Doctoring with God

Here we are – just two weeks into working life, internship at the hospital. I wondered how it would be starting work – what different time commitments I might have, how busy I might be, what attitudes I could encounter, and how I might serve the Lord through actually doing medicine.

Here, two things I learnt:

  • God is the same yesterday, today and forever [Hebrew 13:8]
  • The value of becoming all things to all people [1 Corinthians 9:22-23]

How would our journey with the Lord, time with family, time serving church be impacted by full time work?

Here, another two things:

  • God is always with us [Psalm 42:8]
  • There is always time to do the things God wants us to do [Matthew 6:32-33]

So, let me explain these things a little more.

IMG_0832In medical school, I had many opportunities to go places. Studying medicine opened up doors for me to travel to Nepal, to Minlaton and to a variety of other places in Australia and overseas. More than the medicine I learnt, however, I was thankful for the people I met. I learnt from them, and for some, had opportunities to speak into their lives. As a student, I had time to speak with people and to pray for my patients. That was great, but what about the actual practice of medicine? How would that practical aspect fit in with serving God, and what changes would occur with me in an employed position? Well, the same God who cares about the sick and the lonely continues to care for them now. He is faithful and He sees a willing heart. Just as there were opportunities for me to minister to people as a student, there are opportunities for me to minister as an intern. Even while working, there is time for this, because there is always time to do God’s work and He is the best planner. It does not happen at the expense of my work, but there is time to pray, time to read His word, time to be still and listen to the leading of His voice. So, whatever my hand finds to do, I will do with my might [Ecclesiastes 9:10].

There is time for me to serve God out of work. In medical school, if I had a commitment with the girls at the church small group, or if there was a mission trip I felt the Lord really wanted me to go on, I had a surprisingly easy time getting the needed time off. Looking at my hospital rotations for the year, I was already encouraged that I would have the time I needed to do what the Lord wanted me to do outside of the workplace. In fact, even in this first surgical rotation, I have all the evenings, and Sundays I need off already, without even having to swap anything. Not only that, but it just so happens that I even have time off to celebrate with friends in their engagements, baptisms, and final music performances. I’m sure there will be times in future when I will learn to swap shifts or apply for leave when needed. However, to have a timetable so perfectly worked out is a blessing and encouragement from the Lord – I know all things are in His hand.

IMG_1202“Doctor” – in our house-hunting and financial planning, I have begun to understand just how influential this title can be. I was at first, so taken aback by this that I really did not want to be known as “doctor”. However, someone reminded me about what Paul says in first Corinthians about being all things to all people for the sake of the gospel. They reminded me of Luke, the beloved physician, who wrote an orderly account of the gospel in order that “you may know the certainly of those things in which you were instructed” [Luke 1:3-4, Colossians 4:14] I do not want the pride and abuse of power that can sometimes come along with the title of “doctor”, but at the same time, I want to steward well what God has given me. I want to put in the effort and work it takes to be a good doctor, not for my glory, but for God’s. What good will I be to the kingdom of God if my reputation is tainted by being known as lazy or grumpy or incompetent. In my workplace, I want to live a life for God and I want to stand as a witness for His name.  If there are things He can do through me because I am a “doctor”, then I want to be fully attentive to this. I want to fully participate in what God is doing, and that includes learning how to steward this title of “doctor”.

Both Jerry, my husband, and I have had significant experiences through our internship that have reminded us that God is always with us. My husband had some very busy rotations in his internship, one of which was medical nights. Walking through the hospital at night, with sick patients deteriorating and the constant sound of his pager, God sang to him, sustained him and loved him. God guided him though many difficult scenarios and by His grace, none of the patients he reviewed for active treatment died. He had opportunities to pray with families and Psalm 42:8 resounded in his being – “The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me – a prayer to the God of my life.” The evening before I began my first real day of internship, I felt a strong presence of the Holy Spirit, stopped what I was doing and began to pray. The Lord showed me a few things that night and amongst them was a quick, but sure reminder that He would give time for fellowship and prayer even as we worked.

IMG_1028I am excited to be out in the workplace now and I look forward to all God is doing here in the hospital, and also in His church. During some of my morning drives to work, I have been listening to Nehemiah. I am so struck by the incredible oneness of Spirit and mind the people had in the Lord as they rebuilt Jerusalem. They stood fast in the face of oppression, they worked with humility and obedience. They worshipped the Lord together and had joy in remembering His faithfulness through the generations. As I work, learn, and grow in all this, I remember that I am building something much bigger than a career. I am building the kingdom of God with a multitude of saints. May God’s glory shine through the marketplace.

(On a side note, here is a link to a devotional on Isaiah 53 – the passage I felt the Lord emphasise to me during Christmas last year:

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