Full Immersion (Philippians 2:5-8)

Early in my pathology residency training, I knew I wanted subspecialize, but which field? I saw merit in all of the specialties, from the board certifiable subspecialties of dermatopathology, hematopathology, and neuropathology to expertise in medical and surgical specialties such as nephrology and urologic surgery, cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery, and rheumatology and orthopedic surgery,  requiring a pathologist to bridge the gap between the clinician and the microscopic slide. To communicate the pathologic findings, the pathologist needed to communicate with the respective specialists, becoming adept with the terminology and treatment nuances. It required the subspecialist pathologist to learn an entirely new specialty.


The dilemma was how to quickly gain experience in another medical specialty while still carrying a full load of work training as a pathology resident. The answer was a full immersion in the journals at our hospital library. On weekends and after work, I would spend hours perusing the medical specialty journals; one week it was pulmonology, another week, gastroenterology, and so on. As I read the articles, I imagined myself interacting with the specialists, conversing in their language and advising them on treatment options based upon the pathology diagnoses. After several months, the specialty that resonated the strongest with me was dermatology. I had found my specialty-dermatopathology!


I soon learned that a full immersion could be helpful in other areas of my life. Ever since my first trip to Japan, my heart has been burdened to reach out to the Japanese people, a country of over one hundred million and less than 1% are believers in Jesus Christ. As a third generation Japanese-American, I can speak some Japanese and read at an elementary level, but it was the cultural nuances that were still very foreign. While I identified with certain behaviors, others were mystifying.


I immersed myself in classic books and documentaries about Japanese history and culture. For the first time, I began to understand the behavioral subtleties of the Japanese people, manifest in my life but diluted after two generations displaced from Japan. Like the confidence I gained from my full immersion in the medical journals, I felt more comfortable and willing to speak to other Japanese nationals.


Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

Philippians 2:5-8 (ESV)


Jesus Christ completely immersed Himself in our humanity, becoming fully man and experiencing all of the joys and sorrow of humanity. He did it to pay the penalty for sins that we justly deserved. He did it so we know that every temptation and every pain we face, He also faced, persevered, and triumphed. We have absolute confidence that He completely understands our every need.


Full immersion.


We should follow the example of our Lord and do the same for anyone with whom we desire to share the Good News.




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


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