Transforming the Continuum of Care

12 12 2020

Unless you have been living in a cave for the past 10 months…the global pandemic has resulted in inequitable panic, concern, and impulsive reactions among government officials and the ‘health care’ community. The reactions and fear have not been unfounded. Millions worldwide have been impacted and many have died as a direct result of the COVID-19 virus or from complications involving other ailments and conditions.

The key for the Church is to become uncomfortable with the fact that too many have died separated from families and loved ones. In the best circumstances there has been virtual visits and phone conversations. I have read numerous posts and been part of conversations among clergy and families that simply object to the separation. The objections range from selfishness, entitlement, and mistrust of doctors on the surface to blaming decision-makers; from presidents and governors and lawyers on the extreme.

The continuum of care, in a non-pandemic, has at best been loosely applied – especially when it comes to the medical community. During a pandemic it has become painfully clear that the continuum of care has been completely severed and in many ways it will never recover. Simply, the continuum of care for a human being involves the spiritual, emotional (mental health), and physical needs of the individual. I need to state unequivocally – that this continuum of care extends to both the patient AND the caregiver(s).

This tragic moment in the history of humankind presents opportunity to set in motion steps to make sure we get it right in the future. Pandemics will occur, it is part of life. The opportunity at this moment is not to work to re-create the old normal, but to transform the present into a better place that care-fully responds to the needs of one another.

This will be difficult – similar to the long and intricate process to re-attach a severed limb. Yet we are called to seek an integration of the full continuum of care within communities, churches, hospitals, and government institutions. The re-attaching needs to begin now – before the limb (the ideal continuum of care) is no longer viable.

Think about how painful it is someone sitting in their car in a parking lot while your spouse or child is in the emergency room – imagine how exhausting physically and emotionally it is hour upon hour. Then add to that the fact that ER staff assured you they would call to keep you informed…but then they don’t – for hours. Then through your impatience you call to check on your loved one – only to be told I will let the nurse know you called. This instance, repeated thousands of times every day, is a breach in the acceptable continuum of care.

Human tendency leans toward righteous anger and blame, combined with mistrust of strangers caring for your loved one, and the shear fear of the worst care scenario coming true. Within a functional and transparent continuum of care, an equal burden of all involved exists.

Where do we begin? We seek truth and that begins with an understanding that sin and evil exist and are working overtime to create ever-lasting chasms of hate between people, their institutions and governments.

To confront this evil, people of faith need assurances – which we find in Holy Scripture. There we draw upon the Word of God to defend us in the spiritual war we face. Jesus says – on his last physical human day on earth – to His disciples: ‘I will be with you always’ (Matthew 28:20). Believing and living these Words invokes the presence of the One we need at crucial moments in our lives; when death threatens us and our loved ones. In addition, Jesus’ Words are fully and unmistakably – PROMISE. Thanks Be to God!

To Whom Shall Go?

2 12 2020

At this very moment I am uncertain on what tomorrow will bring. I am confident I know who holds the future. It’s not a matter of proving or disproving this hypothesis, rather is it confirmed in, with, and under a radical, trusting faith as a baptized child of God. The norm of social discourse in an increasingly secular, faith-less society has been to question or even reject the providence and presence of God. When things go bad we find ourselves – again – on a dangerous and slippery slope conducting our daily lives without a clear sense of Godly purpose and direction.

Over the years, the focus of ministers (aka all the baptized) of Jesus Christ has been to keep Jesus – the main thing! To venture forward into the grace, forgiveness and redemption offered through Him as front and center. The phrase ‘keep your eyes on the prize’ has been adequately appropriated to help us maintain Jesus as the focus and reason for our ministry. The COVID-19 pandemic threatens our ability to maintain focus and to give glory to God, our Creator, for the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ alone.

We are extraordinarily aware of the intent of the evil one to refocus us on someone or something else. First of all to focus on ourselves, second to focus on the earthly powers and principalities to save us. Despite our trust and deep faith in God as the sole power to save us, it doesn’t mean the devil and all his empty promises don’t get front page news. In particular, it appears society places a blind trust in human endeavors and that is gaining rapid acceptance. During a health crisis the primary diversion of our attention is on a VACCINE. Before you stop reading, don’t for a minute think I am advocating not being vaccinated for any disease. Rather I am advocating attributing all that works for good in response to helping a broken world become whole and healthy – to God. Yes, God. God guides everything – people and resources – toward good. He does so in spite of governments, officials, and corporations who think otherwise.

God is not in the pandemic. By the power of the Holy Spirit, God is in those who work tirelessly to help and assist His creation to endure and eventually survive it. That is why all glory and credit should be given to God. During this pandemic, many have asked…to whom shall we go? We have gone to God in prayer, we have worshipped Him, and we laid down ours normal lives and work to see to it that His mercy and grace endures – every moment of every day during this time and all times. We are grateful to God for all He has done, continues to do, and has yet to do in the name of Jesus Christ during difficult times.

So, as we move forward and God gifts us with people who have the expertise to develop vaccines for our survival from biological evils – we rejoice. Yet, we know, since everything works together for good for those who love the Lord, God is to be given all the credit. Think for a moment on how different the world would become if God was given the proper credit for our well-being. Perhaps, we would finally recognize it’s not the devil in the details, but rather it is a loving God. We would recognize that supreme value of all life as important to God.

As we continue to fully trust God – may we act and serve knowing Jesus is with us in every moment to help us – especially when things get very bad.