Living God's Love

October 06, 2017 | John Freedman

Predicting what health care in America will look like as we move into the future is like trying to walk outside during a hurricane. The winds of debate are strong, outcomes often unpredictable. During last year alone, more than 100 hospitals around our nation experienced a major ownership transition. Church and community members in Walla Walla, Washington, have personally felt the pain and uncertainty associated with the closure of our Adventist hospital there. While we are grateful that many staff members and physicians will remain actively engaged with health care in the Walla Walla Valley, our hearts continue to desire new ways to fulfill our Adventist Health mission there and beyond.

Navigating through uncertain times requires intentional, prayerful course corrections to face the changing landscape. I am impressed with the new mission focus and strategic priorities our Adventist Health administrative leaders have implemented. We need to keep them in our prayers, asking for divine guidance and wisdom during these rapidly changing times.

The Adventist Health mission statement is both simple and profound: “Living God’s love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope.” Living God’s love reminds me we are human examples of God’s character of unconditional love and acceptance, loving others as He has loved us.

One image that went viral in the midst of hurricane devastation portrayed a police SWAT officer carrying in his arms a young mother and her baby through floodwaters to a rescue vehicle. That was a tangible picture of how living God’s love can bring hope. Opportunities are everywhere, if our hearts are full of Him, to bring hope and wholeness to those in need.

Storms come in all shapes and sizes. We have them in the political arena, in health care, in hurricanes, in floods and fires, in the governance issues affecting the denomination, and in the generational crisis affecting the North American Division. There are no easy answers for any of these crises we face. Yet every crisis creates unlimited opportunities to demonstrate the love of God.

Every decision we make, every action we take, has a million consequences, very few of which we can predict or control. Every opportunity taken to bring hope to those in need reverberates throughout the universe. The message is clear: God is alive and on the move in mighty ways. He is changing lives. His love never fails!

The real question for each of us is how will we respond to crises, for they will surely come! In every situation, God gives us the ability, in Christ, to choose our response. Will we intentionally live God’s love? Will we bring hope to those in need? Will we glorify God in our responses? The many storms around us are providing countless opportunities.

My prayer for our Northwest family of believers is that we will live out God’s love and bring hope to those in need. Scripture is plain: It is God’s will for us. Beyond the wonderful and familiar reminder in John 3:16, we also read, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8). And Jesus couldn’t have made it more clear. “You know,” He said, “that the rulers of the gentiles lord it over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave — just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28).