Thursday, April 02, 2009

Listen

This is an account of my efforts to put into action what I learn while reading the Bible, an account of my journey to become closer to God.

I worked at Good Samaritan yesterday, the medical clinic serving the poor in our county. It opens at 8:30 and on the first day of the month it enrolls fifty new patients.

When I arrived at 8:15 the parking lot was full and there were already 109 people standing in line in the rain with still more arriving. I stood at the entrance to the parking lot turning away cars, explaining there were already more people in line than we could accommodate, yet many parked elsewhere and got in line anyway, hoping someone ahead of them would not qualify for services. A few listened to me and I watched their hearts sink as they backed out of the lot and drive off. One woman began to cry when I explained we weren’t holding new patient enrollment again until May 1st.

Later in the day I learned one man had arrived at 3AM to claim a choice spot at the front of the line, and he waited more than five hours shivering beneath an umbrella for his wife to arrive with their sick toddler. She finally came and took his place just as the doors were opened.

The small lobby was packed with people of all ages and ethnicities, each hoping and praying for one of the coveted slots available this month. When fifty people qualified and were enrolled, those who had remained in line groaned with disappointment and slowly turned around to go home. Person number 51 nearly fainted, her disappointment was so great, yet we could not accommodate her. There is only one physician at Good Samaritan, and he can take care of only so many people at a time; once you are enrolled, you receive care until you are well. He has had over 3,000 patient visits already this year.

If you don’t think there is need in your community, you aren’t really out there looking for it. God has called us to serve. What I saw yesterday at Good Samaritan is happening in a soup kitchen, homeless shelter, or other ministry near you. How can anyone not hear God’s call to help those who are less fortunate than themsleves? By not listening, that’s how.

1 comment:

Ginny said...

Powerful.