In one of our clinics, a canvas hangs referencing Proverbs 23:18: “There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” The practice of medicine, as one can imagine, is certainly based on the tenant of hope. The trust between a patient and their physician, and the expectation that that physician will provide the best possible care for said patient. The desire for a specific treatment or medication to cure one’s ailments. In my line of work, hope lies heavily in the intent that a cast or splint, time, or even sometimes surgery will heal one’s broken bones or damaged tissues. That one’s body will be made “like new” at the hand of a skilled practitioner.
From an early age, I knew that my mission in life was to serve others. My love of science and enjoyment for working with others ultimately led me to a career in medicine, and I’ve been lucky enough to practice as a full-fledged sports medicine physician here in Central Indiana for the past 18 months. Some may be surprised to hear this, but it has been my experience thus far that worship lends itself heavily to both sports and medicine. I’m not talking about the adoration that you have for your favorite football team, or even about the prayers often said before a patient is taken back for a surgical procedure. For example, in a Huffington Post blog, Rick McDaniel writes, “There is much in the Bible that supports the qualities needed for playing football. Many stories in the Bible tell of battles, perseverance and of commitment. Romans 8:29 tells us God wants our character to be formed like Jesus, and football is a character-building enterprise. Learning how to win and lose gracefully happens playing football. Working hard toward a worthy goal and paying the price of self-sacrifice is learned playing football.” Many athletes use the sports that they play as a way to worship, as a way to share their beliefs with others, and as a way to honor God for the gifts that he has given them.
Physicians are much the same way. While it is rare for me to have direct faith-driven conversations with my patients, my goal each and every day is for the work that I do to be pleasing in His sight. By using the lessons gleaned from my Christian beliefs, I strive to comfort my patients during their times of pain, to encourage them through their hardship, and to give them faith that their challenges will pass.
In the Gospel of Luke, God both commanded and empowered people to work for the benefit of others. In Luke 10:9, Jesus urges his followers to “cure the sick who are there, and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” While the healings reported in the Gospels are generally miraculous, the non-miraculous efforts that healthcare workers put forth to restore human bodies can easily be regarded as extensions of Jesus’ life-giving ministry. This work is especially notable in a time of global pandemic and is performed daily by doctors, nurses, technologists, and the countless others whose work makes healing possible.
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.” – Romans 12:1