When loving well saved a life
“I think it is time to make a decision about taking your mother off of life support,” the doctor said. The brother and sisters looked at each other as those words sank in. They told the doctor they needed some time to think about it, being conflicted about which way to go. On the one hand, their relationship with their mother had always been strained, rough around the edges, and much of the time they felt like they had to watch their every syllable around her. On the other hand, she was their mother, and this decision to remove her from the machines that were keeping her alive tore at their hearts. She was in a coma in ICU, and had been for months. The only thing she was able to give to them at that time in her life was a hospital bill. But, she was still Mom.
“Have you really loved your mother in the hospital?” That was Norm’s question for these three when they asked him what they should do. They shook their heads, not really understanding what the question meant. “Have you gone in there to talk to your Mom and tell her that you love her?” Norm explained. “Have you sung to her and read the Bible to her and thanked her for being your Mom and for sacrificing all she did to love you and raise you?” The brother and sister agreed that they had not done any of those things, but had just visited their mother, sat by her side and waited for her to come out of the coma or to die. Norm said, “Your mother’s body is broken down, but her spirit is very much alive, and is as attentive now as it ever was. You asked me what I think you should do. Praying about the situation, that’s what I believe would please the Lord, for you to both love your mother in that hospital room, even though there is absolutely nothing she can give you in return.” The son called his mother’s doctor that evening and told him they did not want Mom taken off of life support. “Not yet,” he said. “We have something we need to give her, first.”
The next day, the siblings entered the ICU room where their mother lay and began to sing, and read the Bible, and tell their mother that they loved her. They returned a second day and did it again. Then their mother came out of her coma. Two days later, she was moved out of ICU and into a regular room. Two days after that, she was sent home, perfectly well.
What happened? Only God knows. Norm Wakefield explained that perhaps this woman realized that her children really did love her, and she wanted to be with them. No matter what the explanation, one thing is certain. These four, mother and children, learned to distinguish the difference between loving the world’s way and loving God’s way. The world “loves” in order to get, which is really not love at all, but idolatry. That kind of love uses things or people in an attempt to supply something that only God can supply. God’s love is different. It is poured out on us who can give him nothing in return, perfectly demonstrated by Jesus’ death on the cross.
“In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”
That we might love through him, also. That’s the love that can save lives.