It was a Sunday evening in the busy Emergency Department where I was on
duty with other physicians. There had been an accident in which a pickup truck had
overturned. The occupants, three young men, were brought in for evaluation and care. One
of the young fellows was so drunk he could give no coherent account of what had happened,
nor if he hurt, nor where.
The patient’s vital signs were stable and evaluation by the doctor
who had assumed his care, revealed no apparent major threat to life nor limb. The
situation, however, was frustrating from a medical standpoint because important indicators
of significant injury could be concealed due to the effects of the alcohol. The plan was
to keep a close eye on him, let him dry out and do periodic rechecks. When his treating
physician went off duty, he asked me to take over on the patient’s care.
I found the young man still quite drunk and reeking of alcohol. He was
filthy. His response to any question I asked him was either an unintelligible mumble or a
inept effort to make a wisecrack. He was uncooperative and efforts at gently cleaning a
wound he had were effectively thwarted by his overreaction to the slightest touch. I was
disgusted with him but thankfully the Lord gave help in controlling my irritation and
After I had finished the care of his wound, his mother came in. She
stood at the side of the stretcher gazing down at him. I glanced at her. Tears were
streaming down her face. Her expression was one of overflowing love and compelling sorrow
mingled together. What to me was a repulsive individual was to her an object of immense
"God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved
us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye
are saved)." Eph. 2:4-5.
"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and
sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought
also to love one another." 1 John 4:10-11.