Friday, December 28, 2007

Woman rejected by hospital and dies

A woman in Japan, elderly, ill, but beloved by God died because she was refused treatment at 30 hospitals. Here's the story. Why should this ever happen? I'm sure that this happens more than it makes the news. Japan has a shortage of doctors? Yikes. People getting turned away from medical care happens in America all of the time. I know someone personally who went to the ER for chest pains and because he didn't have insurance they didn't treat him. He died of a heart attack IN the waiting room. What is the right thing to do? What if the woman wasn't Japanese, but was, say, American? What if she was turned away and died? Should it matter if a person has insurance or not? Should we all not help take care of one another?

We say America is a Christian country yet other "pagan" countries have free, universal health care. I did mission work in Canada. That great country is 2% and has universal health care. I would talk to people who didn't know Christ and this was their mindset, "We need to take care of the least. So what it isn't me. One day it will be me. It's the right thing to do." 10 years ago this conversation took place and I still think about it.

I am lucky to have great servants in my city and church who work in the medical field. I hear their stories about the men and women of all ages who come in. Our city, Memphis, is hurting. She is hurting physically, spiritually, psychologically and relationally. I hear these stories and I am befuddled, saddened and deeply disturbed. If we really believed, as Christians, Jesus' teachings I really do think we would seriously reconsider our views of health care.Is it socialized or is it Christianized medicine?

Someone reading this might say I'm liberal. Well, apparently I'm in good company. Below are just SOME of what God says about the poor. As I have reflected on these passages I can't help but to see my shortcomings in relating to the poor and ministering to them. One of my prayers for the past 18 months has been for God to open my eyes to the plight of the poor in Memphis, this city he loves. I have prayed for a heart of compassion, a head of discernment, and hands of charity. As we read this list I pray that God would teach us both, give us grace and not guilt, and help us to take care of the least and the well-off.

Luke 4:16-21. And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read... "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He appointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are downtrodden, to proclaim the favorable year of the LORD... Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

Ps. 140:12. I know that the LORD will maintain the cause of the afflicted, and justice for the poor.

Is. 25:4. For You have been a defense for the helpless, a defense for the needy in his distress.

Ps. 10:14. The unfortunate commits himself to You; You have been the helper of the orphan... O LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear to vindicate the orphan and the oppressed.

Is 41:17. The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst. I, the LORD, will answer them Myself, as the God of Israel I will not forsake them.

Luke 6:20-21. Blessed are you who are poor, for yours in the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

James 2:5. Did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

Deut. 26:12. When you have finished paying the complete tithe of your increase in the third year, the year of tithing, then you shall give it to the Levite, to the stranger, to the orphan and the widow, that they may eat in your towns, and be satisfied.

Lev. 19:19ff. Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, neither shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the LORD your God.

Prov. 31:8ff. [Commandment to kings.] Open your mouth for the dumb, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.

Is. 58:66ff. Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?

Jer. 22:3. Do justice and righteousness, and deliver the one who has been robbed from the power of his oppressor. Also do not mistreat or do violence to the stranger, the orphan, or the widow; and do not shed innocent blood in this place.

Luke 12:33. "Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves purses which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near, nor moth destroys."

Luke 3:11. And [John the Baptist] would answer and say to them, "Let the man with two tunics share with him who has none, and let him who has food do likewise."

Mt. 5:42. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.

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