Tuesday, March 23, 2021
Who Shall Separate Us from the Love of Christ?
By Dr. Luis Campos
We first visited South Main Baptist Church in 1972, when Ruth and I came to Houston for me to start my Cardiology Fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine. We soon decided to join the church and were the first to receive a pastoral visit from Ken and Barbara Chafin who had just started their ministry.
As first-generation immigrants to the USA, we had no blood relatives in this country, and no friends in Houston. Our Church family has been our family. We brought up our children here. Ruth and I have grown at SMBC and we have learned how to apply Christian principles to negotiate the hard issues of the day. This Church has frequently taken the lead in many issues such as International Ministries, Ministries to Singles and Divorced, AIDS, SMILE, Homeless, gambling, and payday lending to name a few. Empowerment for our members, Children and Family Ministries has been great.
Our children received, from the earliest age, the core of the Gospel. Three years ago, Asher, our grandson (aged 3 Ω) was playing with me and he wanted us to enact the Angel with the shepherds story: He says, ?Stand over there and open your arms like wings.? I do it but he seems dissatisfied. ?Speak up?, he says. What shall I say?
Finally I answer, ?I bring you Good news! The Savior has been born! Of great joy! For all people!?
During this pilgrimage of life, we expect to encounter (as our friend Charis says) unpaved segments in the road; even stony roads, wilderness, isolation, pestilence, pain, and suffering. More importantly, during these storms we have the conviction that our God is with us, then and now.
Before my retirement, we had a fire in our house. We had to live in a rental house for more than six months. Then I was diagnosed with advanced kidney cancer and nodules in the lungs. After extensive surgery, I received chemotherapy and immunotherapy with many side effects. Soon after this I retired from my cardiology practice after 45 years. This part of my journey has been ?unpaved? but I have been blessed to feel God's infinite love and grace in very real ways. My wife, children, and church family have made it possible to find peace, hope, and joy during this time. The most difficult part has been to readjust my expectations of my role in life and my preconception of what it has meant to be of significance and service to others.
?I will restore health to you? says the Lord our God. (Jeremiah 30:17). Recently Pastor Steve reminded us that Jesus does not promise physical healing, but healing of the whole person. As a physician for more than 50 years, I know well that physical aspects are but a small problem of ill health. I love an old hymn my mother-in-law used to sing beautifully, ?There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole.? Good News! The Savior has been born to give me life!
This year, with the pandemic, political polarization, and racism in the spotlight, we have experienced significant changes affecting all aspects of our lives. The pressure has revealed deep brokenness and fear, as well as compassion and sacrifice for others. There have been wonderful innovations and creative changes, some of which will likely remain.
I was recently and unexpectedly hospitalized with septicemia. I received wonderful medical care. (The source of the infection was not identified.) It was no fun. I feel very blessed not only because I am better, but even more for the greater assurance to the question posed in Romans 8:35 ?Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? - No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us??
About the Author
Luis A. Campos was born in Huancayo, Peru and attended a Missionary School in Lima started by the Free Church of Scotland. He was able to fulfill his dream to become a physician and graduated from Edinburgh University Medical School. Ruth and Luis met in Edinburgh while attending the same church. They have four children and eight grandchildren. Together they have enjoyed mission work throughout their lives and are the founders of OSA, one of SMBC's primary mission partners. Luis also enjoys expressing himself through watercolors.