James tells us that religion that is pure and undefiled before the Father is “to visit the widows and the orphans in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27 ESV). Bethany Christian Hospital was birthed primarily out of this understanding of the Father’s heart for the poor and the afflicted.
The scriptures are full of the revelation of the Father’s heart for the poor and afflicted, but perhaps most profoundly in His rebuke of the shepherds of Israel through the prophet Ezekiel, saying, “The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not sought … so they were scattered, because there was no shepherd” (Ezekiel 34:4-5 ESV).
The Father goes on to promise that He Himself would be a shepherd to His sheep and fulfills that promise in the person and ministry of Jesus Christ. Matthew reveals that Jesus would heal “every disease and every affliction” as he ministered in the cities and villages, filled with compassion for the crowds “because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:35-36 ESV).
As disciples of Jesus, we have been called to continue His ministry on the earth through His spirit dwelling in us. Compelled by the spirit of Jesus and the heart of God for the suffering, we long for Bethany Christian Hospital to be established as a refuge for the weak, the sick, and the injured who would otherwise have no access to medical care due to their poverty.
Serving Jesus Through Serving the Hurting
Finally, we know that the ministry of Bethany Christian Hospital is a ministry to Jesus Himself. Jesus tells us that when the Son of Man comes in His glory and the King separates the righteous from the wicked, He will say to the righteous:
“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you came to me. … As you did it to one of the least of these, my brothers, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:36,39 ESV).