For several years, I was privileged to work with a colleague who was a national expert in disorders of blood clotting, also known as coagulation disorders. Like many pathologists in the United States, including myself, Jake was board certified in both anatomic and clinical pathology. However, he spent nearly all of his clinical hours consulting on complicated coagulation diseases in the hospital, particularly in the ICU, saving many patients’ lives. Coagulation is one of the major specialties of clinical pathology. Thus, although he was an excellent surgical pathologist, he did not have the time to keep up to date with the latest advances. As a result, his surgical pathology skills understandably declined. One day he called a meeting of the partners and requested that he be allowed to only concentrate on coagulation. He confessed that he was increasingly concerned about making a mistake such as not ordering the proper additional studies because he was not up to date on the latest treatment and prognostic markers. Like the care and expertise he gave to his coagulation patients, he did not want to give any other patient he was caring for anything but his absolute best.
He sighed and lamented, “Anytime I miss ordering an important study on a surgical pathology case, it weakens my credibility as a specialist in coagulation.”
Although I also trained in clinical pathology, including coagulation, my experience and knowledge, unlike Jake, were still mired at the resident level. Nearly all of my clinical work was spent in surgical pathology, interacting with the surgeons and oncologists. While I had credibility with these clinical colleagues if I were to consult on a coagulation problem with this same group of physicians, my credibility as a surgical pathologist would definitely be called into question because my weaknesses would be exposed.
Regardless of the profession we choose, we will always have our areas of expertise and weaknesses. A gastroenterologist may not be comfortable when confronted with a schizophrenic patient. A labor law attorney may hesitate to accept a case involving a divorce. What about our spiritual credibility? There have been many times when my credibility has been questioned and I expect it, but the Apostle Paul, the greatest defender of the early Christian Church?
For some say, “Paul’s letters are demanding and forceful, but in person he is weak, and his speeches are worthless!” Those people should realize that our actions when we arrive in person will be as forceful as what we say in our letters from far away.
2 Corinthians 10:10-11 (NLT)
Even Paul had to defend his credentials when his detractors focused upon his supposed poor oration skills. It is disheartening that our credibility sometimes rests upon the misguided or short-sighted expectations of others. Thanks be to God that if we are a true believer in Jesus Christ, we can allow the Holy Spirit to speak for us and defend our actions. God never abandons His children if we are willing to place our faith in Him.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.