Day 1

Monday.

Some of you may have squirmed at the sight of that. Some may have sighed. Others may have rolled their eyes.

Monday is typically denoted as the start of a new week. We typically think of it as the busiest day, the most stressful day, and the longest day of the week.

For me, Mondays can be filled with complex cases, angry patients, and a long night of closing charts and sending prescriptions.

Sometimes, a Monday may be filled with happy patients who want to discuss their fun weekend.

And if you’re like me, you may have a mental countdown until the end of your shift and wishing Friday would arrive faster.

At some point recently, I started reflecting on my frustrated Monday mornings and decided that I needed to change. I don’t have them too often but I felt like I was having them more often than usual.

Then, I started re-reading the Bible from the beginning. I opened it up to Genesis, Chapter 1 and reflected on this scripture:

I considered the creation of the first day and sat in awe.

Let’s pass the physical power it took to create day 1 and look at the deeper meaning.

God created light and then separated light and darkness. And I thought to myself, “Wow. He not only created light but he separated light and darkness. Thus, the creation of a day. I wonder how I could separate a patient’s light from dark. I wonder, if on a Monday, I could pull a patient from the depths of their diagnosis and show them the light of God. I wonder, God, if I could somehow be a reflection of your creation by reminding myself of the goodness you created on Day 1.”

And with that new mindset, of separating light and dark for patients, came a new attitude. A new level of energy. A whole new Monday. A new day 1.

2020 has felt like a year of Mondays.

2020 has been full of disappointment, hardships, frustration, and stress.

But I was reminded in the book of Genesis that God separated light and dark for a reason. Not just to give us days. But to give us a new day, everyday, where we can wake up and choose how we live, think, and act.

God gave us the opportunity to be a new person as each day passes. He gives us an opportunity to separate the light and dark inside of us.

I am often made fun of at work (with all the love in the world) for my optimism because I insist on good days, good afternoons, and a good next day.

But my optimism really stems from Genesis. It stems from our creator. It stems from the promise of God that He is in control and what He creates is good and good for us.

My challenge for you is to reflect on your most recent Mondays and decide on how you’d like them to be different, keeping Genesis in mind. If you could create a new day 1, a new Monday, what would it look like? How would you feel? How would you interact with those around you?

Let’s all reflect on our most recent Monday in prayer together:

“God, thank you for Day 1. Yes, thank you for each and every Monday. Remind us God that your creation of Day 1 was good and perfect. Remind us that, through you, we can be a new person as each new day passes and that we can turn to you for strength in order to do so. Let every day be day 1 for us and for those around us. Amen.”

My Prayer For You

Hello everyone! I’ve slacked a little this past week on blogs but I’m back to it now, haha!

Over the past month, I have been reading a book called “Fervent” by Priscilla Shirer. It’s a book about fervent, passionate, heartfelt, powerful prayers. It’s a book about how the enemy, the devil, comes after you, your family, your career, your health, etc. And when he attacks, all you have to do is pray.

Since reading this book, I’ve been praying more. And my life has changed. Prior to this book, I already prayed daily. But now, I Pray. All. The. Time. Yes, all the time.

In traffic, I pray for safety.

At work, I pray for protection from COVID.

When talking with friends, I pray for their marriages. I pray for their kids. I pray…and they don’t even know it.

I’ve been praying for my daughter. My mom. My dad. My brother. My sister. My husband. His mother. His sister. His niece. Etc.

When I see a Facebook friend post a prayer request, I stop scrolling and lift them up in prayer.

About 2 years ago, my daughter asked me, “How do you pray?”

I told her, “You just find a quiet place and talk to God. You tell him what’s heavy on your heart. You thank Him for what he’s done so far. And you ask Him to help you. Did you know that you can’t pray incorrectly? Did you know that even if you use the wrong vocabulary word, you can’t pray incorrectly? As long as you speak from your heart, God is happy to hear from you. He wants to hear from you. About everything. About school. Your dinner. Trouble with homework. Help with piano lessons. He just wants you.”

As I looked at her, I saw her eyes widen and a smile spread across her face. Then it occurred to me that sometimes people don’t pray because they feel like they don’t know how. Or sometimes they ask people to pray for them because their situation is so challenging that they don’t feel strong enough to pray. Or sometimes their problem is so big that they need all the prayers they can get in order to access the unstoppable power from God.

I’m here to tell you, my friends, that I will pray for you.

And I encourage you to find other people to pray with you and/or for you as well. Because nothing…nothing…is more powerful than God. And when we pray to Him, we are accessing an unstoppable power.

So, right here, right now, let’s pray together. Let my words flow through you and with you. Let all of your unspoken requests come to life. Let your praise and thanksgiving reach the heavens and join with the angels. Let us pray.

God, you are mighty. You are powerful. You are all-knowing. God, we are praying for so many things in this world right now but let me start with thanking you for all that you have done for us. Thank you for this very moment. Thank you for the breath of life when so many have died this year from COVID, racial injustice, cancer, poor health, or accidentally. God, sometimes we don’t know how or what to pray. We just simply know that we need you. And when we can’t find the words, please place people in our lives to help us find the words or pray for us. God, we lift our hands right now, right here because we need you to reach down and give us the miracle of healing, peace, happiness, and justice. Amen.

“The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous.” -Proverbs 15:29

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” -Mark 11:24

Prayer Works, Part 4

When patient’s are diagnosed with cancer, I often hear:

“I’m OK with it.”

“I’ve accepted it.”

“I’m going to fight this.”

“God will pull me through.”

In the middle of the fight, no matter if it’s going well or not, I often hear the following phrases:

“I’m tired but I’ll be ok.”

“The pain meds are working pretty well.”

“I’m eating pretty good.”

At the end of the cancer fight, when patients accept their inevitable death, I often hear:

“I’m here to say goodbye to you.”

“I’m tired of fighting and want to rest.”

“Thank you.”

If you read my last few blogs on prayers in medicine, I discussed survival and cancer recovery. Today, however, I’m going to address patients who die from cancer.

I can’t tell you why God allow some to live and some to die.

I can’t tell you why certain people get certain cancers. I can tell you risk factors for certain cancers but I can’t tell you why some people get cancers and others don’t.

But I can tell you that they are prayers during their cancer battle are answered.

When a patient has nausea and vomiting to the point where they can’t enjoy any meals, they pray for peace. And they are given it.

When a patient has severe pain that is difficult to manage, they pray for peace. And they are given it.

When a patient faces the possibility of death every single day, they pray for peace. And they are given it.

There is a supernatural level of peace that is given to people in their most desperate times of need. And I see it in all of my cancer patients.

It is a peace beyond my understanding. Beyond my comprehension. Beyond my own peace in life.

And it is a peace that can only come from Jesus.

These patients face life and death with an aura of confidence that there is more after their death. They face life and death with a living hope of a new body, a healed body, in the afterlife.

These patients, despite their internal physical war, have peace.

God answers prayers. He may not answer “yes” when you play the lottery but he’ll provide you with financial stability.

He may not answer “yes” right away when you pray for a spouse, but he’ll provide you with love and peace while you wait for that spouse.

And He may not answer “yes” when you want to survive cancer, but he’ll promise you peace during your fight, comfort during your depression, and eternal life in heaven after death.

God answers prayers. Even in medicine.

Prayer Works, Part 3

She spent most of her days overwhelmed with fatigue.

She spent a lot of days vomiting.

She spent a lot of days traveling to her doc’s office for radiation.

She spent two years with breast cancer.

I spent time with this patient for two years.

I spent our visits smiling with her.

I spent our visits managing her nausea and her pain.

I spent our visits asking about her mood and how I could help keep her optimistic.

And we spent two years talking about prayer. Church. Scripture. God’s love. His mercy. And His faithfulness.

And when she told me she was cancer free, we both screamed and danced in the exam room and she told me, “God answered my prayers.”

Because even in medicine, prayer works.

God gave her an amazing team of Oncologists, nurses, home health aides, and other medical personnel.

But God also gave her the gift of prayer. He gave her a direct line to Him. An open channel that can be accessed at any moment.

In the Bible, we see where Jesus taught his disciples how to pray when He prayed, “Our God who art in heaven. Hallowed be the name. They kingdom come, they will be done. On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.”

God wants us to know that He is in heaven. That He is power. That His purpose will be done in your life and on Earth. That He will supply your daily needs. That He will help you forgive others as He has already forgiven you. And that His kingdom rains down the blessings of power and glory directly to His children.

God wants you to know that you can come to him in prayer. Bring your needs to Him because He will meet your needs and give you more.

Because even in medicine, prayer works.

Prayer Works, Part 2

The taste of liquid metal. Such an odd taste. Distinct. Strong. Almost tangy.

A fizzle in her nose. A small gush of water escaped her right nostril. Then came the tangy metallic taste in her mouth.

She hunched forward and cusped her hands below her nose to catch the waterfall of blood.

“No, it can’t be.” She pleaded aloud.

She jogged to the sink and saw the blood fall from her hands and into the bowl. Just a small red splatter. No much. But just enough to incite a level of fear that reached into her chest and slithered its way into her gut.

“No, no, no.”

The cold water from the sink was soothing against her face. Watching the blood fall into the drain was soothing. But her fear of cancer was not.

“God, please.” She pleaded at her reflection in the mirror.

“You know you have it. You read the demographics. A young, Asian female, with two lymph nodes on her neck presents with nosebleeds. What does she have? Oropharyngeal cancer.” She thought.

She massaged the two small lymph nodes, trying to squeeze them away.

“God, please. I don’t want to have cancer. I don’t care what the CT of my neck said. I need you to clear me. I need to go to this ENT appointment and be cleared. My family needs me.” She was on her knees.

Salt this time. She tasted the saltiness of her tears as she leaned her head against the cabinet and listened to the water run.

She spent two months on her knees.

She spent two months catching and cleaning nosebleeds.

She spent two months re-reading her CT scan results, warning her of a possible cancerous mass in her throat.

She spent two months in fear.

But she also spent two months in prayer.

When she had a nosebleed, she prayed.

When she felt another lymph node pop up, she prayed.

When she awake at 2am with nightmares of her wasting away from chemotherapy and radiation, she prayed.

When fear told her death was coming, she prayed.

Because it was all she had. Prayer.

And on the day of her ENT appointment, she prayed every second of every minute that she waited in the lobby.

When she was told to hold still while the camera entered her nose and traveled down her throat, she prayed.

And when the doc said, “You’re fine. There’s no mass or sign of anything cancerous”, she finally breathed.

Because her prayers were answered.

Then, the lymph nodes disappeared, the nosebleeds stopped, and she finally breathed.

And what did she do next? She prayed.

I am a Physician Assistant. I am a devout Christian.

This was my story of how strong, focused, and fervent prayers overcame my fear and the devil’s attack on my health.

Because even in medicine, prayer works.

Prayer Works

“ Your diabetes is very uncontrolled.” I looked at this sweet elderly patient of mine.

“ I’m not worried about it. God‘s got me.” The patient smiled and looked me squarely in the eyes.

“ I agree that God has you but maybe He put me in your life to help with your medical needs.”

“And maybe He put me in your life to tell you that I will pray about this and in three months, my A1C will drop. I have faith.”

Yes, I am a devout Christian. Yes, I am a Physician Assistant.

And I doubted. I doubted because I know the typical diet of most North Carolinians and it’s not diabetic-friendly. I doubted because this particular A1C level put this patient’s life in danger. I doubted because I wanted to helpful by prescribing medication.

I simply doubted.

“OK, it’s been three months and you are due for bloodwork. Let’s get your A1C and see if your diabetes has gotten any better.” I shrugged my shoulders.

And for the first time in my career, this patient lifted their hands in the air, closed their eyes, and said, “God, you are the God who cures. I will not claim diabetes. I claim a cure instead.”

I froze. Sitting on my little cream colored stool, I simply froze. Astonished. Curious. Delighted.

One simple action. One simple reach towards the ceiling. A few simple words. And they knew the uncontrolled diabetes was no longer there.

One prayer. In my exam room. Without hesitation. Without boundaries. Without embarrassment. Simple, effective, devout faith.

And when I got their lab result the next day, there it was.

A controlled A1C.

Prayer works. I’ve seen it. This is only one small example. I have many others. And I’d like to spend the next few blogs proving it to you.

What do you need to pray about?

Who do you need to pray for?

Right here, right now, without hesitation, without boundaries, and without embarrassment. Lift your hands, close your eyes, and pray.

Because it works.

Let me pray for you today.

“ God, we have so many needs in this world today. We have people who are fighting for their lives. We have people who are fighting for their mental health. We have people who are fighting for their emotional lives and their relationships with other people. God, we have needs. But we are reminded that you are a God who supplies every need before we even knew that we needed them. And we are here today, to close our eyes, to lift our hands, and to reach to the heavens. Because we know, that you will reach down and meet us. God, we pray to thank you, we pray to ask things of you, and we pray so that the floodgates of blessings will rain down upon us. May every person who reads this blog be healed in anyway that is needed. Amen.”

The Who, What, When, Where, and Why of COVID-19 testing.

When COVID-19 was claimed a pandemic in March of 2020, we were pretty strict about testing patients. Patients had to have specific symptoms and fit specific other criteria for us to even consider using a test.

Part of that is because we knew very little about the virus and its symptoms.

It was also because we were in very short supply of the actual test itself. I specifically remember receiving about 5 tests in March and were told to use them appropriately because we didn’t know when we were getting more.

5 tests! Could you imagine?!

Back in March, the patient had to have a fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, a cough, AND a sore throat before we would even consider a test. Then, we were only testing patients who were either older (greater than 60 years of age) or patients who had severe chronic conditions (COPD on oxygen, Heart Failure, etc). If you didn’t fit the age/chronic condition category, you didn’t get a test!

Side note: Don’t forget that I practice Family Medicine so my criteria for testing will always be different than someone in the hospital.

And here we are, 5 months later, with a much different picture.

Thankfully, the supply of covid tests appear infinite and for the last 3 months, we’ve been about to test whoever wants to be tested, no matter their age, symptoms, or past medical history.

And now, within the last 2 weeks, we have rapid testing, which means you get your result in 15 minutes instead of 3-10 business days! Wow!

So now, no matter your demographics, your symptoms, your past medical history, or your insurance, you can get a rapid covid test anytime that you want!

Think you’ve been exposed? Get a test!

Curious? Get a test!

Don’t feel well? Get a test!

Bored and need something to do? Get a test! Haha!

Who can get a test? Anyone!

What kind of test can you get? Either a send out test (that detects dead or live coronavirus) that takes 3-10 business days or a rapid test (that detects only live virus) that takes only 15 minutes to get a result.

When can you get the test? Anytime!

Where can you get the test? Anywhere!

Here in Fayetteville, NC my company (Goshen Medical, which has over 40 locations in the state of NC) offers both send out and rapid testing. There’s also an urgent care called NextCare (a large chain with multiple locations) also has rapid testing.

Our company will also coordinate with local churches in NC for covid-19 testing so check with your local church too!

Why should you get the test? For any reason that you can think of. Take care of an elderly family member? You should get tested. Think you had an exposure? Get tested. Feel sick? Get tested. Going back to school/work? Get tested.

You don’t have to take the covid-19 test. I’m just letting you know that you can!

As a family medicine PA, I will tell you that covid-19 test results always surprise me.

I’ve seen some people with ZERO symptoms come up positive. I’ve seen people with ALL of the symptoms come up negative. And I’ve seen people who are in between. Maybe they have some symptoms but it turns out they have strep throat. I’ve seen others with some symptoms and they end up with a “common cold” diagnosis when they leave my office. Some have nothing more than an ear ache and they end up positive.

In 5 months, we went from testing almost no one to testing everyone. Imagine where we’ll be in another 5 months? Maybe we’ll be administering the vaccine!

Keep the hope, not the fear.

Keep the positivity, not the fear.

And keep believing that Jesus is doing miraculous things behind the scenes.

Stay safe everyone and if you haven’t already, go get tested!

“I’m so embarrassed!”

From head to toe, we’re going to discuss a few topics that my patients have felt are “embarrassing” to talk about.

Black Eye: A lot of people are embarrassed by this more so because of how they received the black eye and not actually because of the black eye itself. Sure, I’m going to ask what happened and as long as it didn’t occur from an abusive relationship, then I don’t really care how it happened.

Bar fight? OK. Took a hockey puck to the eye? Ha! OK. Your 2 year old slammed her head into your face while sitting on your lap? Been there, done that!

What’s most important about having a black eye is that you are evaluated ASAP! We need to check your visual acuity, check for signs of bleeding in your brain, check for changes in mental status, and follow-up closely during the healing process.

Bad Breath: Also known as halitosis, this can be quite embarrassing for a lot of people. And yes, please go to your dentist. But if your dentist says there’s nothing wrong, then come to me! You won’t believe this but your bad breath can be an indication of something called Helicobacter Pylori, a bacterial infection in your gut. It can also be a result of gastroesophageal reflux disease.

Maybe you just need some antibiotics and/or a mouth wash? Who knows? But you won’t know for sure until you see your primary care provider!

Breasts: We typically don’t consider men having breasts but they can! And if you do, please see your primary care provider because you need some blood work drawn. You may even need a mammogram, chest x-ray, or breast ultrasound. Yep, you may need this workup as well like some women do because guess what? Men can get breast cancer!

Please, please, please, don’t be embarrassed! This is important! Let’s make sure you don’t have a brain tumor or breast cancer!

Belching and farting: I would say that the average number of burps per day is about 5-10 and the average number of farts is 10-20 per day. I had a surgical professor once tell us that men fart up to 30 times per day and women fart up to 15 times per day? Why the discrepancy? Because women didn’t want to report their full number of farts during the research project haha!

Here’s my deal on belching/farting: You should be doing it. If not, you need to be seen. If you are doing it but you’re worried about it being excessive, come see me. You may have an infection and/or you may need a colonoscopy. I’ve had patients belch and fart in exam rooms before and all I’ve done is chuckle and reassure them that it’s OK. Because it is. Everyone farts. Everyone belches. And everyone gets embarrassed about it.

Erectile Dysfunction: I’m proud of the men that discuss this with me. Why? Because it’s hard to talk about! But also because this requires fasting blood work and I find a lot of men with low testosterone, a male hormone, that can cause fatigue, depression, and erectile dysfunction when this hormone is too low. And when we replace their testosterone levels, they feel amazingly better! No more erectile dysfunction! They have more energy! They’re happier! Yes, this happens to men when they get older but it doesn’t mean we have to accept it. We have to investigate and treat it.

So, men, put your shame to the side and come in and see me about this.

Ugly toenails: Most women love pedicures! Nothing beats getting a good foot massage while sitting in a massage chair, drinking a coke, and leaving the building with some brightly colored toenails! So relaxing!

But if your toenails are too thick to cut with nail clippers, you need to come see me. If there’s been a change in color, you need to come see me. What if you’re diabetic? What if it’s a fungal infection? We should get these toes treated, especially in time to wear flip flops!

Really in truly, embarrassing topics in medicine are infinite but these were the first to pop into my head and they’re pretty common in family medicine.

When it comes to your health, don’t be embarrassed. Please seek proper care before things get worse.

When it comes to your mental health, don’t be embarrassed. We all struggle in life and we all could use some help once in a while.

And when it comes to your spiritual life, don’t be embarrassed to ask God for help. He already knows what you need before you ask for it. You just simply have to ask in order to receive.

My prayer for you today is that your feelings of embarrassment are replaced by feelings of comfort.

A Symphony During A Pandemic

“Sometimes it’s hard to breathe. All these thoughts are shoutin’ me. Try to bring me to my knees. And it’s overwhelming. Darkness echoes all around. Feels like everything is crashing down.”

When I discovered a child abuse case a few years back, I found it hard to breathe. The x-ray was shouting at me. The sadness tried to bring me to my knees. It was overwhelming. The darkness of this evil act made me wonder if this child’s life was crashing down before him.

When I learned patients’ deaths due to COVID19, I found it hard to breathe. The thoughts of “what if” were screaming at me. I paused and considered their lives, almost bringing me to my knees. COVID19 has been overwhelming for all of us. It makes us feel surrounded by darkness, despite the hot, sunny, summer weather. And it can make us feel like the world is crashing down on us.

When horrendous acts of racism flood people’s minds, our streets, and our social media, George Floyd said, “I can’t breathe.” Thoughts of hate were shouting at him. They brought him to his knees, then to his death. It was overwhelming for our black community and it was overwhelming to those in support of our neighbors of all colors. Peaceful protests turned into riots. Darkness echoed all around. The world seemed to be crashing down.

2020 has been an uphill battle that no one feels like their winning.

More and more patients are expressing their depression now than they ever have before. Patients who were already diagnosed with depression are now stating that their anti-depressants don’t work anymore. Patients who bottled up their emotions are now finding that their sadness is overflowing, overwhelming, and uncontrollable.

2020 has been a storm cloud that refuses to clear and move on to a new area.

“Still I know when my hope is found. And it’s only you. You say you’re working everyhing for my good and I believe every word. ‘Cause even in the madness, there is peace drownin’ out the voices all around me. Through all of this chaos you were writing a symphony.”

In medicine, there is hope that I can adjust their anti-depressants to help balance their chemical imbalance. There is hope that my patients will finally agree to counseling and they’ll express their emotions in a stable and productive environment. In medicine, there is hope for a vaccine for COVID-19. There is hope for a cure.

When I feel short of breath, I take a deep breath. When thoughts of COVID fill my mind, I choose to fall to my knees…and pray. When work is overwhelming, when racism fills our streets, when darkness echoes everywhere, I choose to fall to my knees…and pray.

Because as a Physician Assistant, there is hope in medicine and in God. So, despite the struggle, I look forward to a glimmer of hope that the vaccine will come. I look forward to a glimmer of hope that the worst of this virus is over. I have hope.

Because as a Christian, the madness that has flooded our lives is drowned out by God’s peace. There is the knowledge that God is writing a symphony during this chaos. There is knowledge that God is working everything out for our good.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 NIV

As we journey into the second half of 2020, I pray for peace.

I pray that the children who live in abusive households are rescued and given peace after their world came crashing down during quarantine and they were stuck at home. I pray for peace for the children who have struggled with hunger after their world came crashing down during quarantine and their free breakfast and lunches were halted. I pray for peace between warring spouses. I pray for peace for those suffering from mental illness, as their thoughts become more frantic, disorganized, and illogical as a result of this pandemic. I pray for those in sadness, as they remain in feelings of isolation.

I pray for you reading this blog. That you may realize that in your world of chaos, God is writing your symphony. Trust Him to write it and finish it.

As your Physician Assistant, I pray that you show your vulnerability and seek help for your medical conditions. That you are open and honest about the darkness surrounding you, whether mental or physical. That you seek help when things are crashing down.

As we journey into the second half of 2020, let us be reminded who is in control and who is writing a symphony during this chaos.

The words that I quote above are from a song called “Symphony”. Listen to the song below and let it soak into your heart and mind, bringing you closer to God, and away from the madness of 2020.

The Promises of Medicine

Part of practicing family medicine is providing patient education. I have to be able to explain diagnoses and treatments and answer patient questions.

A great example is when I diagnose overactive or under-active thyroid disorders (hyper or hypothyroidism).

“Will I have to take this medication forever?” I’m often asked.

“Yes.”

“Will the medication work?” Is a common question for all treatments, especially thyroid.

“It should. But I’ll need you to come back in about a month to repeat your blood work so I can make sure it’s working. If not, I’ll have to adjust the dose. Then, you’ll come back in another month for more blood work. Sometimes, it works perfectly fine from the start. Sometimes, I have to adjust the dose a few times before it works for the patient.”

This usually gives the patient hope that they’ll start feeling better, with a slight uncertainty as to when this may start.

The same goes for finding a diagnosis.

When patients present with chest pain, I have to order a chest x-ray (among other things) to figure out what’s going on.

I can promise that I’ll try and find the answer but I can’t promise what the answer will be.

And what do I do for a bad diagnosis?

How do I look the patient in the eye and tell them they have a lung mass that is cancerous?

I tell them the diagnosis and tell them that I’m referring them to Pulmonology and Oncology.

“And what are they going to do?” Sometimes this is asked while holding back tears. Sometimes with anger.

“They’re going to stage the cancer and come up with a plan to fight the cancer.”

And that usually brings silence.

Because I can promise to come up with a plan and send them to the right people but I can’t promise them a good outcome.

As medical providers, we are trusted by our patients to figure out what’s going on, treat the problem, and make them feel better. There’s an unwritten expectation of these things from our patients and from society.

And sometimes we don’t meet those expectations.

Sometimes medicine throws us a curveball and we strike out. Instead of hitting a home run, I have to go back to the dugout without anything to show for it.

Then, my patients are left with uncertainty. Fear. Anxiety. Anger. Sadness.

Then, I throw a curveball back at my patients.

“Can I pray for you?”

Some a very appreciate of this.

Some with nod their heads.

And some are angry at the notion of this idea.

I pray for them anyway. Why? Because God is a God of promises.

Despite the lung cancer, God is a God of promises.

I can’t promise the outcome of your cancer but God can promise to be present during the battle.

I can’t promise how your body will feel on chemo and radiation, but God can promise a peace beyond understanding.

I can’t promise…anything. But God can.

He promised it in Deuteronomy 31:8: “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

He promised it in John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

He promised it in Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 

He promised Abraham a son after his wife was already passed the age of fertility. And he further promised Abraham to be father of all nations.

From the beginning to the end of the bible, God makes promises for His people. And he never went back on these promises.

Noah was told to build an ark. And he was told there would be a great flood coming. And when the flood came, the bible says in Genesis 8:1:

“God didn’t forget about Noah and all the animals in the boat!”

He made a promise and He didn’t forget.

Because God is a God of promises.

In my profession, I make some promises. But most of the time, I can’t. I promise not to do any harm. But I can’t promise that your health won’t take a turn for the worst.

But in my faith, I can make all the promises of God.

I can promise God is real. He is with us. He loves you. He’s here for you. And he’ll never forsake you.

So the next time your family doc can’t make promises, simply turn to the one who can. And he’ll come through with his promises for your life, your future, and for your generations to come.

Don’t rely on the promises of medicine. Rely on the promises of the God of the universe.