This is a reprint from an e-mail from Dr. Scott Dooley to supporting prayer partners:
I have been thinking about our work lately – both mission life and the Christian life. We are sometimes like Peter asking Jesus, “what about those of us who have given up everything to follow you.?” (Mat 19) and we rejoice as Jesus says we will receive a hundredfold in return. We should rejoice that God cares enough to reward our faithfulness, but Paul points out in Roman’s 4 that our righteousness is credited to us as a gift not an obligation or payment for work. We are saved by grace, called by grace, strengthened by grace, nothing is of ourselves so that we can’t boast.
I was on call Sunday night –it was one of those nights where as soon as my head hit the pillow the phone would ring, see the patient, come home, and repeat. It was also an emotionally draining night – amongst the more routine medical problems where devastating tragedies. One man was doused with gasoline and set on fire by others in his community. A lady who delivered one twin at a health center but the second twin had the cord come out and was breach – referred to our facility but by then the baby had died. Finally, a lady whose husband got her drunk, beat her up and then told other men to rape her… but she was so drunk she didn’t actually remember if they did. Devastation, tragedy, loss, a lifetime of emotional scars, like a parade of the worst things we are as degenerate humanity playing on before me from 9 pm to 2 a.m…. and what am I to be? Grateful.
I tried to put it into words for the visiting medical student who was taking call with me. It can be a lot to take in. It is easy to get jaded, desensitized. In fact I can’t say I really dealt with the emotions of Sunday night. Just now alone, two days later, writing this I could finally cry for their tragedy and process what I am feeling. Still that night I thought I should debrief our visiting student – what can I say to such evil? The best I could do was to explain that this is reality. The real world is pain, suffering, and at times unspeakable evil. When you enter it you must decide if you will let it burn you out or if you chose to let it remind you that this is exactly why you came and go right back in for the next patient. We have something to offer – life, hope, renewal, love, grace. Lots of patients, lots of opportunities, especially these three patients in a world of pain – three chances to pray with a patient – three chances to offer hope –three chances to say there is more to this life than heartache and pain. We are privileged to know there is such hope, we are honored that God trusted us and called us to be His ambassadors to extend that grace.
Monday I write a new verse on the administration board. This week it was 1 Thes. 3:9 “How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you?” and I added a note to remind us that God doesn’t owe us for this work – we can be truly grateful that He has called us and enabled us to be a part of His eternal kingdom work. Tonight I came across old notes from one of my sermons that expressed what I was thinking “Jesus died the death that I deserved so that I can live the life I don’t deserve.” I am surrounded by grace – freed from sin, set apart for His service. I have a clear destination and every day I feel God’s leading and his powerful enablement to serve… how can I be anything but grateful to serve Him?
Don’t run from pain, heartache, problems that surround you. Get out of the comfort zone – God calls us to work – hard work, even painful work, but He is the one doing it. Be grateful that you know His Hope and go share it with others.