I have worked with dozens of professional colleagues. Many have become very close friends, even participating as members of my wedding party. But there have been a few who have made my life very difficult. One such colleague worked with me at a hospital nearly twenty years ago. At first, we were close colleagues, cordially interacting during our group’s monthly meetings. But when we were both assigned to the same hospital, conflicts soon arose. Every action I did angered him and if I ever tried to talk or help him out with his work, he viewed it with suspicion, thinking that I felt he was not capable of handling the workload. It came to a point that every morning, when I entered the hospital, I would seek out a deserted room and sit down and pray, sometimes for a half hour. I simply asked God to bring peace between the two of us. Frankly, the more I prayed, the worse the situation became. After a year, I was transferred to another facility and this colleague left our group. I have never seen or interacted with him since then.
I would love to share the profound life lessons that God revealed to me through this experience. Certainly, I learned patience. I learned to pray even when I did not see immediate results. I learned to be more critical of my own behavior, seeing how even small actions may be misinterpreted. Yet, even after nearly twenty years, I do not have a complete and satisfying answer. Instead, when I do reflect upon this year, I shake my head in disbelief that I expended so much emotional energy interacting with this one person.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:12 (ESV)
As the Apostle Paul wrote, in this world, we do not have a complete knowledge of what God is doing in our lives or His creation. It is a sobering reminder to me that God continues to mold and shape me into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. I may not understand or realize all the lessons that God was attempting to teach me during that year of my life, but someday, in His presence, I will. Until that day, I can take comfort in the next verse the Apostle Paul writes:
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13 (ESV)
Love will see me through. I will continue to love this person even when he detested me. I will continue to love the life lessons I learned. And I will love God for His continual grace and mercy to me, a sinner, like my colleague, who is only redeemed by believing in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.