Gospel: Mark 11:27-33
Old Testament: Lam 1:17-22
New Testament: 2 Cor 1:8-22
Psalms: 6, 12, 94
"When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.”
When I hear the word “hospital,” images of stark white walls, solemn faces, stern staff, fear, tears, and sadness come to mind. Walk into any hospital and there’s bound to be several cancer patients – I can think of fewer things more evil than cancer. Worse – childhood cancer.
That’s why last year, when my company gave me the opportunity to participate in a service trip to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, I jumped at the chance. I expected it to be a somber trip. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
From the moment I arrived until the time I left, I felt God’s immediate presence in the hard work of my coworkers, the selfless work of the hospital staff, and the determination, strength, and beautiful smiles of the patients. I was humbled and honored to participate and to experience the purest form of love, service, and commitment alongside a group of incredible people. It was truly a turning point in my life – a recognition that in our darkest times, the light of God is always shining on us. Thanks to the work of St. Jude and other hospitals like it, the overall survival rate for childhood cancers has increased from less than 20% in 1962 to 80% today.
But statistics aside, what matters is that when I saw the parents AND the kids at St. Jude, I saw hope rather than fear. Whether or not they knew it, God is that hope; and that hope continues every day at St. Jude. I felt like the luckiest person on Earth to experience it.