A good friend of mine – let’s just call him “Buddy” – recently had a heart attack and was taken to the hospital by ambulance.
Around 11:30pm I received a phone call from his wife explaining to me what had happened and that she was following him to the hospital now. She was obviously distraught and concerned about him and what was going to happen. So I got up and headed over to the hospital just to visit briefly, pray with them, and make sure that he was ok and that his wife was ok.
You may know that when you are admitted to the ER they often bring you straight in (especially if you have heart attack symptoms), and once you are situated the registration person will come back and get all your details, including your insurance, etc.
As you would expect, there was a reasonably somber mood in the room – we’re waiting to see what’s going to happen, the nurses are coming and going, and we’re waiting to see what the doctors are going to do. They’ve got him loaded up on some pain killers and his mood is improving a little bit, but he’s totally cognizant and aware of what’s going on. Then the registration person asks Buddy, lying in the hospital bed: “Do you have a religious preference?” To which he replies with a huge smile and loud voice, “JESUS!!!” Everyone looks over, I’m trying to keep a straight face, and the registration guy is completely lost. He literally has no idea what that even means, and is looking at his paperwork on his clipboard apparently looking for an option that says “Jesus.” Noticing his confusion, he belts out “JESUS, BRO!” Still lost, the registration guy looks at Buddy’s wife and she calmly repeats, “yeah…..Jesus.”
Finally, this guy decides to venture a guess and says, “Christian?” She nods her head in confirmation.
During this same time, the male nurse attending to him at his side said in response to his answer, “that doesn’t mean anything!” As you can imagine, my bold Christian friend turned and sat up slightly with this look of distress on his face and said “WHAT!!??” Now, you should know that my friend is a fully tattooed Harley rider, and might be just a little intimidating if you didn’t know him, even lying in a hospital bed. But the nurse quickly responded, “no, no, I’m a Christian! I just mean that could mean catholic, or Mormonism, or something else, not just Christian.” He calmed down and sat quietly for a moment satisfied with his response. Then he turned, again with a bold voice: “WHERE IS JESUS?”
“He’s in heaven at the right hand of the Father,” the male nurse replied confidently.
“HE’S LIVING IN YOUR HEART!!” my friend exclaimed with a smile!
“Isn’t that the Holy Spirit?”
“Yes, but Jesus is living in your heart through the Holy Spirit!”
I just stood there trying not to laugh, and totally confident that I was not going to engage in this theological discussion in the ER. But I was also totally amazed that here is this guy that just had a heart attack, and literally could have just died, who has every reason to be distraught and depressed and feeling sorry for himself, but instead he is full of joy and boldly proclaiming the name of Jesus for probably 100 people to hear in the ER in the middle of the night! How awesome is that??!
Now I don’t know whether anyone was converted to Christianity by hearing this exchange; I don’t know whether anyone was convicted of their sin, or saw God’s love through Jesus, or decided to go to church on Sunday. But what I do know is this: there is power in the name of Jesus, and God uses people who are sold out for him and his name and his cause – and Buddy is indeed sold out for Jesus and God is using his bold faith. And I also know this: I left feeling bolder in my faith, and more encouraged, and more motivated, and more convinced that God is still working in our culture and in our cities and in our hospitals! Don’t forget that God is God no matter where we are or what we’re going through! And I think it’s important, when we hear stories like this, to write them down, take pictures, and tell people about them, because we all need a little encouragement! Be bold!
Oh yeah, and Buddy is doing great and is heading home from the hospital hopefully today!
Proverbs 28:1b: “…the righteous are bold as a lion!”