I am so excited to be starting this series ‘Nursing and the Name’ with all of you. I have to say, I am overwhelmed by the support I have received since I announced that I was going to be writing the series and I so hope that it will be a blessing to you.
I have been spending time in prayer, asking the Lord to reveal to me what it is that he wants me to say. I pray that you know through these words that the Lord God Almighty is just that — Almighty. He is the King of this world and He is the King of your work. He deeply wants us to commit our work to Him and make it a vocation, no matter what job we have. And He also greatly desires us to be drawn to Him and to be Christ-like. What does that mean as a Nurse? And how to we be Christ-like when our profession doesn’t necessarily allow us to proclaim His name to our patients?
The Nurse as Healer
Nurses have a unique position in healthcare. We are the ones who carry out the orders, who see the immediate effects of interventions, who monitor for changes – both good and bad – and most often are the ones who provide comfort to the patient. I’ve heard it said (heck, I even have it on a button) that Nurses are the Heart of Healthcare. In this way, the work that we do is essentially Christ-like. The Son healed by the power of the Father, just as prophecy told us in Isaiah and Jeremiah (Isaiah 38:16-17; 41:10; 53:4-5; 57:18-19; Jeremiah 30:17; 33:6) And there are countless examples of Jesus performing miraculous healing during his ministry. So much so that not even every incident is accounted for: Matthew tells us that He “went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.” (4:23).
But Christ not only healed, but he commissioned his people to heal as well.
Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness…Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. (Matthew 10:1)
And we know that the apostles did heal in the Name of Jesus Christ, just as Christ had instructed (John 16:23-24).
The whole idea of commissioning the disciples was for them to grow the numbers of Christians in the world. And in that sense, we are their direct descendants! We, as nurses, are now taking up the work that Christ started by giving of ourselves to heal the sick. We are carrying on where the Son and the Apostles guided us.
Unlike the apostles, however, we aren’t able to publicly declare that our work is done in the name of the Lord. We benefit from modern medicine taking much of the glory. But we all know that God is the great physician and that His mercy, knowledge and goodness are what have provided us with the miracle of modern medicine, through scientific discovery and incredible minds. So how do we give Him the glory when we aren’t able to mention His holy name at the bedside?
Christ as Example
Christ didn’t just give someone a pill and say “take this and call me in the morning”. Jesus could look into the very soul of each person and heal them completely. The gospel tells us of how He knew everything about a person without them needing to tell Him a single thing. And He healed all of them. Not just the part that was physically sick, but He healed the very essence of their being.
In the same way, nurses have the ability to heal the way that Christ healed, even if we can’t talk about Him directly. Nurses care about the whole person, or as we call it, holistic care. We care about their physical bodies, minds, emotions, and spirituality. We work hard to ensure that patients are without pain, fear, and stress. When someone needs a consult to a specialist, we make sure it happens. When a family member needs to vent, we are an ear to listen. And when a patient needs someone to sit and hold their hand, we are there to be a support. As nurses, we do more than just ensure meds are given by a certain time, or wounds are clean and heal. We care for the whole person, and in so doing, we reflect Christ’s goodness and love for His people.
Taking care of the whole person can be physically and emotionally draining, but “[we] can do all this through him who gives [us] strength” (Philippians 4:13). And when we rely on the Lord, and lean in to His goodness and healing power, we can do more than we could ever imagine. And by doing all these things for our patients, knowing in our hearts that we act in the name Lord, we are declaring the glory of God in our actions and in our love.