I staggered to my car after twelve uninterrupted hours at the hospital. I was a third-year medical student in the middle of my pediatrics rotation. All I wanted to do was eat dinner and sleep but I could not. I had a major presentation to give in two days on common viral diseases of childhood and the mid-terms were looming. I was exhausted but knew that if I did not get some rest I would be unable to prepare the talk nor would I be able to study. It was 7 PM when I returned home. I slumped into my desk chair and surveyed the work that I needed to complete. After a few minutes, my droopy eyelids overwhelmed my decision making. Why don’t I sleep now, awaken at 2 AM, then eat dinner? That would give me at least 6 hours of sleep, more than what I was usually getting. I embarked upon this plan and awoke refreshed but realized it was too tempting to remain at home and conveniently crawl back into bed. I dressed and drove back to the hospital and spied an empty table in the conference room. The nurse’s station had fresh coffee and the restrooms were nearby. I had nearly three hours to study and then I would be ready to round on my patients, not sacrificing additional drive time. I was elated that I had stumbled upon this solution.
Keeping this schedule, I was able to rest and find time to study. I did well on my pediatrics rotation and was pleasantly surprised to read some of my evaluations. “He never sleeps!“ wrote one professor. “I would see him on the hospital wards at 3 AM, even on nights when he wasn’t on call!” I realized that he and my supervising residents were under the false impression that I never left the hospital, always working and caring for my patients!
Appearances can be deceiving. I never intended to mislead anyone with my unconventional schedule; I was merely attempting to pass pediatrics. Without properly understanding a situation, we may arrive at an erroneous conclusion about someone’s circumstances. Fortunately, in my case, there was a pleasant and successful outcome. Yet, too often, a hasty or misinformed judgment based upon circumstantial or shallow evidence of one’s situation or behavior has led to misunderstanding and even suffering or persecution of the accused.
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
John 9:2-3 (ESV)
In the time of Jesus and even today, people may assume that if a person is afflicted with poor health or difficult life circumstances, it is the result of past sins that either the person or their parents had committed. Jesus turned these assumptions on their head and forced His disciples to consider another reason, to glorify God. He then healed the man, fulfilling His own prophecy.
Like the observations my colleagues made of my early morning studying in the hospital, there was another explanation. The calling of Jesus Christ should compel all of us to be willing to dig deep and seek the Truth about our life and the reason for our existence. We are not spiritually imprisoned by the sins and actions of our ancestors nor are we eternally bound to live a life of retribution. We are all lost sinners and God has given us a real choice. We can choose to confess and repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. If we do, God will grant us salvation and eternal life with Him. If we chose to reject Him, He will not force Himself upon us.
With God, there are no assumptions or misunderstandings. He has presented the complete Truth for all to make an informed and intelligent decision about following His Son, Jesus Christ.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.