The doctor

The Chaplain was called to ICU. A five month old baby had died.

When the Chaplain arrived the doctor was waiting for him. This was unusual. Normally, in their busy rounds the doctor has moved on. It’s more often than not that the Chaplain has to ask one of the nurses who is looking after another patient which bed to go to.

But this time the doctor was standing outside an isolation room and when he saw the Chaplain he just said, “They’re in there.” As the Chaplain thanked the doctor he said intuitively, “Are you OK?” The doctor simply replied, “Pray for me too.”

The Chaplain entered the room to the heart wrenching scene. After a couple of hours seeking to bring the comfort and encouragement of Jesus to a family in deep grief, feeling very drained, the Chaplain’s thoughts turned to the doctor who had asked for prayer. The doctor wasn’t around when he came out of the room so as he walked away, reflecting on the past two hours, he also prayed for the doctor.

After some days the Chaplain was able to arrange a time with the doctor to sit and talk. The doctor poured his heart out. To the Chaplain’s surprise the doctor told him he was a Christian. They had seen each other over

the past few years around the hospital but other than polite greetings had never had a conversation. It turned out the doctor was a keen Christian who had been actively involved in Christian groups at university. He believed God wanted him to be a paediatric doctor but had never really thought much about the difference between a doctor with faith in Jesus and a doctor who had no faith. He hadn’t worked out what it meant to be a Christian doctor. He certainly prayed for his patients and their families but was this all there was to being a Christian doctor?

Sometimes the doctor thought it would be easier being a non-Christian. He felt like Satan was taunting him each time a child died. He often felt guilty that he may not have done enough to save a life. This led him to feel helpless and a lack of hope. But he kept calling out to God.

The Chaplain’s thoughts turned to Psalm 109. In this Psalm David calls to the God whom he praises because many lying tongues are speaking against him. Verses 6-19 recount what lies are being said. The doctor was astounded that these words sounded exactly like the lies Satan was throwing at him and the next verses described how he was feeling. Suddenly he felt like God was speaking directly to his own situation. Suddenly he felt not so much alone. Then the last words of the Psalm, vv. 26 – 31, had so much meaning. God was for him. God was on his side. While the Accuser may curse, God will bless.

With a renewed sense that God was for him the doctor felt he could better cope with the many losses he saw at work. He also began to see with this transformed hope in God he had something to offer his colleagues.

They mostly handled their stress with alcohol. The doctor began to share with them a better hope. It was the Scriptures that spoke so clearly to him. He began to see how relevant so much of God’s wisdom was for him.

He began to reflect more on what the Scriptures are saying to each experience he has every day in his work.

He began to see how he could be a Christian doctor.