I’ve spent a lot of time in hospital waiting rooms. I hate those places. There’s this huge one in Atlanta that I’ve been to several times that has a grand piano and a guy that will play it for you. I have no idea what purpose this serves.
“Sir, your grandfather’s surgery went well. We only planned on doing a double bypass but once we got in we realized that we had to do two more. He’s resting well and you may see him now.”
“Can he wait a minute? I just gave the piano guy a couple of bucks to play some Coldplay. I think my song is up next.”
The worst one is the children’s hospital. The waiting room there is what you might expect from a children’s hospital but what bothers me about it is that it’s always full. And so is the parking deck. I’m not sure how many levels there are to the parking deck at this particular children’s hospital but they are all full.
I get real anxious in the parking deck because I know that each car represents a hurting family that’s not sure about the future. There’s a lot of pain in those places. Every time I leave I usually have to hold back tears. And then I start praying for Jesus to come back.
There are some who call themselves Christians that will tell you that if your kid gets sick and has to go to one of those hospitals it’s because he’s a sinner. We hear this kind of talk whenever a tropical depression gets within 300 miles of New Orleans. “God is striking New Orleans because it is such a wicked city.” Of course God has, does and will punish sin but if we want to link every hurricane to God’s punishment of a city, we each had better make a quick run to Home Depot to buy some storm windows.
John 9 is just one biblical reason why I don’t believe that every tragedy is caused by the victim’s sin. The disciples believed that a blind man was born that way because either he or his parents had sinned. Jesus disagreed.
“Jesus answered, ‘It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.'” John 9:3 (ESV)
But we would be remiss if we believed that sin didn’t play a part in suffering. Every tragedy, from the man born blind, hurricanes and the families sitting in waiting rooms can ultimately be traced back to Adam’s sin. Without it there would be no blindness, no hurricanes and no hospital waiting rooms. Or hospitals for that matter.
But sin is with us. And so is the destruction that comes with it.
Sin turned the garden into a jungle (Genesis 3:17-19).
Sin turns friends and family into enemies (Genesis 4:3-8).
Sin turns image bearers into victims (Acts 7:54-60).
Sin turns shepherds into tyrants (2 Samuel 11).
Sin turns mighty men into dead men (Judges 13-16).
Sin creates separation between man and God (Luke 16:19-31).
And sin killed an innocent Man (2 Corinthians 5:21).
But I’m not only thinking of sin’s destructive power when I walk out of those waiting rooms. I’m also thinking of the day when Jesus will return and destroy sin. Finally. Forever.
When he returns, the jungle will be restored to a new earth (Genesis 3:15; Revelation 21:1-6).
When he returns, once natural enemies will live together in peace. The lamb and the wolf, the child and the cobra will rest at ease under the perfect rule of their King (Isaiah 11:6-9; Romans 8:19-22).
When he returns, men will no longer find their identity or might in what or who they can conquer but in the One who conquered on their behalf (Romans 8:37-39).
When he returns, the suffering and abused in Christ will live in freedom because of the just vengeance of King Jesus (Revelation 6:9-11).
When he returns, the tyrant will be no more. Either he will bow to Jesus in defeat at his judgement day where he will be sent to eternal separation from God or he will bow in humble submission before his life ends. But bow he will. (Philippians 2:9-11; Revelation 21:27).
And when he returns childhood cancer will be no more. There will no longer be the need for heart surgeries. Fathers will not have to think of the best way to tell their kids that a grandparent has died.
Our Savior will wipe away every tear.
Death will be no more.
No more crying.
No more pain.
No more hospital waiting rooms.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus.