Some thoughts on the chaplaincy…

It boggles my mind when I realize that I have already completed five weeks of this internship.  The smell of the hospital is becoming increasingly familiar.  The sounds of urgent footsteps, technical chatter, and beeping monitors are becoming second nature.  I’ve come to appreciate the diversity of this house.  Beneath its roof is a plethora of cultures, races, classes, and ages.  A chorus fills its corridors—laughter and mourning, life and death, et cetera.  Such is the chorus of life.  The Byrds got the record deal (Turn, Turn, Turn), but old man Solomon gets the credit:

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silent, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

Before you jump to the conclusion that Solomon is just some pedantic sadist, perhaps there is a lesson to be learned.  Perhaps this chorus is taking us somewhere.  This chaplaincy has really made me realize what a wonderful blessing it is for God to grant human beings the concern, intelligence, and precision to practice medicine.  I admire the doctors, nurses, and technicians that sacrifice their time and energy to serve society daily.  God, in His providence, has used modern technology and medicine to save and preserve many people.  However, these achievements are unable to surmount the chorus of life.

“When I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done on earth, how neither day nor night do one’s eyes see sleep, then saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out.  But all this I laid to heart, examining it all, how the righteous and the wise and their deeds are in the hand of God. Whether it is love or hate, man does not know; both are before him. It is the same for all, since the same event happens to the righteous and the wicked, to the good and the evil, to the clean and the unclean, to him who sacrifices and him who does not sacrifice. As the good one is, so is the sinner, and he who swears is as he who shuns an oath. This is an evil in all that is done under the sun, that the same event happens to all. Also, the hearts of the children of man are full of evil, and madness is in their hearts while they live, and after that they go to the dead. But he who is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion. For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. Their love and their hate and their envy have already perished, and forever they have no more share in all that is done under the sun.” (Ecc. 8:16-9:6)

What a sobering text this is.  Could it be that Solomon is pointing us to something greater than the chorus of life under the sun?  I say yes.  The Song he is pointing his readers to was described by David as being better than life (Ps. 63:3).  This Song is none other than Jesus Christ.  His love is better than wine (Song of Solomon 1:2) so let our hearts be merry in His love for our time remaining here under the sun.  Soli deo Gloria.

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