Sunday, October 02, 2011

Flying Into the Father's Arms, Encouragement from Spurgeon

In seasons of severe trial, the Christian has nothing on earth that he can trust to, and is therefore compelled to cast himself on his God alone. When his vessel is on its beam-ends, and no human deliverance can avail, he must simply and entirely trust himself to the providence and care of God. Happy storm that wrecks a man on such a rock as this! O blessed hurricane that drives the soul to God and God alone! There is no getting at our God sometimes because of the multitude of our friends; but when a man is so poor, so friendless, so helpless that he has nowhere else to turn, he flies into his Father's arms, and is blessedly clasped therein! When he is burdened with troubles so pressing and so peculiar, that he cannot tell them to any but his God, he may be thankful for them; for he will learn more of his Lord then than at any other time. Oh, tempest-tossed believer, it is a happy trouble that drives thee to thy Father! Now that thou hast only thy God to trust to, see that thou puttest thy full confidence in him. Dishonour not thy Lord and Master by unworthy doubts and fears; but be strong in faith, giving glory to God. Show the world that thy God is worth ten thousand worlds to thee. Show rich men how rich thou art in thy poverty when the Lord God is thy helper. Show the strong man how strong thou art in thy weakness when underneath thee are the everlasting arms. Now is the time for feats of faith and valiant exploits. Be strong and very courageous, and the Lord thy God shall certainly, as surely as he built the heavens and the earth, glorify himself in thy weakness, and magnify his might in the midst of thy distress. The grandeur of the arch of heaven would be spoiled if the sky were supported by a single visible column, and your faith would lose its glory if it rested on anything discernible by the carnal eye. May the Holy Spirit give you to rest in Jesus...

~Charles Spurgeon~

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Put Away the Fig Leaves

They were naked as jaybirds walking around the garden in the cool of the day. Free souls—they wanted for nothing. They were naked and unashamed.

Then she did it. He did it. They did it. They ate the one thing God had told them was forbidden. They wanted for nothing, and disobeyed the very One who had provided them everything.

They were naked and ashamed.

Fear, guilt, and shame washed over Adam and Eve, and they quickly hid themselves with the newest designer fig leaf loincloths. All the fig leaves in the world could never cover their sin and shame. The problem wasn’t their nakedness. They had always been naked. Fear and shame covered them and if only they could find another covering maybe they would be okay.

God knows and finds them and calls out to Adam, “Where are you?” God wasn't asking him where he was, God was asking him to acknowledge where he was—hiding and far from God’s design.

Who were they trying to protect? Who were they relying on for protection? With whom were they now most concerned? Around whom were their lives centered? Themselves, themselves, themselves, themselves.

And so sin entered the world and fractured all that God had designed so intricately and perfectly.

Sin is when I forget God’s perfect provision and think mine is somehow better. Sin is when I forsake the fountain of living water for a broken cistern that can hold no water (Jeremiah 2:13). Sin is when I exchange the truth of God for a lie (Romans 1:25).

Our nakedness isn’t the problem. Our sin and shame is the issue. So put away the fig leaves. You have a better covering.

Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.
Romans 5:18

Sunday, September 11, 2011

America is awesome. But Jesus is better.

Today I write from the crammed middle seat of my favorite airline, Southwest. Then, I was 16 years old. I had skipped first period junior English and thought I was hot stuff pulling into my favorite local coffee shop, The Coffee Beanery, in my mom's blue Pontiac minivan with the windows rolled down and music blaring. Don't worry--it was Christian music so that makes my skipping class justifiable.

The news was on. A plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center. Then, as my espresso-heavy drink of choice was being made, the unthinkable happened--another plane collided into the second tower. I took a seat. Soon the news reporting turned from discussing a tragic accident to an intentional act of terrorism. I called my mom at work (who was, at the time, probably far more concerned with why her daughter wasn't at school than about airplanes crashing) and told her the news. I headed to school for my second period class. The news had already broke there, and classrooms had TVs tuned in and radios broadcasting the tragedy. Had I skipped the whole day of classes I'm sure I wouldn't have missed much academically. But I would have missed the camaraderie, the huddling around televisions, the asking of hard questions, the discussion about the freedoms we so often take for granted, and the sacrifices of great men and women who fight for those freedoms.

I remember sitting around the television much in the coming days and weeks. I remember the heroic stories, the devastating stories.

I think often of friends and perfect strangers giving their lives, living far from family and the comforts of home, to ensure the rest of us sleep safely. I recall the funeral of a friend and young soldier who was killed in the line of duty. What a sacrifice.

Today I paraded barefoot through airport security watching my fellow passengers empty baggies of liquid toiletries into bins with their laptops and tennis shoes. Much has changed in the past decade. There seemed to be an extra number of men in royal blue TSA uniforms...or maybe I was just more aware of them. I thanked them, redressed myself, and walked past the 9-11 memorial booth to my gate.

The airport is full but eerily quiet. I wonder if we are all thinking similar thoughts, remembering that day solemnly. I wonder if we realize what we really have.

One time I got arrested in China. I was 15. Communist guards with automatic weapons pulled me into a room at the train station to rebuke the error of my ways. What had I done? Attempted to smuggle Chinese Bibles into the country. Yes, smuggle. That's illegal. I left that day unharmed, a little terrified, and a lot changed. I felt ashamed by the number of barely touched Bibles filling my bookshelves at home in the States. And I knew, while I left the country with no more than a fine and quite a story, my Chinese brothers and sisters were losing their lives daily for their faith. I was determined to learn to treasure the Word of God, the freedom to attend the church of my choosing without fear for my life, and the liberty to say whatever I please without fear of imprisonment. I set in my heart to never again take for granted the opportunities afforded to me as an citizen of the United States of America.

I still don't understand why God would chose for some of us to live under such freedoms while others live in famine and oppression, knowing no other life. I agree with CS Lewis and his sentiments that events like war and 9-11 serve to show us the kind of world we have lived in all along--terribly broken and desperately in need of a redeemer.

While I don't understand pain and death and oppression and violence and disease, I do know that the deepest pain and suffering could never separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Now, that, my friends, is ultimate freedom. In much or little, in joy or heartbreak, we are deprived and lost without Jesus.

America is awesome. But Jesus is better. And He's true freedom, the only true freedom.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Know Your Heart... and Don't Believe It

Labour to know thine own frame and temper; what spirit thou art of; what associates in thy heart Satan hath; where corruption is strong, where grace is weak; what stronghold lust hath in thy natural constitution, and the like. . .

Be acquainted, then, with thine own heart: though it be deep, search it; though it be dark, inquire into it; though it give all its distempers other names than what are their due, believe it not.

-John Owen, Of Temptation

The True and Highest Sweetness

How sweet it suddenly became to me to lack the sweetness of those follies, and what I was afraid to be separated from was now a joy to part with.

You cast them forth from me, You who are the true and highest sweetness. You cast them forth and entered in their place Yourself.

You who are sweeter than all pleasure, though not flesh and blood. Brighter than all light, but more hidden than all depths. Higher than all honor, but not to the lofty in their own conceits.

Now my soul was free from the biting cares of seeking and getting, weltering in filth, and scratching off the itch of my lust.

And my infant tongue spoke freely to You,
my Brightness
and my Riches
and my Health, Lord My God.

- St. Augustine -

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

The Best and the Worst

Today I was asked a great question about my residency experience to date, "What's the best and worst thing that has happened?" After a little more thought I have a better answer than I initially gave, and I thought I'd share--

Let's start with the worst and get it out of the way.

I'm going to spare any details. But the worst thing I experience as a physician is death. Luckily, as an Ob/Gyn this isn't a terribly common thing. But it happens. And it's always tragic and reminds me of my own mortality. There's a lot of super spiritual things I could insert here, but all I wanna say is that death is crappy.

Wow. That was warm.

Now, the best!

There are so many good things it's hard to pick just one, but the following story is my personal favorite.

One day after work I was taking out the trash at my apartment in the 112 degree heat when a man in a suit chased me down in the parking lot. I was quite creeped out and acted like I didn't see him despite his obvious attempts to get my attention. Eventually, however, in his persistence he caught up to me.

"Hey, hey! You work at Baylor!"

Yeah, crazy, stop being a creeper.

"I remember you!"

Ugh, I just need to throw my trash out so I can go to bed. Please don't ask me a medical question.

"You delivered my son!"

Now I feel like a jerk.

"Yeah, you did the c-section."

Yikes, I cut this dude's wife.

"I remember you because I was trying so hard to keep my composure in the OR and you just looked so confident."

Maybe this guy doesn't know the difference between fear and confidence?! Maybe I should just accept his compliment?

After my initial inner dialogue quieted down, we stood in the parking lot making small talk about his new son. He radiated with that new father pride. And it was fun. I mean, I delivered my neighbor's child! How crazy is that? How cool is that?

Being an Ob/Gyn is incredible. And I love it.

Freeing Gospel Truth of the Day

“Only the Gospel can truly save you. The Gospel doesn’t make bad people good; it makes dead people alive...the Gospel is God’s acceptance of us based on what Christ has done, not on what we can do.”

~Tullian Tchividjian~

Monday, September 05, 2011

The Gorgeous Message of the Gospel

"Create in me a clean heart, O God."
~Psalm 51:10

Here is the gorgeous message of the Gospel: even though I have bowed again and again to an endless catalog of God replacements, even though I've loved myself more than I have loved God, even though I have rebelled against God's kingdom and sought to set up my own kingdom, God comes to me in grace and wraps arms of love around me and begins a process that will result in the total transformation of the core of my personhood, the heart. He won't rest and He won't relent until He's created in you and me a completely pure heart! So we wake up every morning knowing that by His grace they will be purer than they are today. So with thankfulness for the transformation that's already taken place and with courage of hope of the transformation that is to come, we wake up, look to heaven, and say with David, "Create in me a clean heart."

-Paul David Tripp-

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Top 10 Lessons Learned My First Month as a Doctor

Disclaimer: No patients were harmed in the making of this list.

10. You're sure to get super excited in your first c-section so be sure to tie your mask just right so you don't get all fogged up--that's one thing you're gonna want to do by sight and not by faith the first time.

9. If you're going to break someone's bag of water AND sit on the end of her bed make sure you brought a fresh change of drawers…you just may need them.

8. When a patient begins a conversation with, "Doctor, do you think something could have crawled inside me and be living in there..." pray your pager goes off STAT.

7. If you struggled to tie your shoe as a child, those knots in the OR are gonna be a booger for you. Practice makes perfect.

6. If someone says they heard it was pouring in triage don't just assume that means there is an abundance of patients. Who knows, water just may be gushing from the ceiling.

5. Warm chocolate chip cookies on a busy day are the best, just make sure you get all the chocolate off your face before you go see a patient. A delivery is the worst time to discover you have something on your face that may or may not be chocolate.

4. Wear a mask or make a conscience effort to keep your mouth closed during a delivery. See #5.

3. Don't ever tell a patient she is "grossly ruptured." Just because that's normal talk to you, her husband thinks you're saying she's disgusting, and you’re going to feel rather silly explaining the use of the word “gross” to him.

2. Being an OB/GYN is the coolest job in the world.

1. Nothing is impossible—in every sense of the expression.