When I was a fourth-year medical student, I was participating in a pediatrics elective and was shadowing my Professor in his outpatient clinic. As we proceeded to examine the next patient, he quickly read the chart then turned to me and said, “Why don’t you see this next patient without me? Don’t ask him for his diagnosis, just tell him that I asked you to listen to his heart and then tell me what you heard.”
“Uhhh…okay.” It was an odd request but I knew he was testing my physical examination skills. I entered the room and introduced myself. The patient was a happy ten-year old boy with no obvious physical abnormalities. Carefully, I began my examination and placed my stethoscope on his chest. My mind raced through different diagnoses as I attempted to discern any subtle abnormalities in the rhythm or sounds like a murmur. Nothing. The heart sounded normal but I knew something was not right, I just couldn’t identify it. I repeated my examination and asked the patient to shift his position. Again, nothing…but something was not right, but what?
I thanked the patient and returned to my professor who was awaiting my assessment. “What did you hear when you listened to his heart?”
“Well… I didn’t hear any murmurs or rhythm disturbances.”
“Good, good!” Dr. Smith’s eyes twinkled as he listened to me fumble with my answer. “Did his heart sound different to you?”
I was attempting to discern the answer by his leading question. “Yes..but I couldn’t identify why it did.”
Dr. Smith chuckled. “The patient has situs inversus. I like to have my first-year pediatric residents examine this patient without knowing any history. It always rattles their confidence and encourages them to be more precise in their physical examination skills!”
This is a very rare congenital condition in which all of the major organs are reversed in position, literally a mirror image of the normal patient. Thankfully, the majority of patients live a normal healthy life. Not surprisingly, unless the health care professional examining the patient is astute or additional radiologic studies are performed, the condition may go undetected. When I attempted to listen to the patient’s heart, I reflexively placed my stethoscope on the left side of his chest. It sounded normal, just softer, and why not? This patient’s heart was on the right side of his chest!
Something was not right!
How often have I entered into a situation where the circumstances seem to be completely normal but upon closer inspection, things are reversed, even upside down? Tragically, this is happening in the Christian Church. Doctrines that were once unquestioned are now under attack. Recently I was listening to an online sermon of a popular Christian pastor. He was pleading with his congregation to donate money so that he could purchase a private jet plane. He further supported his case by selectively quoting verses from the Bible, completely out of context, that Jesus Christ was not a poor man and God wants all of His followers to be rich. As I listened to these heretical teachings, I noted his surroundings were indistinguishable from the vast majority of churches I have attended. He was reading from the same Bible translation that I used. Even the songs the worship team sang were the same that I have performed. Yet, my soul was disturbed. The pastor was replacing God’s message with the twisted message of the world.
Something was not right!
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.
1 John 2:15-16 (NLT)
Isn’t this exactly how Satan tempted Adam and Eve to beguile them to sin for the first time in their lives by eating the forbidden fruit?
“God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too.
Genesis 3:5-6 (NLT)
Satan twists the truth by insinuating that God is keeping the best from us because He does not want us to share in all of His blessings. Satan used the fruit to tempt Eve to question God’s promises, giving in to the lust of her eyes and the pride of her senses. Like the patient with situs inversus, everything was reversed.
Something was not right! Only God can right the wrong that sin has created. God has created us with a desire to know Him. He seeks to reconcile the relationship that sin ruptured. Allow Him into your life to restore the relationship that we were all created to enjoy?
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.