(This is not a picture of either Jason or Jeremy.)
Tina was 26 weeks pregnant with twin boys, when last week, because of a serious problem she had developed, the doctors at UCSD elected to deliver the babies by C-section. Jason was the larger at just over two pounds, while his brother Jeremy weighed little more than one pound. Unfortunately, Jason had problems with his heart, and on Friday he died. Jeremy is perfectly healthy, but will need many months in the hospital as he develops into maturity.
My son Steve is the pastor of Ben and Tina, and during that traumatic time, he spent many hours with them and with their infant sons. It is not an unusual thing for Steve to spend time with people who are hospitalized or in other serious circumstances.
He went into the neonatal ICU, touched the skin of the babies and prayed for them. After little Jason died, he held the tiny body, and cried with Ben as they submitted to the will of God for this child.
Dr. Jones, the pediatrician, I believe, approached Steve and spoke to him of his astonishment as he observed Steve’s being there so long with the family, and of being so intensely and personally involved with them. “In my eight years in this neonatal intensive care unit, you are the first pastor who has entered this unit.” Dr. Jones went on to express his concern that here in America our society has plunged into an extreme dearth of spirituality.
I was the one to be astonished when I heard this report. While I absolutely believe that Steve is far from the only pastor to tend sick, hurt and dying people in their congregations, it brought me up short to hear that a doctor in San Diego last week had made such an observation and statement about the spirituality of our society.
As Christians, in every facet of our lives, we must let God work through us. This includes tending those who are sick, visiting the lonely, having faith for the crippled one, voicing encouragement to those who are despondent, touching the shoulder of the lonely, and citing the way of salvation to those who are struggling to find the path.