Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Abundant Health. Abundant Life

Abundant Health Forum in Manila

A reflection shared during the 1st Pan-Asia Methodist Abundant Health Forum held in Manila. 

John 10:10 … “ I came that you may  have life and have it abundantly.”

I am happy to share the good news because often, I bring bad news to the patient.

I always say that, because that is true. The hospital is the darkest and the loneliest place on earth. It is a place where you can see sorrow, anxiety, distress and hopelessness. People are sick and in pain while suffering from cancer, malnourished children dying of preventable death like dehydration or dengue fever. You have stroke patients or heart attack patients in the ICU. You have surgical patient with neoplastic masses if not vehicular accidents. These are just patients, these does not include the family members who are equally worried and hopeless with the condition of their patients.

The parents may be stressed out where to get the finances necessary to pay the bills and to buy the medicines. You have relatives and friends who have lost sleep and tired because they volunteered to watch over their patients. You have loved ones who are worried about the job of their patients. Even their own jobs and business that they need to attend to that was disrupted by this illness. You have children who do not know what to do if their parents will be gone. Then you have the health workers in the facility who are so tired of their work. They not only feel tired but feel abused and unappreciated. They feel like they are overworked but underpaid. They have lost hope because they no other recourse and this is the only option left they have. All they can see probably is darkness. Just like the blind man who was standing in front of the temple. But Jesus did something unexpected. On a Sabbath Day, Jesus healed the blind man. But it did not only bring sight to the blind, it also opened the opportunity for the blind man to believe in the Son of Man and become a follower of Jesus. The blind man was offered a new lease of life… not just life but a life of abundance that only comes from Jesus. Wouldn’t that be nice? If all those who are sick, lonely, hopeless, imprisoned, living in the dark will find a life of abundance in Jesus?

I often see families referred to my service for family counseling. How can I help the parents? I see cases where the father and mother are resigned to the fact that their family is a hopeless case. Some  parents have even contemplated to end their lives because their family was going nowhere and they are dragging their kids with them. They have lost all desires to live because all they have encountered are problems, challenges and all the limitations life can throw at them. They have not seen any signs of abundant grace from God. They need a miracle. Are we expecting that the cloud will open in front of them and a bright white light will come down?

The hospital should be a place of hope because hopeless people go to that place. They need hope. Any place of healing and restoration should be a place of hope and life. Jesus is our hope. Jesus can give us life. And Christians should be able to reflect the hope and the life that comes from Christ. When we minister to the sick and the dying are we just able to address their physical ailments without restoring their mental, spiritual health? We provide holistic healing of the mind, body and spirit just like Jesus did. We offer them life, the life Christ offered. For we are instruments of Christ healing. Simple miracles can happen everyday.

I remember when I was a resident physician in Mary Johnston Hospital. Before we bring the patient to the operating room for a surgical procedure. We talk to the family and the patient and explain what will happen. This helps allay their fears and anxiety. We prepare them mentally. Not only that, together with the nurses, we pray with the patient and the family. The prayer calms their soul. They appreciate that a lot. We do that because we recognize that we are mere instruments of God’s healing ministry – the healing of the body, the mind and the soul.

Jesus promised us life and a life in abundance. That life does not only mean adding more years to it, adding more meaning to it or adding more importance to it. That life becomes abundant because Christ offers us hope, peace and joy. In our healing ministries, we open the door that is Christ for people to see the abundant life. As Christians, we are called to bring this good news that is Jesus Christ to every corners of the world. Let us be faithful in our calling, let us bring healing in this broken world. Let us continue to share the life of abundance that we all have found in Jesus Christ.