Living with Uncertainty

By: Tracy Liang

June 23, 2020

Uncertainty is a fact of life. Though the weather forecast predicts sunny skies for the weekend, rain may still come. When you gather the courage to ask that cute guy or girl from Bible study on a date, will he or she say yes? Or perhaps, you may prepare intensively for a clinical licensing exam, only for your hard-won patient to cancel at the last minute. (Dental students, can you relate?) The higher the stakes, the higher the anxiety caused by such uncertainty. Across the nation, students are graduating during most uncertain times of the COVID-19 pandemic and national turmoil.

Personally, as a dental student going through the tail end of her D4 year, everything was, at some point, up in the air. My school was situated in Westchester County, right outside of New York City where COVID-19 struck particularly hard. Additionally, my dental school was due for a CODA site visit at the height of the pandemic. How would this affect my school’s final accreditation timeline? Would I graduate on time for my residency? Would my degree conferral be significantly delayed? Luckily, I had completed my clinical boards for licensing purposes while some of my classmates had to cancel their scheduled tests when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended closure of all clinical operations except emergencies.

Then, following the tragic death of George Floyd, our nation went into an uproar as protests and criminal activity, overtook the streets. The epicenter of these recent events was Minneapolis where I was heading for my residency. Would my residency be delayed or, worse yet, canceled? With all the social distancing and travel restrictions, how would I set-up the logistics for my move? Would it even be safe to move there at this time? Worst of all, in such unprecedented circumstances, there existed no prescribed courses of action to take.

What an uncertain time to be living through! I confess, if I did not know the Lord, anxiety would have completely overwhelmed me many times over. Yet, as Christians, we have divine guidance for such times. God exhorts us to be strong and courageous, assuring us that He will never leave or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6). He tells us to cast all anxiety on Him, exchanging it for peace that surpasses all understanding (1 Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:6-7). Jesus has overcome the world; surely, He can overcome whatever troubles our hearts now (John 16:33). More than words, these verses are divine promises from God Himself when we believe in them.

Indeed, has God not proven, time and time again, how faithful He is in my life? During college, it was uncertain whether I would continue in the faith. Nevertheless, the Lord led me through Bible school and solidly plugged me into my Christian community. Four years ago, it was uncertain whether I would be accepted into dental school. Now, having passed through many academic rigors by grace, I know I can count on Him for strength and wisdom. A year ago, it was uncertain whether I would match into a residency within orthodontics, a competitive dental specialty. Yet here I am, safely in Minneapolis, set to begin my residency with no delays. As I stand on the other side of these significant events in my personal history, it is clear how steadily God’s hand has upheld, guided and encouraged me.

As we press on with clinical rotations or entering the workforce in the face of new CDC guidelines for social distancing and updated personal protective equipment (PPE) in the clinical setting, we need only remember our God’s sovereignty, faithfulness and all-sufficient grace. Truly, our God will supply our every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19).

About Tracy Liang

Tracy Liang, DDS, recently received her DDS degree from Touro College of Dental Medicine in Hawthorne, New York. She is pursuing postgraduate studies in orthodontics at the University of Minnesota. Having served as the 2019-2020 student trustee for CMDA, she is thrilled to be continuing her involvement with CDA.

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