June 16, 2021
“From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked” (Luke 12:48b, NIV).
I was riding to church this morning with my wife driving and Christian music on the radio. It was a beautiful day, and I was grateful for the blessing of it when I began to think of the sweet Christian friend whom I had visited the day before with a new brain tumor, and then to the five friends I had lost to death this year with families left behind. I began to feel guilty that my life has been so blessed and so protected from great tragedies. It isn’t fair that I and mine are doing so well when so many others suffer so much.
Clay Bentley, a pastor in Rome, Georgia, spent 11 days in the hospital with Coronavirus pneumonia and lived. “It broke my heart to know that some of the people that I sing with had passed away and others were in the hospital fighting for their lives. Sure, I felt guilty.” (abcnews.go.com)
Perhaps, some of us healthcare professionals, like me, should feel a bit of survivor’s guilt when our lives and families are doing well. We have seen too much to think we are immune, to think “that would never happen to me.” We know that life should strike us too, yet see it hasn’t. And so, we sit with blessed lives while tragedies unfold in lives of others, almost every day.
What should we do if, at the moment, life seems so unfairly good to us?
- Be grateful: Every day we should lift our thanks to the God who has protected us from a very destructive world.
- Be purposeful: Seek the purpose God has for us within our moment of blessing.
- Be ready: We will not forever escape the tragedies of life. Our time will come. We must trust the Lord who walks beside us in blessed times to also walk beside us and hold us close when it’s our turn for tears.
- Be prayerful: Pray daily (and more) for those we know who have been struck by the falling towers of a broken world.
- Be there: If we are over-blessed, we are called upon to be over-generous. “Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him” (Mark 1:41, NLT). We are the hands of a loving, merciful Christ for those who suffer, and we must let Jesus touch others through us.
Thank You for my present safety. Let me use it for those who are not safe and use it for Your glory.
Last year God walked with me through not one but two malignant cancers, and I’m still here. I will confess, survivor’s guilt is my nemesis. God graciously has given me more time to be with my family but brought many others with cancer on home to be with Him. I don’t know why He did this for me and not for them. For a long time I have felt tremendous guilt over this. But I’m beginning to understand that to feel guilt and shame is to say I don’t agree with God’s definition of fairness. I’m beginning to understand that my guilt is misplaced—that it’s not my fault, that others are glad I’m still here, and that I can use my survival to pay it forward. I love your words: “If we are over-blessed, we are called upon to be over-generous.” Thank you for reminding me of this.