by Mike Ratliff
My wife and I are in our nation’s capital visiting our son. He lives in Columbia Heights because he is physician who is in his first year residency at GWU Hospital in their Emergency Medicine program. As we ate dinner with him this afternoon he shared some things with us about some of his latest patients. There was the woman who died as they began treating her. She had massive hemorrhaging in her chest cavity and bled to death in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Then there was the intravenous drug user who didn’t have any veins left in which to give him an IV. There were more…
On Thursday, we took the Metro Yellow Line from our hotel in Crystal City to our son’s neighborhood. The best way to describe the area of DC in which he lives is as a melting pot and very busy. The sidewalks are packed with young people, old people, Hispanics, blacks, students, you name it. I was dressed in shorts and a t-shirt with sandals. Neither of us was dressed in any way that would suggest that we were not part of this seamy side of the city. At least that is what I thought. However, it became obvious in a hurry that we did stand out and were stared at. Some reacted with indifference. Some reacted by making the point that they were just as significant as us by being rude and loud, bordering on obnoxious.
This morning I prayed that God would give me insight and wisdom and discernment about what He was showing me. The word that kept coming to me was that I was seeing what people are like without Jesus. Now I know that there are believers in this city because this is where Mark Dever’s church is, however, the focus of these people’s lives was on trying to find significance any way they could, in the best way they could. They found it, or at least they thought they did in their “culture” and “lifestyles,” but if they are confronted with the gospel, hostility is their first reaction.
There is another side to the city as well. There is money and power here. Property and rental property is way over-priced. My son’s rent is more than my house payment back in the Kansas City area and he is paying only half the total rent for a two-bedroom apartment. Those with the money live their lives as if God doesn’t exist either. You see them at the expensive sidewalk café’s just off of Dupont Circle or Massachusetts avenue or at Pentagon City or Crystal City, etc. Instead of going home after work, they hit the scene, eat and drink and party. I don’t see anyone being broken hearted over the masses of lost and dying folks all around them either.
Isn’t this the state of fallen man? What can we do about it? I can do nothing except pray and obey. That means that God can do something and He can and does work through His people here such as Mark Dever. Each of us should be lights of truth by being humble and content where God has us. Then we should be ready to give an account to all whom the Lord brings into our sphere. We are not responsible for what they do or don’t do with the truth we give them, but we must give it to all who will hear. Again, this isn’t about telling people about Jesus making anyone’s life better temporally. Instead, it is about telling the truth about fallen man and the only way to eternal life through the Son. We must give them the good news then pray for God to bear fruit in their hearts.
God’s will be done.