“I Don’t Know What It Is…” (John 6:63)

My chief resident and I peered through the double-headed microscope as I sat opposite him. We were looking at the microscope slides of a tumor surgically removed from the thigh of a patient. A few anxious seconds passed as we sat in silence, my chief deftly moving the slide around on the microscope stage. The tumor cells were arranged in a herringbone configuration. The pattern was distinctive, even beguiling. I was eager to learn the diagnosis. “What do you think?”


“I don’t know what it is…” he sheepishly began. “But it sure looks like it has a name!”


His amusing and whimsical comment brought a smile to my face. I was a first-year pathology resident, green and inexperienced. It was overwhelming to memorize and assimilate the thousands of tissue patterns created by hundreds of different types of tumors. My chief resident was a rockstar in the department, publishing over ten papers in just four years. His diagnostic acumen made young assistant professors nervous and jealous and full professors giddy with joyful expectations. To that point in time, I had never heard him acknowledge that he did not know a diagnosis. I respected his candor and we proceeded to share the case with other attending professors in the department, all of whom were equally stymied. Finally, we forwarded the case to an international expert hopeful that his vast experience with these types of tumors would deliver a diagnosis. Within a week, we received our answer. Even he did not know! It seems we had discovered a new and previously undescribed tumor. We excitedly made plans to publish the case. I was enthralled to learn that even for experienced surgical pathologists, there was always something new to discover!


It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.

John 6:63 (ESV)


I have read the entire Bible several times since I first became a Christian in 1982. Someone once questioned me whether I understood everything I read. No, I emphatically answered. In fact, I am sure I will never understand everything that is written in God’s Word until I stand in the presence of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in Heaven. However, that does not excuse me from studying the Bible and diving deeply into the Word. I have received wise counsel from numerous Pastors, teachers, and brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, all of whom have given me insight into difficult passages. However, my most important teacher is God Himself, the Holy Spirit.


The Holy Spirit reinterprets and breathes new life into familiar passages as my life progresses. He gives insight into confusing passages, showing me how the events of the world are directly related to the events of the Bible. Like the myriad of diagnostic variations that I view under the microscope, God’s Word is dynamic and there will always be something new to discover and learn.


“I don’t know what it is, but it sure looks like it has a name!”




The Word of God…Jesus Christ!


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


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