“Should We Call The Pathologist?” (Romans 7:24-25)

In my third year of medical school, I had a clinical rotation in gynecology. One of the gynecologic surgeons was notorious for asking a series of oddball questions to new medical students. Fortunately, several of my fellow students had already alerted me to some of the more common questions, so I was prepared.


The case I met the gynecologist was a routine surgical procedure. After the polite introductions at the operating table, he addressed me. “You’re the medical student?” Have you operated with me before?”


“No sir!”


“Ah yes…very good! Welcome aboard!”


That seemed innocent enough, perhaps he had changed his usual medical student protocol? But a few minutes later, the inquisition began.


“Oh my!” he exclaimed. “Feel this!” He was grabbing the urinary bladder and compressing a mass. I stood across from him and reached into the operating field, also feeling the mass in the bladder.


“What is this?” he said in mock seriousness. “Is it a tumor? Should we call the pathologist and take some tissue for a frozen section (intraoperative consultation)?”


This was one of his favorite trick questions and I already knew the answer. But instead of politeness and deference, my sarcasm and arrogance got the better of me and I mocked, “Not unless you want to get a diagnosis of rubber!”


He immediately looked up from the operating field. “What do you mean?”


I confidently replied, “This is the balloon from the urinary catheter, holding it in place within the patient’s bladder.”


The gynecologist went back to operating and nodded his head. “Clever student,” he sneered.


Yes, clever student. I only appeared clever because I had inside knowledge. Like this incident in medical school, I have quickly succumbed to other opportunities when I can make myself look good, regardless of how I arrived at that point.


Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

Romans 7:24-25 (ESV)


After I confessed and repented of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, God needed to conduct major surgery in my life to correct my sin of pride. But like an insidious cancer, it frequently returns, and I continue to struggle with this. Exasperated as I am, I know God, through His Holy Spirit, continues to transform me into the image of His Son. Situations that, in the past, could have easily ensnared me are becoming less frequent. He has heightened my sensitivity and awareness to these prideful potholes and He comforts me when I do fall. Only by God’s grace and mercy am I able to declare…


There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:1 (ESV)


All praise to the Living God!


Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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