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The patients are plentiful but the doctors are few!

October 17, 2015
Doctors – I try to keep as far away from them as possible! No offence to any doctors reading this but I take illness as a personal insult and so I suspect that I’m not a good patient. I think, “I’ve got too much to do to be ill” and so keep away from doctors. Somewhere in the deepest and darkest part of my mind I must be associating doctors with illness and so if I don’t go near them I can’t be ill. There’s no logic to it. In fact a regular check up is probably a good way of avoiding being ill. But logic never seems to get too far when up against deep and vague fears. I can hear the voice deep within huffing and puffing at my logical brain, muttering “Lots of sick people at the doctors – can’t be good for you!”
Even if I did want to go to the doctors I’d need to be very ill or very patient. My doctors’ surgery will only make appointments for the same day or the next. The problem is these are booked up the moment the surgery opens and so the only advice is try again tomorrow. I’ve now found that most are booked before the surgery opens! How? Well I looked into it and found that they now have an online appointments service. I’ve signed up for it and I’m told that I can bag an appointment 1 second after midnight. The only other way is to say that it’s ‘urgent’ and I’ll get seen that day; or go direct to the hospital, of course.
It’s all so frustrating for me, but it is downright dangerous for the weak and elderly who often don’t have internet access or the energy to push. They grew up to be strong, to get on with things, and not to make a fuss. They phone and phone the surgery, then give up. It is wrong. But I also know that it isn’t entirely the fault of my doctor. I know that the practice is seriously short of doctors.
To change a famous phrase from Luke 10.2, “The patients are plentiful but the doctors are few!” We need more doctors to heal us when we’re sick. But looking at this world the sickness goes far deeper than just illness. I’ve seen teenagers and young men trying to sell drugs to school children – that is sick. I have seen families that are falling apart who seem to be taking it out on the children caught in the cross-fire – that is sick. My list could go on and on but it would just be too depressing. As a minister I see so much of the goodness in this world but I am also ‘privileged’ to see and work with those suffering the effects of the very worst of human nature. I see the selfishness and greed, the pettiness, vindictiveness, violence and cruelty. I know that I am so privileged to live in my lovely country town, but the sickness is here too, just not as bad.
We need a doctor to help our society with its sickness – we need Jesus the one sent to bring healing. That is I think why I’ve been called back to parish ministry – not to be the doctor – no, to encourage people to visit the Doctor, the God who can make them well and whole. Not that I’m perfect but as a sick person I have found the Spirit to be a great doctor for my soul. I am finding healing and I want other people to know how good it is. That’s all – I’m certainly no better than anyone else, maybe more blessed but that’s all I could claim.
Turning to the life of Jesus written by the doctor Luke I read that I am to proclaim ‘peace’ (Luke 10.5). Oh, how I need peace myself as I rush around. But still there is a peace inside that the Spirit maintains. Once again it’s a gift, and I want to share it. I turn to the same passage of the Bible and find that I am to let people know that the, “The kingdom of God has come near to you” (Luke 10.9). The kingdom where the very trees have leaves for the healing of the nations (Revelation 22.2). A vision of a new Eden to come that is right there for anyone – a free gift to all.
I love this job. I’m a salesman of sorts, with the best product in this world … or the next!
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