The Lone Medical Ranger

Medical School was a lonely time. Sure there were people around and I had friends, but this whole process was such a training in a dependence on myself. We live in a highly individualistic culture to begin with, but medicine cultivates further the lone ranger attitude. Things are hard? Tighten up your scrubs and pull yourselves up by your crocs, we have patients to save! We should be like Paul, who endured such hardships: stoning, hunger, floggings, and shipwrecks just to name a few. There’s kingdom work to be done, so let’s get to it! We have God on our side, that’s all we need, right?

I’ve only realized just recently much of what Paul was able to endure and accomplish was because of the support of others. Sure, God was his strength, but part of that strength was supplied through fellow believers. In every letter you see his partnership with so many different people, for example Timothy, Priscilla and Aquila, and Titus. One look at Romans 16 and it’s obvious that Paul didn’t operate by himself. And in his letters there were frequent requests for prayer (e.g., Romans 16:30-32, Ephesians 6:19-20, Colossians 4:3-4).

Paul understood that the Christian life, and especially the ministry life, is not meant to be lived solo.  In your medical training, it will be a huge temptation to blow off church because you have to study or you are too tired post-call.  Don’t be deceived, we need the support of fellow believers, not just to do God’s work, but to make sure that we hold on to the faith until the end. Enlist the prayers of your church community. Seek out the Christians in your class and residency program. Don’t neglect the important relationships in your life. Who is at least one person that you can come alongside and walk with in this journey?

23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. ~Hebrews 10:23-25

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