Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Whisperer

The Lord came and stood there, calling, as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” I Sa 3:10

I am not sure why, but I am restless in my work these days. I feel that I have come to this place in my life by following God’s will, but it doesn’t feel right anymore. Is there something I’m not doing? Is this the place I’m supposed to be?

Most Christian doctors at some point in their lives may think such thoughts. Often, just like most human beings, when Christian doctors have accomplished their dream of success, they find that the promised joy of that success is transient. When one climbs a peak in Colorado, the joy is usually in the beauty of the climb and in the first view from the top. After that, the trek down may be less appealing, and often painful to the knees.

Sometimes our restlessness is simply a sinful desire to want more than we have received, a better marriage, a bigger lake house, a more prestigious position---as John in his first letter puts it: “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life”.

Sometimes, however, that restlessness may come because our hearts can hear the whisper of God. Even before our minds comprehend, our hearts know that God is calling us beyond ourselves to Him and to others. Dr. Albert Schweitzer described the whisper that led him out of success toward the poorest in Africa in Lambarene:

“‘You are happy,’ it says… ‘Therefore you have been called to give up more. Whatever you have received more than others in health, in talents, in ability, in success…you must not take to yourself as a matter of course. You must pay a price for it.’”

We certainly need to take the restlessness in our lives seriously and not passively flow with it toward new distractions. If we feel an undefined discontent in our life situation, we need to examine our lives, to see if that restlessness comes from selfish dissatisfaction or sinful desire. We need to get our hearts straight and say with Paul, “I have learned to be content, whatever the circumstances.” But, we also need to ask our God, “Is this your whisper calling me to change? Do you have a place for me that demands more of me for your Kingdom?” No Christian doctor should ask these questions lightly. Listening for God’s whisper often comes with a price, as Schweitzer discovered,

“The voice is dangerous for the happy when they have the courage to listen for it…It challenges them in an attempt to lead them away from the natural road, and to…make them adventurers of self sacrifice, of whom the world has too few.”1

Dear God,
Help me be content in whatever position you have placed me. And let me never be content in a place from which you would have me move to accomplish your mission for my life.

1. Schweitzer A. Albert Schweitzer. An Anthology. Joy C, Ed. Beacon Press, Boston. 1947. p 267.

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