Bravely I set out in the direction the aged lady’s withered hand had feebly waved. I had been lost like this in the hospital before; each previous time I had accidentally run into a friend who worked there and she simply guided me to where I needed to go. There was no sign of her today, however; I was clearly on my own.
At long last I found my way and finally turned the knob on the door to the appropriate office, only to be stopped by an attendant at a nearby desk.
“You sign in over here,” he said. I took the clipboard he held out to me, sat down in a nearby chair and answered the few questions, then stood to return it to him. Told to keep the paper and remain seated until my name was called, I obediently sat back down. A few minutes later in a ridiculously loud voice, considering I was the only person seated before him, he called my name. “You can go to Desk 4,” he directed.
Looking about I saw only empty chairs in the area, and nothing resembling a desk. Forced again to ask for directions, he somewhat disgustedly pointed me to a bank of registration booths I had obliviously walked by in my search for the proper department. At long last I was given permission to go to through the door, only to be greeted by a lonely technician who clearly had had no one to talk to all day. There was no way I could hurry her along as she chatted endlessly about her children, an upcoming anniversary celebration, and the quarreling taking place between her siblings now that her parents had died.
All I wanted was my mammogram. Was there no easy way to get this thing done? No wonder I waited so long since my last one; I must have subconsciously remembered the difficulty involved in the procedure. Save me!, I pleaded in my heart to God.
Sometimes we make the process of finding God as difficult for non-believers as getting my x-rays today was for me. They walk into our churches looking for what they know they need, and too often we just give them vague directions and wave them in the direction they need to go, using a language they are unfamiliar with and landmarks they don’t recognize. When they move forward in their faith we have a tendency to stop them and make sure they have followed all the proper procedures, filling out contact information, signing up for the proper introductory class, and joining the proper home fellowship group. We chat them up like old friends instead of addressing the issue that brought them through the doors in the first place, forcing them to eventually voice their need in a soundless prayer to God, Save me, please!
And just that quickly, He does, despite our bumbling and the unintentional roadblocks we set up to the process. What God meant to be easy we have somehow turned into something incredibly difficult. It‘s no wonder the lost and hurting are sometimes reluctant to walk through church doors.
What I needed yesterday afternoon at the hospital was the friend I trusted to show me the way. She told me later she was stuck in a lab that afternoon and so wasn’t out wandering the halls as she usually is. And I am reminded that God needs us to be people on the lookout for others who are likewise searching for the door to His Presence, to take them to it instead of simply telling them how to find it, and then to leave them in prayer safely there in the Doctor’s care.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.”
(Luke 19:10 NKJV)
(Luke 19:10 NKJV)