I was dealing with a thorny relational problem with one of my clients. Although it had nothing to do with my professional expertise, the way he was speaking seemed to malign my character and demean my professional competence; I bristled at the insinuation. It was demoralizing, mentally and physically draining me.
The next morning, I was exhausted and felt defeated before the day even began. In fact, I didn’t even want to work, but a series of events completely changed my outlook. It started with a teledermatopathology case that was sent via email from Cameroon. It was a relatively rare blistering skin disease that I had been consulted on a week earlier. The physician was sending me clinical photos showing how the patient had made a great recovery. I was gratified that it could be treated with the limited resources that were available to my colleagues in Cameroon. This uplifting experience set the tone for the rest of the day. About an hour later, I reviewed another case that was biopsied by the dermatologist because of his concern for a malignancy. Although it was malignant, it was one of the rare times that this cancer, when diagnosed early enough, was completely curable with a complete excision, much to the relief of all of us. Finally, one of my residents texted me, sharing the good news that a patient with a very difficult disease we had diagnosed together, a month earlier, was responding very well to a new experimental drug treatment.
All coincidences? Perhaps. But I truly believe that God was reminding me why He called me to be a dermatopathologist. The drama of interpersonal and workplace relationships sometimes distract me. It is usually not the medicine that is challenging, it is dealing with the many personalities with whom I interact. But am I overlooking a far more important lesson that God is teaching me?
We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind.
2 Corinthians 6:3-4 (NLT)
Everyone’s lives are complex and we all wear many hats. My faith is limited and small if I think I can compartmentalize my professional life into a purely intellectual task. Whatever occupation God has called me to be will be one that includes the intellectual challenges and navigating the sometimes thorny relationships. It is these latter trials that completes my calling and enables God to mold me into a true minister of His Word.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.
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