by Charles R. Swindoll
"Physician. One upon whom we set our hopes when ill and our dogs when well," defines A. Bierce in The Devil's Dictionary.
Of all the professions, that of the physician has to be the most paradoxical. Brilliant and quick-thinking . . . yet unable to write so that anybody (except a pharmacist) can decipher the words. Decisive and disciplined . . . yet more preoccupied than an overworked inventor on the edge of a discovery. He's the only guy I know who can have both hands in your mouth while asking you three questions back to back as he stares up your nose and has his mind on his golf game. Honest and principled . . . yet lies through his teeth every time he says, "This won't hurt a bit . . . you'll hardly feel it."
The physician lives with two unique pressures day and night.
The pressure of life and death. A wrong decision, an unexpected change in a person's body, a drastic reaction to medication, a risk that backfires, a misdiagnosis, a hurried oversight, and a dozen other technical or ethical errors can result in death. What a heavy weight to hang on the thin wire of fallible humanity!
The pressure of success and failure. In a moment of time, years of schooling and decades of a respected practice can crumble and fall. Or, because of "the breaks," the doctor can find himself on the lofty pinnacle of power, prestige, and wealth, dangerously close to the point of idolatry.
If any profession on earth calls for a living, vital, incessant relationship with the eternal God, this one does. And yet therein lies the greatest paradox. Many of those dealing with life-and-death issues are themselves neither prepared to live nor ready to die.
In light of all this, it is interesting to ponder how much we owe to one medical doctor of the first century. His name was Dr. Luke, the beloved personal physician of Paul, the great apostle.
Through Luke's counsel and treatment, Paul was able to live on, fight hard, finish his course, and reach the Roman Empire with the message of hope. Like all great physicians, Luke realized all he could do was diagnose properly, treat the illness correctly . . . and then wait. Only God can heal.
And so, we thank our Lord for every Dr. Luke today—not miracle workers, but mere humans desperately in need of the Divine.
Our Great Physician understands the unique pressures each one of us faces, day and night. Ask for His counsel and diagnosis.
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.