It was the summer between my sophomore and junior year of college and I was engaged in surgical medical research at a university medical school hospital. I was meeting with the surgeon who was in charge of my research team. I was fortunate to have worked in this laboratory the previous summer, participating in a research group led by a surgery resident. He was curious about my experience with that resident and queried. “I’ve heard things about that resident, that he was difficult to work with. How did you get along with him?”
“It was challenging.” I carefully chose my words. “I figured this is how it will be in medical school, so I knew I needed to get used to it.”
The surgeon chuckled and thoughtfully nodded. “Good, philosophical approach.”
The cumulative experiences from those two summers of research helped to solidify my decision to apply to medical school. It also introduced me to a broad range of physicians at many levels of training. There was a professor of surgery from Australia, a surgeon from the United States Army on sabbatical leave, and several professors of surgery from the local medical school. There was also a resident who had completed his first year of surgical training and was taking a research year for his program. His ego was inflated far beyond his knowledge or surgical skills. Yet, that did not stop him from denigrating everyone in the research lab. A day never passed when he did not berate me or another member of the team. It was an arduous summer but we did manage to complete our project.
Although my ego and pride were squashed many times in medical school and residency, it was never quite as bad as my experience with that surgical resident during that summer of research. The experience, while unpleasant, did toughen my hide, serving me well throughout the rest of my medical training.
For much of my life, I relied upon my own strength to see me through trials and tribulations. While this allowed me to successfully navigate these early challenges in life, I soon encountered situations that surpassed my ability to persevere. I had no lifeline, no easy out. I needed help. I needed a Savior.
We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (CSB)
God understands our afflictions. As Pastor Randy Alcorn writes, “Some people cannot believe God would create a world in which people would suffer so much. Isn’t it more remarkable that God would create a world in which no one would suffer more than He?” My Savior is Jesus Christ, who received the weight of all the sin that has ever or will be committed, upon His broken body. He suffered so that we may have hope through the power of His Resurrection.
I have learned to endure some of the sufferings of this life. However, in spite of my best efforts, I will never get used to it. I will only successfully conquer these trials if I allow Jesus Christ to guide and lead me. What an amazing God I serve!
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.