Sunday, December 17, 2017

Serving God On His Terms

By Dr. Christy Lee, an OB/GYN serving through the Post-Residency Program in Cameroon

Years ago, when I first came to follow the Lord, I looked back at so much wasted time. Regretting the past doesn’t really change much. But I was determined not to waste more time. As days and years passed, I continued to walk the paths He led.

Then came medicine, then obstetrics and gynecology – things that I was called to do. I really wanted to pour my life out into others. To see women’s lives and children’s lives changed. To see Christ imaged through medicine as I work with others to bring healing to bodies and souls.

I used to pray that God would allow me to have a job like this – one where I could see lives changed, bring hope and healing, and be poured out completely.

But now sometimes I think maybe I should have been a bit more specific in my prayers. Like, “Lord, please let me be poured out between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.,” or “Please let me carry the burdens of others while I’m at work, and then let me relax and enjoy the time after work,” or “Please let me bring healing to easy, manageable problems.”

Sometimes patients are an absolute pleasure to serve. But regardless, I hate to hear that phone ring in the middle of the night. I hate sleepily throwing on scrubs and rushing out into the dark. I hate finding myself in the middle of an operation that I know is beyond my ability to comfortably manage. The whole pouring out one’s life seems more pleasurable when it can be done at intentional times and in circumstances that I can control.

But that isn’t what God has called me to for the moment.

It isn’t really what He has called any of us to, serving Him when we are good and ready. He wants us all the time. That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t try to keep some healthy boundaries (which I very much attempt to do). But so many times the work He has for us isn’t what or when we planned.

I was thinking today of how many times this work, “important” as it may be, does not satisfy, but instead leaves me frustrated. It starts to be overwhelming when I take my eyes off Him and His purposes. It can be a big letdown if our great hopes are put into careers, relationships, money, or the thousands of other things we fill our lives with. A thousand hopes, and a thousand opportunities for disappointment.

But there is one thing that always satisfies. He can move in every circumstance. He can fill us with His purposes on seemingly purposeless days. He moves in our sorrows that we may then be empowered to relieve other people’s sorrows. He gives meaning to the most mundane. He increases the greatest joys and pleasures. He is the One thing stable in all those thousands of circumstances that can easily go one way … or the other.

I still don’t want to waste any more time. I still want to be poured out. I also still don’t like getting woken up at night, or being out of my comfort zone so frequently. But I’m His wherever He puts me for today, and tomorrow, and every day until He brings me right to the place where He is. Because He is worthy of a life lived.

So, I encourage you too to serve Him in the things that compose your life—the most important and least important— all for the glory of the One.

Read more of Dr. Lee’s thoughts on her blog.