A Letter from Pastor Joe Rushing to Our Healthcare Heroes

Fill Our Risk Takers with Mercy

You are approaching the one year anniversary of the most challenging time in your medical careers.  Your experience of living with such intense sorrow and death will never be forgotten.  Add to this, the fear of contracting COVID yourself and what that might do to you and those you love.  Some of you have faced testing positive, have recovered, and come back to work.  Quarantining can leave you feeling disconnected from your support systems 

You have always known that serving others in the presence of sorrow and death is draining.  The pandemic has only multiplied this reality.  Some who read this may be running on empty.  You have seen more than your share of sorrow and death.

Years ago, I read a book on unique New Testament words.  One of the words appears in bold italic in the last verse of the following passage.  It appears only once in Scripture:

“Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.” Philippians 2:25-30

The Greek verb is parabeulami which means to expose to danger, risk.  In church history, there was even a group of believers who called themselves the Parabeulami.  They made the conscious decision that they would be the risk takers, the front liners, the first responders when dangerous situations arose in the community.

We are so grateful for those of you at NorthCrest and those around the world who have exposed yourself to danger, sorrow, and death during this difficult year.  Epaphroditus was a risk taker for the Philippians.  He risked robbers, dangers on the high sea, diseases, and death to show Paul some mercy during his Roman imprisonment.  While with Paul, Epaphroditus became ill and almost died.  At just right time God showed mercy on Epaphroditus and he got well.  His recovery lifted the spirits of all.

Mercy is defined as God showing us kindness so we don’t get what we deserve.  Grace is God giving us what we need rather than what we deserve.   Our own resources can run dangerously low.  Many of you must feel like you have lived in the valley of the shadow of death for almost a year.  To those who look to God for mercy and help in time of need, He has promised to supply it.  

Look for opportunities to show encouragement and mercy to co-workers who may be struggling.  The Super Bowl’s focus on frontline health care workers show the eyes of a grateful community and nation are upon you.   Their prayers are with you.  With more people receiving the vaccine each day, people wearing masks and keeping distance, the numbers are coming down.  Mercy is breaking through on a daily basis.

Thank you Lord for being with those on the frontline of this pandemic at Northcrest and everywhere.  They have put the welfare of others, ahead of themselves.  Reward them with more mercy to be renewed as they keep serving.  They have risked their lives to supply the needs of others.  Slow down their sorrow.  Slow down the death.  Have mercy on us all!

Joe D. Rushing coordinates the chaplains and is call for the needs of patients, staff, and families.  He can be contacted through the operator.