Sitting in a hospital waiting room is a great place to see humanity in all its shapes and sizes, waiting in hope, perhaps, or fear. Like the emergency room, a hospital waiting area is a great equalizer, no matter our culture, our education, our race, our religion, no matter how we define ourselves, we ALL must face life’s sufferings and limitations. My thoughts easily turned to God as a saw an elderly couple slowly make their way to register, and when the gentlemen’s number was called, he gripped his walker for life, smiled at his wife as she told him, “You better get this right.” Clearly, she was worried. “I’ll text you when it’s over,” he responded, comforting her with a smile. We all smiled in the room as he slowly walked down the hallway to meet his procedure, trusty walker in hand.
I saw a mom waiting for her teenage son to return from an early morning test. They both were in good spirits. Good news I assumed and hoped. Another young woman embraced her sister as she went down that hallway of uncertainty to her procedure. Uncertainty. That room breathed a definite uncertainty.
Jesus reminds us in today’s gospel, if you want to follow him, stop looking at what or who you might leave behind, don’t be concerned about saying all your goodbyes, don’t even bury your dad. That last one is a tough one to swallow, one I would never follow... sorry Jesus. But his point is clear: God must come first because God is the Source of EVERYTHING we are and have, especially good health. God will be the One who will carry us into our new lives when we breathe our last. Our spouses can’t can’t do this; lifelong friends can’t do this; only God. Only God...
When my number was called, I rose from my chair, followed a kind and gentle nurse past those doorways of uncertainty. God led me, followed me, wrapped me in a garment of hope. Only God can do this. That’s why God must come first...always.