I know! Right???
But I think you should be pissed too.
Not that pissed should be your go-to, default setting, not that I wish it to be the end-all/be-all. Rather, there is something deeply, fundamentally wrong with you – WITH YOU (and with me too) – which just cannot be. We have a kind of indifference pulsating through our brief existence which simply is not worthy of God’s love for us or his world.
I AM JEALOUS! AND A BIT ZEALOUS ABOUT BEING JEALOUS.
Allow me to explain. You decide for yourself if I am right.
So… there’s this story on CBS News (the Friday night segment called On the Road with Steve Hartman). Hartman rarely – RARELY – offers a report that doesn’t reduce you to tears, and mostly some tragedy mixed with hope. Unlikely heroes doing often subtle, but extraordinary things, demonstrate goodness of humanity in all these tiny, anecdotal stories.
If you don’t watch CBS News, if you don’t like CBS News…, I nonetheless recommend you tune in each week for the last five minutes of the Friday evening broadcast. You will be touched! I guarantee it.
So… anyway, this last week, Hartman brought us a follow-up story on one of these anecdotes from 2014. I will not use names, but if you google it, you will find last week’s offering was broadcast on 3-25-22. It’s about a nurse and her patient, a single mom with an eight-year-old boy. The mom, in 2014, learned she had terminal cancer and expected to die. Her nurse entered the room to discuss it, and that is when the unimaginable happened.
This single mama asked her nurse to take and raise her son.
Where else could she turn?
Let me pause right there. I want to point out things Hartman allows you simply to assume.
This single mama didn’t ask her high school guidance counselor for direction in becoming a single mama. She did not go to college and major in single mama.
No. She probably made some poor choices in her personal life which led her to this place, but possibly things happened to her which she did not choose that led her here. EITHER WAY, she got into this position, not because life was so great, but because it was already so hard!
And then in her mid-forties, she got the devastating news that she would die leaving behind her young son.
AND SHE HAD NO ONE, NOWHERE ELSE to turn to, for this.
THAT is how she saw it.
And this nurse… well… she is an “angel,” as Hartman rightly calls her. He also calls her “a stranger.” She’s that too. Well… this nurse answers the call, takes the boy as her own and raises him for this single mama who cannot go on.
Go watch Hartman’s report. His version is far more touching than mine! By a country mile, he wins. I cannot compete with his recounting. It is worth your time and effort, and it will inspire you and enrich you to know that humanity can and, sometimes, does rise to these challenges in amazing style. It will warm your heart and make you cry. I guarantee it.
And right about there, I suddenly got pissed.
This “nurse” – this “stranger” – IS NEWS! SHE IS THE GOOD NEWS you and I were supposed to be but aren’t.
This nurse made it on CBS News!
Her LOVE made it on the “fake news” of the world as the realest thing I have seen there in months!
But there is not one mention of Jesus in the whole report.
And not only that but think about this carefully: part of what makes this story work and touch your heart and inspire you so much is the FACT that this single mama HAD NO WHERE TO TURN. She was desperate. She was talking to her nurse, a stranger, and lobbed out there her dire need which anyone with a heart would see is crucial. ANYONE WITH A HEART would see it instantly.
But in two thousand plus years of Christian history, in the midst of such a “great” and “Christian” nation as we live now, this single mama in that hospital has nowhere to turn and in desperation reaches out to the only kind face she has left to talk to and gambles everything on this “stranger.”
How is it she didn’t think to ask Jesus? (Or did she??? – and Hartman just fails to tell that part?)
How is it that Jesus, and ANY CHURCH bearing his name, wasn’t BOTH her first thought and hope AND there to answer the call?
How is it that I can be so touched, so deeply, by a “stranger” in a story where Jesus is not revealed as the salvation and the love, the hope and the life?
Will the church watch that story and find conviction? That nurse, God bless her!, took our job! That was OUR JOB, and it was Jesus’s glory, but Hartman is on CBS News touching my heart with strangers in a godless world.
Something is wrong here!