We Need To Move It Again! (Numbers 23:19)

Many years ago, I was on staff with a hospital that had an active teaching and research program, with academic ties to a local medical school. The hospital administration was top-heavy with medical researchers who brought in millions of dollars of research grants to the hospital and its medical foundation. At that time, I was a young assistant professor of pathology teaching my medical residents and students with a multi-headed microscope. While our pathology department owned the microscope, we needed permission from the hospital to use an adjacent conference room since we did not have space to accommodate it within our department. As part of the agreement, we allowed other physicians to use the microscope for their research and teaching purposes. And this is where the problems began. 

Some researchers, who wielded a great deal of power and influence within the hospital, began making demands that the microscope be moved closer to their respective departments. A power struggle ensued and, even though our department owned the microscope, no one paid attention to our requests to keep the microscope in its present location, where it had been for over five years. After a year of negotiations, a plan was put into motion to move the microscope along with the corresponding video equipment. Moving a multi-head teaching microscope is not the same as moving a single-headed microscope, like one that many of us used in high school biology class. It is like moving a piano; one needs a specialist, trained to deconstruct, move, then reconstruct the microscope to ensure it is in proper working condition after the move.

The week arrived and the move commenced. Multiple departments including members of the hospital’s physical plant and maintenance, information technology, hospital administrators, medical researchers, and the microscope technicians, tasked with the actual move, were on hand. The process took two days to complete and we all breathed a collective sigh of relief over our seeming success. Then, the email arrived from the hospital administration. 

“To all. My apologies but we need to move the microscope back to the original room.”

And there it was! One year of work, thousands of dollars spent, and countless hours of planning-all blown up in a second. One of the researchers claimed he was not kept in the loop and was appalled that the microscope had moved. He insisted the microscope be returned to its original room. The hospital administration backed down and acquiesced to his demand. I did not want to know the reasons behind the power struggle, nor did I care. Egos were bruised. Money was spent. And the microscope was moved back to the same place!

These prior months were a stunning testimony to how many things do not get done when a withering bureaucracy needs to be navigated. Too many voices. Too many competing demands. No consensus amongst the stakeholders. In the end, I threw up my hands and found solace with God. 

God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? 

Numbers 23:19 (NLT)

It was another painful reminder of how desperately we need a Living Savior. When we speak to God, we do not need to go through layers of bureaucracy. We do not need to navigate through a church hierarchy. We take our concerns directly to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. God does not change His mind. He does not perseverate, hesitate, or procrastinate. 

Praise God for His steadfast and unchanging nature!

Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.

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