Monday, July 11, 2011
Hospital - a place where God is both absent and present
While walking to the Singapore General Hospital for lunch after my CT scan at National Cancer Center two weeks ago, I passed by a patient who lost a limb, a patient with a tube sticking out of his nose, a patient who can only move about in wheelchair, a patient who need two clutches, etc. I gradually noticed that the hospital is a place of paradox. It is a place where God is absent, but also a place where God is present. For patient who does not experience healing and possibly deterioration of health, hospital is a place that does not embody God's presence. Where is God for people who do not get better? I think I found the answer also at the hospital. Those who stick by the side of these people such as their loved ones, the nurses, the doctors, they are the ones embodying God's never forsaking presence. I was moved to tears by the plight of those who do not experience God's presence and those who embody God's presence. For those who do not experience God's presence, they are the ones waiting by the pool of Sheep Gate in John 5, hoping for a miracle to take place, when the pool stirred and there was someone to help them to it. The pool is in the form of medication prescribed by our doctors today. Some are continually feed with medication but no healing takes place, and some are accelerated towards death instead. To want to be stationed at a place where God seems to be absent is a calling and a mission. It is a mission to embody God at the place where a God-vacuum exists and no one dares to step into it. I highly salute the caregivers, whether they are the immediate family members of the patient, or dedicated nurses and doctors, because only they can embody God's presence at that moment, and that moment does not repeat itself. Time that slips by does not exist any more. Opportunity to embody God for the other person happens only once. I prayed for God to be close to those who desire Him but feel His emptiness.