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If you’re reading this, you already know this is a big and extremely relevant problem for the vast majority of dental and medical graduates under the age of 45. It’s not uncommon these days to graduate dental school with $300,000+ in debt. Heck, I have friends who graduated with close to $500,000 in debt (and when I say friends, I may or may not be referring to myself). This isn’t news.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all you heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24, NIV 1984).
I recently returned to work from my maternity leave and was reflecting on what I learned from the time off. The thing that stood out to me most was how incredible it was to have community in my life with family and with the church body. They helped my husband and me in so many ways with our children as we transitioned into life with a newborn and a toddler. Seeing how God used these people to help us in this time of life also showed me how I had taken for granted the encouragement He’s given me in my working life through community as well.
Last year I read a book by Os Guinness entitled Impossible People. I read something that really set me back on my heels:
“The truth is that the world, as Christians have known it for many centuries, has gone—gone and gone for good…gone so decisively, any simple return or reclamation is out of the question—Christian culture warring has been in vain” (p. 45).
“Everyone who is called by name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” (Isaiah 43:7, NIV 1984).
In Part 1 of this blog series, a search for the meaning of life was presented. That was due to observations of recent events suggesting a concern for humanity’s appreciation for life. In that search, a scientific basis for the meaning of life was presented, but then it was argued to be self-limiting. In contrast, a Christian worldview was presented, and a clearer meaning for why God created us was introduced. Simply, God created us for His glory. As I mentioned in Part 1, being informed that our existence is for some known or unknown God’s glory may instill negative emotions. However, the purpose of this blog is to grow in greater understanding of what it means to be created for God’s glory. To better understand that meaning, let us first look at the biblical meaning of the word “glory.”
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” – Hebrews 13:8, NKJV
“While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled” (John 17:12, NKJV).
I have a handful of patients every month who mention all the pain and brokenness around them when asked what prayer requests they have. Sometimes it’s directly in their lives, and sometimes they are just overwhelmed by all the hopeless stories on the news and the anger people have at each other over different things.
“…To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:11, ESV).
Everywhere I go I carry a little brown NIV Bible. This particular Bible possesses significant sentimental value to our family. Firstly, it is the Bible my father used during my wife’s and my wedding. In between the pages are love notes from my wife, drawings from son, an ultrasound of my daughter, our wedding vows and other cherished memories that are all used as bookmarks. Furthermore, inside the cover is a note written by my father. This note details some of his emotions regarding his role as a first-time officiant of our wedding. Despite his fears, he found comfort in the fact that his role was ultimately “all about God.” In other words, it was a moment for God’s glory and our glorification of Him. That is the ultimate message that will be discussed in this blog series.
As you practice your faith, the words “follow the Lord” are often heard and shared. The direction of the Lord does not have a yellow brick road. The words are meant to send you to prayer and develop your sense of discernment. As a dentist, dozens of people will ask you to follow them. These requests are loud and clear and often do have a yellow brick path. Some follow their golden paths before them. God blesses each of us with guidance, and for some it is easy to determine the guidance because many of us in the dental profession can use wise counsel and success to guide our steps. There are roles in every community for successful dentists. I respect the best in my community and love all my colleagues for their shared commitment to excellence. The dangers of greed and ethical challenges are to be lifted up to the Lord likewise to turn our steps to bless those around us. We are guided by the Lord’s work in our hearts, often to avoid missteps as often as we discover blessings.
“For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15, KJV).
Like most of my writings, much of what I have to say is me preaching to myself. Recently I have been struck by several encounters with patients who were either very irritated or irritating. Either way, what should our response be? When someone is being demanding or has unrealistic requests and is upset when we cannot fulfill them? Or maybe they are just plain rude? What do we do?