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20th July: Whose Wisdom?

The foolishness of God is wiser than men. 1 Corinthians 1:25

There exists in many doctors' lives a very real, but often undetected, dichotomy between their faith and their medical practice. It is not that the two are totally unrelated; indeed most Christian doctors would acknowledge that it is for their Saviour's sake that they endeavour to treat their patients as people and not just as cases. This is of course much to be encouraged, but how many of us allow the Lord to play an even more integral part in our working lives? After six or more years of painstaking scientific training in recognising clinical signs and logically working through differential diagnosis it is far from easy to allow God access where we have been taught to 'walk by sight'.

This is well illustrated by a consultation I had recently with a middle-aged woman who was complaining of a variety of abdominal symptoms. As I was mentally running through a list of what my training had taught me it could be, I felt the Lord say in the still small voice with which he speaks to us, that this patient's symptoms were stemming from her central problem of loneliness. A few careful questions confirmed this to be the case, and the consultation which might otherwise have ended in a request for a barium meal led instead to appropriate counsel.

This kind of thing does not happen very often, and I am certainly not suggesting that Christians should not bother to acquire the highest possible standards of knowledge and skill in their particular discipline -- an incompetent doctor brings no honour to Christ's name. However, if our human ability and knowledge exclude the Lord from intervening in our routine work in this direct way, then we and our patients will be the losers. We should not only share our human ability but also speak the wisdom that is taught by the Spirit.

'Whatever you get, get insight' (Pr 4:7).

Further reading: 1 Cor 1:26-31. Pr 2:1-9.


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