We were coming to the close of the opening set of praise when the pastor of the local church I had been assigned to for the course of SMI called out to those who were in desperate need of Jesus. He asked those who felt called to come to the front of the altar, kneel down, and be prayed over. As we continued to worship through the altar call, I noticed that a number of people were going up and I felt encouraged. But the last person who came up really caught my attention. It was an elderly man who needed the help of his cane and a friend to get up to the front. Though he could not stand, he eagerly awaited for the pastor to come pray over him. But because the elderly man was not kneeling down at the front of the altar, the pastor missed him and I felt my heart drop. I wanted to get the pastor's attention, but it was too late, and I saw the elderly man slowly walk back to his seat.
Suddenly, the phrase, "Lord, do not pass me by," came to mind. Lord, do not pass me by.
At these words, my heart was wrenched. I was filled with grief that my own heart did not reflect this desperation, this need for Jesus. In truth, I had wanted to go up to that altar but, as per usual, was too timid to make that journey. My heart has grown hard, and has been filled up with things that will never satisfy over this past year as I tried to cope with the trials of my first year of medical school and moving away from my community in New York. I know that Jesus is the only thing that can change this broken heart, but fear - the fear of standing out, the fear of showing that I was broken, the fear of change - crippled me from chasing after the one thing that I needed and wanted.
But even in my weakness, God was right there and He used that incident to show me something more. He revealed that this cry is at the core of every person He's created. Do not pass me by We are a people who yearn to be acknowledged, who long to know that we have worth, and more than anything else, we are a people who need to be loved. I felt God challenging me to treat not only my future patients with this understanding, but to allow this desperate brokenness to infiltrate all of my relationships.
In our brokenness, we are able to acknowledge our humanity and with that, are able to truly love one another. It is exactly what God did for us. He saw that our hearts had fallen away from Him, and that grieved Him. In order to bring us back, He graciously came down in the form of human flesh and met us where we were, dead in our sin, unable to love. Then He did what no one else could do and overcame the grave so that we would be free to love and no longer bound to sin.
The word "pass" has been defined as to let go without notice, action, remark and as our culture has become one where the focus has moved away from valuing relationships and towards achievement and success, it's easy, almost natural, to pass people in order to get to where we want to be.
But we as Christians, are called to love as Jesus loves and to walk alongside with those He places in our lives. As I reflect on our shared brokenness and on the stories of many people who generously invited us into their homes these past two weeks to share their lives with us, I feel God challenging me to always look a little bit deeper and to not just pass on by.
Pass me not, O gentle Savior
Hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by
- Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior
* The below images are pictures that I personally took of patients I've met. I hope you'll be able to see a glimpse of God's love for them as I have.
Please do not use any pictures without permission.