Love Means Life
“Having worked in the past with disabled children and young adults,” writes Christian author Diane Chandler, “I have come to understand the greatest disability in life is to be unloved.” Actually, it can be fatal.
Back in the 1920s, a New York City hospital was having a tough go of it. For some reason, many newborns who had been abandoned and brought to the hospital were dying. The staff was mystified. After all, the babies were being fed, kept warm and clothed and were safe. There was no medical reason these infants were dying.
A young doctor by the name of Reginald Laurie, kept pounding his brain, “What am I missing?” One night, a light-bulb went off. There was one difference. Unlike other newborn babies, these newborns were not being held. They were not being loved on. Could it be that simple? Dr. Laurie decided to find out. He ordered the nurses to regularly hold and nurture the newborns. The mortality rate plunged.
Dr. Laurie would go on to press for eliminating visiting hour limitations for parents whose kids were in the hospital. Contrary to the thinking in his day, Dr. Laurie realized that a parent’s love was as good a medicine as any he could provide.
God Has Us in His Arms
Not unlike Dr. Laurie’s newborns, this fallen world has left us alienated and abandoned. But rejoice. We have a God who picks us up, and pulls us in close. And that hug is life itself, and life abundant.
“He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart.” (Isaiah 40:11) And what happens there? “‘For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds,’ says the Lord.” (Jeremiah 30:17)
Better still, he is not like the nurse on assignment. He is Abba father.
“See what great love the father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1a)
As we grow from newborns in the Lord into spiritual adolescence, we remain in Abba father’s clutches.
“Even there your hand shall lead me,” says the Psalmist, “and your right hand shall hold me.” (Psalm 139:10)
His love never fails. His love never stops. All throughout our days, He never lets us go.
“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (Isaiah 46:4)
While We are Held, So We Must Hold Others
It is not enough to be held and healed by Abba father. Look around you. How many children remain abandoned in the nursery? They have food, shelter … smartphones and Netflix … but they are dying.
The Great Physician asks us, orders us, to be like Dr. Laurie’s nurses. To pick up and nurture and love those in our ward, on our watch.
Their very lives … and souls … depend on it.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for picking me up and holding me close. For filling me with love and life. Lord, I ask you give me the strength, opportunity, and awareness to lift up and love on those who need love. To bring life and health where there is death and hopelessness. To heal the greatest disability. Lord, let me never forget what is so very simple: Love heals.
In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.