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12th May 2021

The SAT-7 ARABIC program Important to be Christian has aired a special episode from inside the Heart of Jesus Hospital in Beirut, Lebanon. The crew filmed Pastor Ramzi Jreij as he prayed outside three of the hospital’s wards, bringing God’s Word into moments of isolation, fear, and pain. Viewers described the episode as being “full of hope.”

There may come a time when you experience total isolation from everyone around you,” says Pastor Ramzi Jreij on the program. “When you are totally alone, there is only one thing that can lift you up. The love of Jesus in your heart. The grace of God.”

As a survivor of COVID-19 himself, Pastor Jreij had previously visited COVID-19 patients in their isolation on his own prior to the filming. “Our prayers encourage patients and their families in their times of illness, difficulty, and isolation,” he says. Pastor Jreij shares with patients how Jesus suffered alone, so that we will never be alone in our suffering.

As he visits the wards on the teaching program, he explains to the patients that Jesus experienced similar suffering, and that He empathizes with them in their pain.

“In this episode, I wanted to discuss three dimensions of illness,” he says. “First, receiving the news. When a person receives bad news about their health, it can feel like a death sentence. That’s how Jesus felt when He was sentenced to death. Second, the loneliness and isolation that patients experience away from their loved ones. Jesus, too, was alone in His suffering. Third, the shortage of breath and the struggle for life. Jesus, too, struggled to breathe on the cross.

“The Gospel of Jesus’ death and resurrection is not just an idea,” he concludes. “It speaks deeply to the struggles of life.”

The unfamiliar sight of a pastor standing in protective gear in neon-lit hospital corridors, reading from a Bible while nurses and doctors hover about him, touched many hearts. The episode received feedback from many viewers, especially COVID-19 patients isolated in their homes.

“Wonderful, Pastor, wonderful. We wait to hear the Word of God from you,” one commenter said. Another wrote on social media, “Thank you, Pastor. This episode is full of hope.”

Pastor Jreij prayed through the Word of God, reading Psalms in the COVID-19 unit, the intensive care ward, and the labs where test results emerge bearing good or bad news. “Only Jesus Christ can give consolation to our hearts – that is what we tried to convey through this episode,” he said afterwards.

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