During my fourth year of medical school, an opportunity arose to do my family practice elective in Micronesia. I eagerly applied for the spot and was soon informed that I would be on the island of Ponape (Pohnpei). My office was in an outpatient clinic, working Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 4 PM. I was overseen by an American trained board certified family physician and although I did not yet have my M.D. degree, I was granted all the rights and privileges of an attending physician, writing prescriptions and admitting patients to the hospital. Ponape was one of the most rewarding professional experiences of my medical career, critical in my maturation as I transitioned to become a licensed physician. It was also an important time for my Christian walk since it was the first break in my life since becoming a Christian in college six years earlier. I took no call freeing up my weekends and evenings and I intended to make efficient use of this free time.
I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in my sophomore year in college. Although I was discipled by a dear brother in the Lord whom God used to lead me to Christ, after graduating college, many questions had arisen in my mind about my nascent faith. Entering medical school immediately after college, I never had the time to devote to pondering these concerns, researching the Bible, and praying to God for direction. Here was my opportunity!
For two hours every morning, I read the Bible, prayed, and wrote in my journal. I pondered the many ethical dilemmas I encountered in medical school and in my life up to that point. I searched the Bible for answers and I wrote, filling an entire notebook of the revelations that God showed me. Many issues, previously murky, were now cleared.
It has been nearly forty years since that experience and I have never again had an opportunity to spend all of my free time thinking and communing with God with minimal distractions. It was this experience that now encourages me to treasure my free time. Prior to becoming a Christian, I would sleep in on the weekends, sometimes beginning my day as late as noon. After I became a Christian I did not want to squander an opportunity to be with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I still awaken early and savor the quiet solitude of my home when I can read the Bible and pray before my family arises.
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Ephesians 5:15-17 (NASB)
All believers in Jesus Christ need to seek time alone to be with God. My experience in Ponape taught me how I must jealously guard my free time, making the most efficient use of it. Through many years of painful experiences, I know the wisest use of my free time is spent alone with God. God jealously guards His time with me. Shouldn’t I do the same?
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.