Hospitals Make Us Long for Heaven

Hospital Make Us Long for Heaven

Hospitals make us long for heaven. Having recently watched my father recover under the watchful care of the doctors and nurses of the trauma ICU at University of Kentucky Hospital, I have had an opportunity to reflect on this reality firsthand. It is a reality I have observed in my own heart, in my own family, in every other nurse and physician, and in every person I’ve had the opportunity to observe. After all, hospitals are also an excellent place for people watching.

Of course, the circumstances for which a person arrives in a hospital certainly differ, as do the people who populate a hospital waiting room. Some are wealthy, and some are poor. Some are educated and some are not. Some come with wounds caused by careless accidents, and others by purposeful crimes. However, what is common to all is that all long for the healing that the King of heaven can bring. Whether they describe it that way or not, this is exactly the thing for which they long. I can say this because everyone who comes into a hospital hopes to come out in exactly the same condition, healed. Hospitals make us long for heaven.

It is exactly for this reason that people swarm to the best medical care available today, and it is exactly why people swarmed to Jesus during his earthly ministry. People flocked to Jesus because they longed for the healing that only the King of heaven could bring. Matthew tells us that Jesus not only declared the kingdom, saying “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” (Matt. 4:17, ESV) but that he also demonstrated the power of the very kingdom he declared by doing temporarily on earth what will take place eternally when Jesus reigns on earth as He already reigns in heaven (see Revelation 21:1-5).

In Matthew 4:23-25 we read:

“[23] And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. [24] So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. [25] And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.” (Matthew 4:23-25 ESV)

Here, Matthew uses a variety of words in the original Greek to describe an entire continuum of people in need of healing. He uses general words that include common sickness, such as “every disease” and “all the sick.” He uses the word “afflicted” that describes illnesses that literally torture their victims with aliments that seem to never subside. Furthermore, Matthew tells us that Jesus not only heals the physically ill, but also the physically paralyzed (“paralytics”), and the spiritually oppressed (“those oppressed by demons”). He even tells us that Jesus healed the mentally ill, using a word that the ESV translates “epileptics” but literally means “moonstruck” or “lunar-struck” from which we get the word “lunatics”.

Without exception, we each fall into one of the categories above and know others who fall into the categories we don’t. We all long for healing. We all long for heaven.

We often long for Jesus to do now in the context of our present life what He did in the context of his public ministry, and wonder if his lack of healing now doesn’t throw doubt on the record of his divinity then. However, we must remember that Jesus’ healing ministry was an earthly demonstration of an eternal kingdom that he declared, a kingdom that he said we would enter by repentance and faith in Him (see Matt. 4:17).

For this reason the key to healing is faith, not a faith that would seek to muster up enough believing in this life to somehow obligate God to bend the timing of his Will to the strength of our believing, but a faith that would trust Him for the healing he’s promised in the timing he’s proclaimed.

Whether you suffer from a cough, a cold, or incurable cancer, whether you are plagued by depression, bound to a wheelchair, or oppressed by demonic powers, the key to healing is faith in the King.