“It Comes With The Territory” (Acts 8:18-19)

“You tell the Doctor that I will be seeking out more patients that he has committed malpractice!”


The patient rudely hung up the phone on my staff. This patient’s outrageous accusations had infuriated me and my entire laboratory. The patient made an appointment to see his dermatologist for an evaluation of a skin lesion on his arm. After the dermatologist biopsied it and sent it to my lab, I rendered a benign diagnosis. Instead of being thankful, the patient was convinced that I and the dermatologist were conspiring to render a malignant diagnosis as benign, intentionally misleading the patient and deliberately hiding the truth. I immediately called the referring dermatologist who confirmed my suspicions. Just yesterday, the patient exploded into a tirade in front of other patients in the waiting room, accusing the dermatologist and his staff of malpractice. They dismissed the patient from their practice. I wanted to make sure that the dermatologist and I were united on the sequence of events. I was mollified by the disclosure of the dermatologist but remained suspicious. I undertook an internet search on this patient and within seconds, a litany of lawsuits, linked to his name, appeared. This patient had filed numerous unsuccessful lawsuits against defendants as varied as major department stores, local schools, and his local city council. His irrational behavior had a definite precedence. One of my staff shook her head and said to me, “Sorry Doctor. I know this was difficult for you.”


“No,” I shook my head. “Nothing to be sorry about. It comes with the territory.”


Every occupation is associated with unique challenges embodying nuances that only someone working within each industry can truly relate. In medicine, the patient must trust the physician is working on their behalf to better their health and life. If this trust is breached, it is difficult to reconcile. In truth, trust is paramount if any relationship is to succeed.


The disciples of Jesus were the first missionaries. There was no rule book or mentors to emulate. Their guide was the Holy Spirit and their remembrance of the teachings of their Master, Jesus Christ. On one of their missionary encounters, they met Simon, a sorcerer, and charlatan, who practiced his craft to dupe and swindle people. After hearing Peter preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, he supposedly repented of his former life and became a believer. Trust was initially established. Yet just a short time later, Simon witnessed the power of the Holy Spirit and the true intentions of his heart were revealed.


Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 8:18-19 (ESV)


The Bible does not give us any insight into the tone of Peter’s speech, but I can imagine the frustration and exasperation that Peter was feeling when he heard Simon’s request!


But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.”

Acts 8:20-23 (ESV)

Some people claim to follow Jesus Christ but their lifestyle and actions prove otherwise. Peter accepted and trusted the confession of Simon but this trust was soon broken. In medicine, if there is no trust, proper medical care cannot be rendered. With God, if we do not trust Him, God will not force Himself upon us. He will allow us to live our lives, apart from His infinite grace and mercy. He will always extend His promise of eternal life and salvation until the last second of our life, hoping we will accept His invitation, but once we die, there are no second chances and we will be eternally separated from God. God is willing to trust us with His greatest act of love and mercy, giving His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins. All we have to do is trust Him.


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


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