The Rock that is higher than AC/DC

David Pettett

Caring for 28 Chaplains ministering in public institutions carries some responsibilities.

I sat with Stuart Adamson, one of our Chaplains at Randwick Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney Children’s Hospital and the Royal Hospital for Women to do his annual review. Concentrating on how he was going and what plans he had for the coming 12 months it was all business. That is until something Stuart said brought me back to reality.

“I’ve been talking with this patient for some time and he became a Christian yesterday.” This was a bit more exciting than an annual review. This man has given us permission to use his real name and tell his story.

“Gary’s time in hospital has been rough on him and his family. His experience here has caused him to think about what is important to him, to reflect on the certainty of his own death and consider afresh God’s claim on his life,” Stuart said.

“He has been around the things of faith for a while now, but the game changer for him was hearing, seemingly for the first time, that the Father did not order Jesus to go to the cross, but rather Jesus laid down his life for Gary and for me, in fact to pay for the sins of the whole world.”

Gary responded, “That makes it a whole new ballgame.”

Sure, visiting Bon Scott’s grave was, and still is, on Gary’s bucket list, and heavy rock may always be a favourite, but he encountered something far more amazing as he came to appreciate just how much Jesus loved him, and was bowled over to hear that the angels in heaven were rejoicing and praising God with him over his repentance.

“I saw AC/DC before they were big, and frankly, I think they were better back then. Bon Scott was so incredibly charismatic, you felt it was just you and him and the music….But, wow, this is amazing!” Gary says of his coming to faith.

Gary now has a bigger hero and has learnt about music of a different kind since accepting Jesus as his Saviour and Lord.

Stuart says Gary thought long and hard before agreeing to commit his life to Jesus, but now he knows that his name is in the Book of Life and God is totally committed to him.

As Gary prepares for his daughter’s wedding at a local church in a few weeks, he reports that his treatment is continuing as usual, “but I’m a lot happier.”

Gary’s new-found faith is infectious and he is keen to get into his new Bible.

“As a chaplain, it is great to know that the ministry is supported by a gospel partnership with churches near the hospital full of people who are faithful prayers,” says Stuart. “What is really encouraging for me is that these people have been praying for Gary for some months now, and they share my joy at what God is doing in his life.”

The life of a Chaplain is an isolated one, often cold calling on people who find themselves in difficult circumstances. It’s the joy of seeing God at work in the lives of people like Gary that keep them going. It’s partnerships with local Churches who faithfully pray, and often volunteer to minister alongside the Chaplain, that limits the isolation and makes it clear that this is God’s ministry in hard places where other outreach initiatives often don’t reach.

It would be great to see more Churches being in contact with their local Chaplain in hospital or prison, to share this ministry and support them in prayer. Anyone interested?


Feature photo: Tamsin Slater