You wake, sweating, at two a.m. A crushing weight in the middle of your chest demands immediate attention. Instead of calling 911, you pad to the fridge for a snack and settle into the recliner in front of the TV. There’s no way you can sleep. Not with pain and fear rumbling through you like a freight train in the night.
It’s obvious you need help, but you can’t stand hospitals. Doctors are know-it-alls. Their smug smiles and holier-than-thou attitudes turn you off. Everything they hold sacred seems irrelevant to your daily life. And it’s not just physicians. The entire medical community is riddled with hypocrites. You imagine their pointed stares and probing questions, the judgmental position they take against your life style and your taste in nightwear. They’ll try to shame you with the infrequency with which you’ve visited the hushed, hallowed halls of their facility over the years.
Who are they to cast stones? You’ve seen them off duty, eating deep fried fish on Fridays or running from the liquor store in sweats. How can they have the answers that will save your life? The wisdom to point you down the path of healing? They’re no better than you. No different. It’s easier to stay home. To self-medicate, ignore the symptoms, and hope you feel better in the morning.
Ridiculous? I bet most of us have had nights like I just described. It wasn’t a heart attack that jolted us from our sleep—but a different kind of heart disease called loneliness. The bone deep, soul crushing loneliness that engulfs us when we feel totally isolated—not just from our family and friends, but from life, from our own emotions, and from God.
Faced with a medical emergency, we rush to get professional help. We seek out highly trained specialists, more than willing to place our lives in the hands of strangers. We don’t stop to consider if we like their attitudes, their politics, or the kind of music they play in the OR. We don’t worry if we’ll fit in, if our clothes are good enough, or if they’ll talk about us behind our backs. We just want to get well, so we place our faith in their promises and pray they have the power to heal us.
Why not grant your local church body the same grace the next time your heart tries to warn that it’s under attack?