The email came from a young man that I had met six months earlier. He was the nephew of a close friend and was visiting her after graduating from medical school. He was applying to pathology residencies and had some questions about training programs. His aunt asked me if I would be willing to speak to him and I gladly obliged. He visited my office and we spoke for about an hour, even reviewing microscopic slides of various diseases of the liver and pancreas. His enthusiasm was infectious and refreshing. We parted with an understanding that he would keep me apprised of his progress.
The email was bubbling with his experiences during his first month of pathology training. He was working 10-12 hours a day and he rattled off a list of rare and exotic diseases that he had seen, topics that would only interest another pathologist, surgeon, or oncologist. His last words ended with a rousing, “ No regrets in picking pathology!”
I smiled as I reminisced about the first month of my pathology residency. Pathologists are the doctor’s doctor, the physician that teaches other physicians. No other medical specialty demands such an intimate knowledge of all diseases, many of which other physicians may never encounter in their entire career. He was experiencing the same wonder that I and all of my colleagues experience. The email invigorated me when I most needed it.
It had been a trying two weeks in my professional life. I was dealing with an interpersonal drama with one of my dermatology residents, struggling with personality clashes within my office, and wrestling with lapses in service with my billing company. I was physically and emotionally drained, so much so, that I was even discouraged to go to work. These issues had exhausted my enthusiasm for practicing pathology. I often tell my residents and colleagues, “Medicine is not the most challenging aspect of my job. It’s all the other stuff.”
Even in our spiritual walk with God, it is the other stuff that sometimes gets in the way of our relationship with Him. Disagreements with fellow musicians over the direction of the worship team, conflicts over the selection of programs for our children, disappointment because previously agreed upon tasks were not carried to completion by fellow church members-all of these can quickly escalate to resentment and discouragement, hindering our devotion to God and fomenting strife.
I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.
Philippians 4:2 (ESV)
The Bible does not reveal the nature of the disagreement between these two church members, Euodia and Syntyche. Yet, the fact that the Holy Spirit directed the Apostle Paul to record this earnest plea in his letter to the Philippian church is a reminder that these interpersonal clashes were also a part of the everyday life of the early Church. In the very next verse, Paul justifies his words when he asks his fellow worker, Epaphroditus, to help these women resolve their conflict. They needed to put aside their temporary disagreements and focus upon the fact that all of their names were recorded in the Book of Life; they all had eternal salvation with God through faith and belief in Jesus Christ. This is what they all needed to keep in mind.
Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.
Philippians 4:3 (ESV)
The other stuff, the non-medical issues, still remain and undoubtedly others will emerge. It was this timely email from this young pathology resident that reminded me that in spite of my job’s temporary obstacles, the core reason why I chose my specialty was unchanged, and I needed to reaffirm it.
My relationship with Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, is no different. The other stuff, the interpersonal conflicts, should never diminish the fact that salvation through faith and belief in Jesus Christ is eternal. I had been seeking resolution of my temporary obstacles. Instead, I should have remained focused upon using the experiences to strengthen my faith in Jesus Christ.
Only when I chose to follow Jesus Christ, will I have no regrets
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.