He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain, because all the old ways are gone. ~ Revelation 21:4, NCV
Recall how He was chided for coming late to Mary and Martha’s home after Lazarus had died. Seeing how troubled and upset the family was, Jesus cried with them, such that the Jews said in John 11:36 (KJV), “Behold how he loved him!” Others have thought that Jesus cried not just for Lazarus or his family, but for all of us who don’t understand why He came to this sinful earth.
Though my early years of practice for patients were filled with scientific treatments of everything I had been taught, I soon realized that patients wanted someone who really cared, even if the outcome wasn’t what they thought it would be. Though outcomes are important, they can be disappointing at times. But if we exercise our true altruism for our patients, they will ingratiate us with their gratitude.
I recall one incident in which a patient with pelvic and abdominal pain demonstrated a work-up with no obvious findings of organic pathology. Looking eye to eye, I finally asked, “Mary, what’s going on at home?” With that question, big gloppy tears began flowing down her reddening cheeks, “Oh doctor, you have no idea what I have to deal with!”
Her story opened up with a floodgate of tears as she began explaining how her marriage and family were falling apart. Her treatment needs were far different than what a simple prescription could fix. She needed an understanding ear, someone who cared, and godly counsel from additional members of healthcare team. I knew that her life had been touched that day, and she was on her way to healing.
Healthcare is about much more than just healthcare. It’s about “people care” – or, as we say at Loma Linda, “whole-person care.” Late in my career, Julie, my receptionist, and I began to recognize a pattern of success. We felt we had a good day, based on the number of patients expressing tears at the end of their visit – tear of relief, tears of joy, and, yes, I believe, tears of healing.
Revelation 21:4 (NKJV) says Jesus “will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” I look forward to that day when the old ways are gone, the tears of healing have done their job, and we can learn at the feet of the One who cried the ultimate tears of healing on the cross.
–Clifford Walters, LLUSM class of 1974, is associate clinical professor in LLUSM department of gynecology and obstetrics. He was LLUSM Alumni Association president from 2003 to 2004.