One of the important things I had learned to do this past year, as a first year medical student, is to be efficient. I had one-hour lunch breaks where I needed to rush eating before changing into scrubs for anatomy lab; I would time my workout sessions to be 35 minutes (that is, if I went to the gym!) so that I can finish showering and get back to studying in exactly one hour. I would rush quiet times with God, because my heart was always anxious about the clock ticking away. Each day, my schedule was timed and rushed so that I could maximize my time of studying. Having grown up in a city for most of my life, I guess I was always used to a busy schedule. I also enjoyed being efficient because it made me feel better about myself; at the end of a productive day, I would feel competent, accomplished, and most of all, happy.
Coming into SMI, I had the same mentality that serving God meant being efficient as his workers and doing the best we can in the limited time we have. So when my team approached a woman who greeted us by her door with, Oh Im a medical assistant and Im Pentecostal. You guys dont need to screen me," I naturally took a step back toward the exit gate, thinking we should visit other houses because it seemed like she didnt need anything from us. It would certainly be more resourceful if we met another patient that was more desperate, perhaps one who hasnt heard the gospel or has no access to health care. Despite my internal doubts and awkward attempts to leave quickly, she continued to talk to us about her job as a medical assistant and how much she enjoys learning. Then, she brought us inside her house to do a mini show-and-tell, and began to show us many things in her house.
As we began to talk more deeply about her life, my hurried thoughts and assumptions about her quickly evaporated and turned into tears rolling down my face. She shared with us her entire life story, from being sexually molested at a very young age, to how she became a Christian when she was a teenager, to being physically abused in marriage and currently undergoing a difficult financial situation. When I saw a well of tears in her eyes as she told the story, I felt a deep cringing of my heart because I saw remnants of pain that she endured throughout the years. My perspective about her radically changed within a couple of minutes, from thinking she got it all figured out - her health, job, and God -to realizing that she was brokenhearted and in need of a Christian community. If I had been more efficient and quick to judge, perhaps I would have never heard her story, prayed together, and invited her to church.
I remember a church friend telling me that she prefers taking road trips with her family from New York to New Mexico instead of taking a flight, because they get to spend time together and see cool things along the way. My first reaction was WHAT? How can you drive all the way there with your two kids? Looking back, Im starting to understand her statement a little better. Gods will for me is not to be the most productive Christian or medical student and take the most efficient route to my future goals, but rather to love Him and love others along the way. Im beginning to learn that God doesnt always value efficiency and getting things done for the sake of the result; but rather, He longs for intimate conversations along the way, for us to enjoy His mere presence, and for us to trust that He is taking us to the right place despite uncertainty of future. God could have brought the Israelites to the Promised Land in a couple of days, but it took them forty years to get there! Its going to be definitely a challenge during second year, when STEP 1 is right around the corner and I have even more responsibilities. However, I have faith that, just as God provided a pillar of cloud and fire for the Israelites in the desert, He will continue to guide me each day and make His presence known. My prayer and hope is that I can learn to fully appreciate and enjoy intimacy with God above all else, and to keep my heart open in anticipation of meeting beautiful people and seeing cool things along the way.
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. - Psalm 34:8