Another House Call
March 23, 2021
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18, NIV).
When I reached his home this evening, he was in the shower. Given his physical difficulties, it took a while for him to join us in the living room. After our healthcare discussion, his wife asked me, “Was your father a doctor?”
“Yes, he was.”
“My cousin, R___, knew him.”
I responded, “I remember that name.”
Then she blew open the curtain to heaven, “Her father was the one who led your father to Christ.”
Those words swept over me like a wave from eternity. I could see again and hear again my father tell the story, how he had entered this man’s office when I was young and ill, and how this man had brought him to Jesus.
“Your father had a son with hydrocephalus who was healed by prayer,” she added.
“That was I.”
This was a heavily burdened week, with patient loss and administrative backlog. I was carrying that load when I entered my patient’s home. The load was still there when I left, but it had settled within the context of eternity. Not just chronological eternity, but eternity wrapped around the life I am now living.
My patient’s suffering was real and hard, but now it has been placed within the context of his family leading my father to Christ—my father whose body was also broken in health and who is now joy-filled in glory with the One who is faithful.
In that very concrete, living-room-with-a-sick-man moment, before his wife spoke that name, I had been unaware of eternity swirling around me. I might easily have missed it—and so much of my life is that way. When we are in the world, we focus too much on the world, and thereby miss the truth of the world.
William Wordsworth almost got it right in his sonnet:
“The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;”
As one who knows the God who created nature, I would suggest we substitute the words, “of Eternity,” for Wordsworth’s, “in Nature.”
Wherever we move, we move within the material and the spiritual, the transient and the eternal. On this side of glory, we cannot step completely into one or the other.
Sometimes, we ignore the spiritual; and that flattens the value of our life, stealing depth and meaning from circumstances that are but empty encounters outside of an eternal context.
Sometimes, we ignore the material, thus limiting the work that God would do through us in a world He died to redeem.
Just as Jesus is the eternal God who once lived as flesh in our material world, we are
fleshed-out immortals who live each day connected to an eternal King.
In every material event of our lives, we should seek eternal significance.
In every spiritual event of our lives, we should seek to discover how God might use that moment to redeem our material world for Him.
Oswald Chambers said, “We have to recognize that we are one half mechanical and one half mysterious; to live in either domain and ignore the other is to be a fool or a fanatic.”
Let me see your presence in everything I do.