I was sound asleep when the pager went off at 1:30am. I called the hospital and the ER tech said, “We’re going to need you on this one Mark.” “I’ll be there in 15 or 20 minutes”, I said.
Even though I had served as the hospital’s PRN Chaplain for 5 years, waking up from a deep sleep in the middle of the night and jumping into a family’s once-in-a-lifetime tragedy was never easy.
It was around 1:50am when I walked into the emergency room. I immediately noticed a lot of activity indicating a Level 1 Trauma. I saw the Paramedics, ER techs, Nurses, ER docs, Highway Patrol Officers, and family members. As I approached the room, I smelled those unique ER smells: alcohol, blood, and freshly opened plastic tubing.
I soon discovered that this trauma patient was a pedestrian hit by a car. Fortunately, after several days in the hospital he would be okay. Fortunately for him, lots of people were prepared for his crisis.
Hospitals wisely build emergency rooms anticipating people’s crisis. They create systems for it, staff for it, budget for it, build buildings for it, buy equipment and supplies for it, and train for it. Why? Because all of us will probably use the ER a few times in our life. We won’t plan for it. Fortunately, hospitals do.
As you know God often uses a crisis to strengthen our faith. The difference between our faith being strengthened or weakened is often determined by the relationships we have (or don’t have) during the crisis.
It would be nice to be able to quickly build the right relationships once the crisis shows up in my life. However, that’s no more realistic than building an Emergency Room after the emergency.
Small groups are a practical way for me and you to build intentional relationships to help us prepare for the inevitable crisis some of us will go through in the days ahead.
We don’t like crisis. They smell bad. They’re inconvenient. They show up unannounced. They steal my routine. They raise my stress. They’re never fun. But if we’re wise enough to prepare relationally, we can position ourselves for significant spiritual growth. Either way, they’re coming . . .