Lee and I had a long discussion a few days ago.
A little while ago, he had a young patient die. After he gave the orders to stop medical intervention, he prayed beside the bed of this child. One of the things he said was “Thank you for allowing us to serve you in life. Thank you for allowing us to serve you through death.” This portion was puzzling for some people present, who asked him about this.
You see, doctors (and other people in helping professions) often choose their occupation because they like helping people. They work for the good feelings that happen when someone is helped. Sometimes the outcome is bad, though. A patient dies. A counselee rejects wise counsel and suffers loss. A child fails a class. These bad outcomes leave us feeling cold inside and it’s easy to be discouraged and lose heart when we face them. When Lee thanked God for the opportunity to serve Him in a bad outcome, he was giving a more important reason for being a doctor than simply a desire to help people. If our whole motivation for action, any action, is to feel good, then we’re going to spend a good deal of our lives miserable and defeated. When Jesus told the parable of the talents (Matthew 25), the servants were rewarded for their faithfulness, not merely their results. In Lee’s prayer, he was demonstrating a belief that faithfulness as a doctor can glorify God, regardless of the outcome.
Lee and I then discussed how parenting seems to work the same way. We Christian parents who desire earnestly God’s wisdom in rearing our children often make our choices and live our lives for the good outcome that we desire: children who grow up to love God and walk in His ways. When our children make wrong choices, whether small or great, we feel defeated. I know I’ve felt discouraged and fearful anticipating choices that haven’t even been made yet! I am reminding myself tonight that I can rest in God’s care, acknowledging Him in all my ways, and then trusting that He will indeed direct my paths. I must be diligent to be faithful, but when I do what is right, God is glorified, whether my children do right or not.
I Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Perfect love does cast out fear. The fear and worry I have leaves me when I keep my eyes on the right goal. Parenting isn’t as hard when I live my life this way. Here is one passage that Lee shared with me:
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. I Peter 4:7-11