Posts tagged ‘learn’

What Bad Things Has God Given You?

Job replied, “Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?”    Job 2:10  

When I was an OB/GYN resident at Bethesda Naval Hospital, we had morning rounds every weekday. During this time each resident would present the history, diagnosis, and treatment of each of the patients she/he had been assigned. There were times the attending physicians (those who were ultimately in charge of all patient care) would praise us for our technical abilities or diagnostic skills. But there were many instances of criticisms from the attendings, or even worse. Once I was asked to report the very next day on endometriosis, a benign gynecologic disorder that can cause pain and infertility. My attending wanted me to outline the causes of the disease, diagnostic testing options, and the therapeutic modalities. I was up most of the night preparing this paper due the next day. It was painful. It was humiliating to be called out in front of my fellow residents. And yet it helped me to not only learn about endometriosis, but to develop the habit of doing the necessary research to benefit my patients each and every day.

Job is described in chapter 1 as a man who was blameless and a man who had complete integrity. He loved God and followed His commands in his life. We read that Job was a family man who prayed and sacrificed for his children. He had been blessed with wealth as he was selfless, hard working, and humble. And then we read that he lost his farm animals, his sheep, his workers, and his children. If such losses weren’t enough, Job then lost his health. As he sat in agony with boils covering his entire body, Job responds to the the advice of his wife to curse God with a very insightful question, “Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?”

This is a tough question. None of us ever want to receive bad things. But before I think about what it means to receive something bad from God, I think about what it was like to endure morning rounds at Bethesda Naval Hospital. Those were bad times. I dreaded the hour from 7-8am every weekday. And yet I learned to develop the intellectual discipline necessary to care for my patients throughout my career as a physician. I have even learned to accept the good with the bad from my friends which has taught me innumerable lessons about unconditional love, forgiveness, honesty, trust, and transparency that have made my life richer.

And so I resonate with Job’s rhetorical question. Some of the greatest blessings in my life have come to me when I have embraced the bad things from God. When I pray for humility, he brings morning rounds into my life. When I pray for a deeper love of humanity, he shows me the need to forgive. When I pray for insight, He uses the Word to expose my need to change a habit. And when I pray for forgiveness, he shows me how I need to confess my faults. Perhaps we should be thanking God more for the bad things He gives us than the good things!  

 

Have You Placed God in a Box?

But Josiah refused to listen to Neco, to whom God had indeed spoken, and he would not turn back. Instead, he disguised himself and led his army into battle on the plain of Megiddo.  2 Chronicles 35:2

King Josiah of Judah had just completed the restoration of God’s Temple when he heard that King Neco of Egypt was coming to do battle at Carchemish on the Euphrates River. Josiah was threatened by this action and was determined to fight Neco’s army. The problem with Josiah’s plan was that God had told Neco to do battle at Carchemish with no plans to attack Judah. Josiah did not believe Neco and he did not check with God regarding this issue. I suppose Josiah assumed that God would not talk with foreign kings. This is a sad story because Josiah attacked Neco’s army and lost his life in the process.

It is easy to get caught in the trap of thinking God only speaks to me or to people who believe like me. This approach to life is easier because I don’t have to take the time to listen to others who disagree with me, or understand their points of view. And I don’t have to inquire of God as to the validity of their arguments and whether or not they have something to teach me. But when I judge a person’s ability to hear from God based upon their race, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, or even their religion, then I am putting limits on God. And when I put limits on God, I am the one who suffers. If King Josiah, who listened to God and did His will, could die because he refused to believe that Neco could hear from God, then I can too.

I have discovered that my physical health is intimately connected with my spiritual health. And in the process of finding the best path forward, God has spoken to me through a Christian nurse, a Hindu medical doctor, a Christian naturopathic doctor, and an atheist who is seeking balance and healing in his life. I am thankful that God speaks to ALL of us. I am challenged by a God who cannot be placed into a sectarian box. Because I know God speaks to people I tend to disregard because of their beliefs or lifestyle choices, I am challenged to seek God with all my heart, mind, and soul. My connection with God is the only way I can know when He is speaking directly to me through others, no matter who they are.

I am thankful for the insights I have received from God’s eclectic set of messengers over the past several weeks. Without them, I would probably still have feelings of hopelessness and be without a plan that puts me on the path to wellness. With them, I am filled with optimism and courage about the future, and I have a solid plan to attain wholeness and wellness again. I have also made new friends who may be receiving a message from God through me! But I will leave that process to God. I have enough to worry about in my own life.

Have you placed God in a box? Do you limit His access to you by refusing to listen to certain people because of your own biases? Listen to those who come across your path this week for God’s voice. You may be surprised who He sends your way!

 

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