad dream.” But they did not get up and I wasn’t having a bad dream. It was real and it was devastating.
The preacher reminded us of Martha and Mary’s sorrow at the death of their brother Lazarus. “Lord, if only you had been here, our brother would not have died,” they said. Jesus assured them “your brother will rise again . . . I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:23-26). Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Christ has power over death and specializes in raising those things that have died.
Third – TEARS are a language God understands. At the tomb of Lazarus Jesus wept. Our tears are never wasted nor do they go un-noticed by God. They are collected in bottles in heaven. (Psalms 56:8, Isaiah 16:25; 38:5, and Revelation 21:4.) Jesus came to comfort and to heal the brokenhearted. (Luke 4:18)
Fourth – TRIUMPH comes through Jesus Christ. The loss of something or someone never has to mean the end of a joyful, victorious life for a believer in Christ, if you allow Jesus to mend your broken heart. He is Lord of resurrection life, no matter what trauma or tragedy you face.
Those who work in the ER are able to save and bring healing to many. When your heart is hemorrhaging with grief and loss never forget that Jesus binds and compresses your wounds with His nail-scared hands. Reach out to Him today in “faith, hope, and love”.