Isnt this a cool t-shirt?  Follow the link...

Devotions for doctors #1:  Anxiety!

I’d like to initiate a new project for the year.  Although I can’t promise it will be weekly, I’ll do my best.  Christian physicians need to encourage one another, especially since medicine is a place where too many men and women lose their faith.  So, I’d like to use my experiences in the emergency department to reflect on our faith from time to time.   Maybe this is my parish!  So spread the word!  Here goes:

(Disclaimer, I have no financial interest in the T-shirt on the side, but I thought it was cool!)


The practice of any sort of medicine is bound to be fraught with anxiety.  We feel anxious because we don’t always know the answers, but are expected to know them. We feel anxious because, particularly in emergency medicine, we don’t know what’s coming through the door next!  We feel anxious because when we call that consultant, or try to arrange that transfer to the next town, we may just be cursed, screamed at or simply demeaned.  ‘Well, if you can’t handle it, I guess we have to take it!  But it sure seems like a dump!’

These days, with the uncertainty of the healthcare reform package, the anxiety is greater. We really don’t know what will evolve from Washington, or how it will affect us!  What will our jobs look like in 2 years, 5 years or ten? That’s a pretty anxiety-provoking thought.

But here’s the thing we must remember in all of our worries.  God says don’t do it.  The scriptures don’t say, ‘don’t worry about anything, except of course missed MI’s, medical politics and malpractice!’  He says, ‘don’t worry!’  He doesn’t say, ‘Christians, don’t worry, unless you’re doctors.  You can if you want to!’

We are habitually worriers.  Sometimes, the seed of that trait is what makes us good physicians.  But the fruit of worry, full grown and rotting, makes us miserable physicians.  It robs us of sleep, of joy, of confidence and of hope.

Del Tackett, the instructor on the Focus on the Family Truth Project, asks this question:  ‘Do you really believe that what you believe is really real?’  A good question, that.  I mean, if you don’t believe it’s real, and know you don’t believe, then your anxiety is not unreasonable.  Bad things happen.  We practice in the midst of many of those bad things.  As my partner says, ‘we practice in “smite-ville.”‘

But if we believe that we worship and follow the God of the universe, the God incarnate in the historical Jesus Christ, for whom miracles were simple matters, and who tells us of His intimate love for and involvement with each of us, then our worry at least has an outlet, a place of refuge.

This is more than an emotional sleight of hand.  Your degree of worry affects your decisions, your longevity in practice, your life with your spouse and children and even your leadership in medicine!  The team looks to you!  If you are worried, the team is worried.  If you are confident, the team is confident.

So look to the Father.  Look to the God who said, ‘Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?  And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things’  Luke 12:  25-26.   (Isn’t it cool that Jesus called adding to your life ‘a little thing?’)

And remember Paul’s words in Philippians 4:6    ‘Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.’

I know, it’s easier said than done.  But I have presented any number of difficult situations to God in prayer;  prayer for airways, for IV’s, for answers and diagnoses.  Not every situation was a success in earthly terms, but I worried less and trusted more.  And I know that whatever happens in the politics and economics of healthcare, I’ll be fine, because my Father will take care of me as He always has.

When I realize these things, my anxiety slips away like spilled IV fluid on the floor.

God bless and keep you!


0 0 votes
Article Rating