The name Dr. Kent Brantly is becoming a household name. Everyone knows Kent’s story; the doctor who gave up his life and traveled to Liberia to help those who are suffering from the Ebola virus. His name is not only in our local news, but his story is making the national news. We are all praying for Dr. Kent and his family. As a nation we have all been asked to pray for him and his family.
My first thoughts when I heard about this were to pray instantly for a complete healing. I wanted it for his family, but I also wanted it for another selfish reason. I wanted it because only 10% who have this survive. I was thinking if this guy survives it will surely show the world God was in this. Maybe finally people will see the miracle and believe. If he is completely healed there will be some that will still not believe no matter what. I am still praying for a complete healing for him and his family. If he survives Dr. Kent will have a story to tell and it doesn’t matter how many believe. If only one believes then it is worth it.
If he doesn’t survive does that make God any less a God? Does that change things? I am thinking his story is still worth telling.
There is a scripture I remember in the Bible. Romans 5:6-8 from The Message says this, “We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.” Dr. Kent teaches us what selfless sacrifice is all about. He teaches us just like Christ we need to lay our lives down for others so in time we may be lifted up. We lose our life here on earth, but gain it in Heaven. Dr. Kent points His life toward Christ and just maybe we get a better understanding of what Christ did for us.
I hope Dr. Kent’s life is not in vain no matter what happens. I hope his life inspires us to look at our lives and see how we can be a reflection of Dr. Kent’s life. I know we all don’t have the wits about us to go to Liberia and fight the Ebola virus. We can’t give up our lives and go fight Aids in Africa. We all can’t give up our lives and become Missionaries in some remote part of the world. We all aren’t called to do that. But, just like Dr. Kent God calls us to do something to help our neighbors.
I have a good friend who a few years ago became a widow. She loved her husband and was devastated. She had her time of mourning, but finally she moved past it. She is now helping her neighbors. She has a neighbor who is ill. Often times I hear Ann talk about taking him to the Doctors. I have been in a restaurant with her when not only has she taken him to the Doctor’s she has stopped afterward and fed him before she takes him home. She is our famous bread maker in church. Anyone she hears who is down is given a loaf or two of bread. I know, I recently was a recipient. In my eyes she is as much an inspiration as Dr. Kent. She is making a difference in the lives around her.
I have a couple of friends who help at a homeless shelter. One Friday a month they work in the Dental Clinic. She was a hygienist, retired and is now helping the homeless with tooth problems. If you have had a tooth ache you know how important this is.
These are just two examples of people sacrificing their time and their lives to help others live a more comfortable life.
I know of churches that are doing the Pack Back Ministry. They are sending home snacks and food during the school year to feed children on the weekend. I know of a couple of churches that are feeding the children during the summer. We all talk about the growing number of people who are going hungry every night, but instead of forming committees and discussing it there are people who are working on solving the problem.
We have people who are in major debt. I know a man who is an expert in his field. He is teaching classes and helping people to understand what debt is and how to dig their way out of it.
There is no shortage of ways to help. We have organizations in our communities that need volunteers. We have Senior citizens that would love to have one phone call a day just to hear a voice. We have others who need transportation to doctor’s visits. Their adult children work and they have taken the keys and cars away which leaves no way to get anywhere. There are people who can’t manage bills and food. Why not drop a bag of groceries off? There are parents who work forty hours a week, come home have housework to do and manage their children. What if you offered to help transport the kids or just take the kids to the park for an hour a week and give parents a chance to breathe?
Each time I hear of someone doing a selfless act I believe it points back to what Christ did for us. Christ died for us so we might live. We all need to get past thinking there is nothing we can do. God calls us all to do something. We just have to decide if we are going to respond. We often times think the problems we have in this world are bigger than we can handle and maybe they are, but if we all take a small part of that big problem and work on it we’d find that big problem is now manageable or maybe even gone.
Whatever happens to Dr. Kent let his life inspire us. Let his light shine so brightly that we want some of that light in our lives. Don’t let his life be in vain. As we pray for the health of Dr. Kent let us also pray for ways his life can inspire. Ask God to show us where we can do something great in the lives around us; in our neighborhoods and in our communities. Like Dr. Kent, Ann and all the others let’s make a difference. Are you with me?
Dear Lord Thank you for stories like Dr. Kent’s, Ann’s and all the others that inspire me. Don’t let it be just stories that inspire me for a brief time, but for a long time. Keep these stories fresh on my mind so I may look for ways to help others live an easier life. As these and others lives point back to you let me in some small way begin to take my life and point it back to you and move others to be inspired to move out and begin inspiring others. Heal Dr. Kent and be with his family. Thank you for all the things Ann and all the others do that help makes other people’s lives better. Thank you for your selfless act and thank you for those who are following in your footsteps. Amen.