These devotions are targeted specifically for you, the healthcare professional, and the challenges unique to you that you face on a day-to-day basis. You can sign-up here to receive these devotions through a weekly email or you can come back to this page to read the weekly devotion online. We hope you are encouraged and inspired by them, and that you can gain insight and wisdom from others who have gone through the same challenges that you face in the healthcare industry today.
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him" (James 1:5, KJV).
I was surprised to see his name on the schedule, as he had completed his therapy a few years ago. However, in spite of chemotherapy and radiation, his cancer had recently returned and required a laryngectomy. I was seeing him for the first time after this surgery—complicated by a stroke and a pulmonary embolus. He was not the same proud man I remembered. My first words to him were, “I am so sorry you have had such suffering with your stroke and with your voice gone. Can you overcome all of this?” He looked me in the eyes, then looked to my lapel, touched the gold cross pinned there and nodded with assurance.
I had the opportunity today to visit my friend, imprisoned outside of San Diego. As this is a government institution, it worked like the government often does, and the computerized visitation scheduling had not functioned well the week before. I arrived at 7:30 and watched other visitors line up by time slots painted in the pavement. I asked what I should do without a time assigned and they told me that they may or may not be able to get me in if I hung around until 11 or 11:30. I was due back at my conference at noon and stood there wondering if I should stay and take the chance. I remained and saw my friend.
I have recently begun managing a patient who had originally been cared for in a distant city. Unfortunately, his cancer has returned. He now needs multiple doctors to attempt to save his arm and his life. One doctor he is seeing now was furious that the prior doctor had treated him inadequately. He actually told my patient, “You need to sue the doctor who did this.”
I hurt a Christian friend this week. We work with shared responsibilities, and my frustration over his part in this had grown to the point that I just boiled over and listed all of his delinquencies. I was not cruel or untruthful in my delivery, but I was not kind either, and I hurt him deeply. The Lord pounded me for three days, the last one ending in a sleepless night. And then, I went to ask forgiveness.
I awoke Monday morning planning within the week to teach a Bible study on our personal testimony for Christ. As I stood in front of the mirror, shaving, I realized what a poor witness for Christ I have been, at least in words. So, for the entire week, when I was with my patients, I intentionally listened for the Holy Spirit, asking Him that I might bring up the name of Jesus at least once. Though God has used me for personal witness in the past, He did not this week in words that I could recognize, or else, I chose not to hear Him.
Dennis is a neurologist in the Northwest with numb feet. About 15 years ago, he was in Hawaii, body surfing with boogey boards. He was using one of his kid’s broken boards. Coming in on a big wave, he nailed the beach with his head, pinching his cord against his spine. Under water he realized, “I’m paralyzed.”
My friend was stuck at home with a history of strokes that had left him with fair cognition but difficulty ambulating. I ran by today to check on him and had a mostly cogent time of catching up. As we looked back on the mistakes of our youth, we voiced our mutual gratitude that Jesus has forgiven us. My friend, who may be closer to heaven than I, began to talk about Jesus returning. “One day Jesus will come, and he will be sitting across this table from us. I can hear him saying, ‘Didn’t I tell you so?’” Then he added, “That’ll be the day we should have got it right the day before.”
My fellow saw the patient first and showed me the medical records that came with her, written by the doctor to whom she was first referred. “Patient desires to see a doctor who is a born-again Christian. I believe it is not best for me to manage her case. I will refer her to Dr. ____.” When I sat down in the room with the patient, as my fellow looked on, the husband spoke first, “Before we get started, I need to ask you a question, because it is important to us, ‘Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?’” It was easy to answer, “I certainly have.”
I was seeing him for his third melanoma. Each one before had been cured by surgery and this one was also likely to turn out well. He looked at me and remarked, “It was the first one that really frightened me.” His wife added, “But, it brought him to the Lord.” “That’s wonderful,” I said. “Yep, it scared the hell out of him.”
I am not an overtly religious person. I prefer to enter quiet conversations that lead to discussions of our Savior. I don’t like wearing my faith on a lapel…until recently. We were attending a CMDA event in Raleigh-Durham when Dr. Craig Fowler handed out gold crosses. I looked to see if he was wearing one and he was. He challenged us to put them on our own lapels. It now rests each day on the left lapel of my white coat and I am impressed that it has more likely changed me than affected the folks around me.
He came to me in his early 50s for a routine checkup, but with unintentional weight loss. He laughed it off saying, “When there’s not a lot of food in the house, you tend to lose weight.” I returned to this comment at the end of his visit, “Do you really not have enough food to keep your weight up?” He admitted that a recent relapse in his bipolar disorder had put him through some hard times. He then agreed he would take home some leftovers from our office’s stock of drug company lunches. After I told my family about my patient’s plight, they felt for this man’s need, and we began dropping off groceries at his apartment and mailing him gift cards for grocery stores. Eventually, he invited us to his special events, and he started joining us at church. We had lunches out and opportunities to speak about the Lord as our friendship developed. He was interested in our help and our friendship, but he made it clear he did not feel the need for Jesus “just yet.”