I'm standing in the hospital last week and suddenly, the absurdity of the disconnect between our faith and life as Christians comes into sharp focus for me.
A few weeks ago, a friend at church gave me a link to an incredible story from Haiti. After the earthquake, a group of American doctors are working there trying to save as many as they can. Into their ward, in the midst of unimaginable suffering, comes a man with a guitar. Unannounced and without asking for permission, he begins to play. And the people begin to sing. What are they singing? Jesus songs. The doctors are impressed by the spirit of people who have lost everything, singing praises to God in the face of indescribable loss.
You can hear the story by going to: http://thestory.org/archive/the_story_1078_Haiti_Update_WLRN_Report.mp3/view
So here I am in this hospital going to visit a man of deep faith who is very sick. And it occurs to me that the most natural thing in the world would be for us to sing praises to God in the midst of his illness and suffering. But I also realize that we won't. Not only is it just, well, "unnatural" in our society, but hey, they'd probably yell at us for bothering the other patients.
The verses from James come immediately to mind: "You don't have because you don't ask God." I'm overwhelmed by the fact that as a Christian in North America in the 21st century, I lack the guts to be a little "weird" and to take a chance on God and do the thing that should be the most natural thing in the world: to sing praise to God in the midst of suffering. My singing isn't very good, admittedly. But I see this same fear at being "weird" in the eyes of the world at work elsewhere. It's no wonder then to me that we are a church where signs and wonders, healings and life transformation don't take place on a regular basis. I think of all the sick people I know right now who believe but who have asked us not to bring the elders and pray for them. And I think, wow, we could all be healed if we'd just step out in faith and trust God to do what he says he'll do in his Word. Then I see I need to pray for more courage and to be more faithful in what seems to be small things but which are actually large things. He who is faithful with small things will be faithful with large things.