As I walk the halls of the ICU I can see into each room. Most of the patients are lying in the hospital beds with ventilators, beeping monitors, white gauze wrappings and crumpled non-important linens. In some rooms I catch the eyes of the visitors. Always the same look.
Usually the patients in ICU are not coherent. It is the visitor that is alert. And the visitor is suffering.
As I stop at certain rooms and sit for a while, listening to the hurts as a Chaplain, I have the profound opportunity to follow the trail of breadcrumbs into their deepest pain. Almost all of those I talk with in those rooms wish they had made God more important in their lives.
It's in those moments where we might lose someone we love that we become introspective. It's in those moments that we realize our life has been full of many things, career, money, possessions, ego . . . and that none of them really satisfy. All of the investments of time and energy truly never fill our spiritual bellies like the depth and sweetness of a relationship with God.
In those moments people realize that God is not a side dish. He's the main course.
It's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day responsibilities and go weeks without God. We have the time to buy that iPad, see that latest-greatest movie, try out that new restaurant . . . but in the buffet of life, we find ourselves too busy, too full of other things . . . and God time ends up looking like that half a peach with a scoop of cottage cheese.
Friend, I hope you never find yourself in an ICU with ventilators and beeping monitors. I hope you never find yourself sobbing by the side of a bed begging God to help you make sense of a terrible loss.
But if you ever do have those traumatic moments . . . I pray that you've feasted on God daily so that you have the spiritual strength to endure tragedy. I pray that you've gotten to know God's character, trust His power and will for you and your family, and feel His divine hand in your life.
In those moments big and small, I pray that you've made God the main course.
You see, God's not a side dish. He's why you came to the table in the first place.