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ss nucleus - spring 2007,  The God we serve is able

The God we serve is able

Rachel McCollum reports on the 2007 National Students' Conference

Come the day and come the hour, come the power and the glory. We have come to answer our country's call. [1]

Over 400 English, Scots, Welsh, Irish and internationals battled the elements to pack out the Hayes Conference centre, Swanwick, Derbyshire on 9-11 February. No, it wasn't for a Six Nations rugby match but for the CMF National Students' Conference 2007! It wasn't long until we were standing shoulder to shoulder, not for the glory of our country but for our awesome and worthy God, for 'the God we serve is able'.[2]

It was a challenging theme to study for the weekend. From the beginning we were aware of God's hand keeping us safe in our travels, even amidst the layers of snow.

The weekend began with a feast from God's Word, given by our main speaker, Hugh Thomson, a Birmingham pastor and upper GI surgeon.

From the start of Daniel 1 we were challenged to realise our identity as citizens of Heaven. We have been given many privileges as medical students, but along with these we face huge pressures from every side that would have us conform and lose our identity. We are not to privatise our faith but to live out our calling as a holy people - set apart for God, like Daniel who drew the line and 'resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine'.[3] There was time to chat and pray these things over afterwards in review groups before heading to bed, or for the more energetic, it was time for snowball fights!

Each morning began with praise and prayer. The second chapter of Daniel on Saturday morning gave us the encouragement to keep going. The world's power is an illusion, a lesson vital for us to learn now - to stop us feeling important, finding our satisfaction in status, or fearing the threats of men (or professors!). We were encouraged to wait confidently for the coming kingdom that is unshakeable: 'the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed'.[4] These words seemed so real as I looked around me to see people worshipping God from all corners of the world. Another good reason for you to come next year if you missed it! God's kingdom is advancing, and this must change the way we live, as we continue to pray each new day, 'your kingdom come, Lord Jesus!'

The conference address, 'In the Firing Line', was given by Rhona Knight, a portfolio GP. She reminded us of some who have stood faithfully in the firing line in the past: Moses, Gideon, David, Elijah, Daniel, Esther, Corrie ten Boom and Jim Elliot. God can use us similarly as medics, warts and all. She left us with the challenge to consider our call and to fix our attention on God. The words of Esther rang in our ears as we pondered whether to assimilate into our culture or to step into the firing line, 'And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?'[5]

On Saturday evening there was the option of University Challenge (which sounded pretty competitive but good fun!), a further time of praise, the barn dance or a film and discussion.

The final talk on Daniel 3 was on Sunday afternoon, under three headings:

  1. Who will we worship? Will it be the Lord, our careers, or our consultants?
  2. What will it cost? God does not always promise to rescue us in this life; there is a real cost in following Jesus.
  3. Where will it end? We looked again towards the eternal kingdom; it ends in glory!

We were left to meditate and apply these words: 'The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?'[6]

May these words be your daily song - start your career in medicine uncompromisingly, stand courageously, finish faithfully, all by the sufficient grace of God. Remember, the God we serve is able, and even if he does not deliver you now, remember your eternal home is waiting.

Although I arrived at the conference tired and worrying about many things in my mind, I was so thankful for being there. I cannot encourage you enough to take the time out next year and go. Apart from the beautiful accommodation, meeting some great new people and strengthening friendships, I learnt things that I hope will shape the future of my medical career. The seminars were thought provoking and useful; I went to 'Caring for the dying', 'Depression and anxiety', 'Sex education' and 'Time and money'. We may never have the opportunity again to spend so much time learning from God's Word that we do as students, so we must treasure every opportunity we get to be shaped for what lies ahead.

Thanks to all who put so much effort into organising this and the unsung heroes who did the airport pickups in the snow! May God be more fully glorified in the sphere of medicine as a result of our transformed lives.

References
  1. Coulter P. Ireland's Call (Irish Rugby Union anthem)
  2. Dn 3:17
  3. Dn 1:8
  4. Dn 2:44
  5. Est 4:14
  6. Ps 118:6
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