Saturday, September 17, 2011

MAKING the MOST of EVERY OPPORTUNITY


By Jeff McKissick

September 16, 2011



I recently learned that a dear patient of mine passed away at 45 years of age.  Ursulina started coming regularly to my clinic about 4 years ago.  She used to come on horseback but a broken leg which healed badly and left her limping mandated someone now bring her by motorcycle.  I had recently diagnosed her as having a molar pregnancy, which in a nutshell is a chromosomal disaster resulting in clusters of fluid filled sacs instead of a normal baby.  It can rarely spread like cancer to nearby or distant sites.  Her uterus rapidly enlarged causing pain and bleeding.  On her very first visit during her pregnancy, it was far too early to tell by ultrasound that anything was awry.  Only her pregnancy test was positive.  She was none too happy with the news and she said her husband wished her to have an abortion.  They could not afford to feed an eleventh child.  I counseled her to not proceed with an abortion and I seized the opportunity to share the gospel with her and pray with her.  Then I gave her a tract full of Scriptures- God’s promises to us who believe in his Son and how we can know him as Lord and Savior.  There is also a short example prayer at the end which one can use as an example to receive Christ as Lord. 

This practice of sharing my faith with patients, according to my secular humanist medical training at a state medical school, is unethical and frowned upon.  It has been deemed inappropriate, in the North American climate of political correctness, religious pluralism and tolerance (except of course for the growing intolerance of biblical Christianity), to “force” one’s beliefs on another.  I don’t force anyone to do anything.  I present the Bible’s perspective, and on that issue there is no shortage of misinformation and distortion from the culture, so that they can make an informed choice.  I call it “the persuasive winning of souls” and I do it as frequently as I can (2 Cor 5:11 - Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men); ( Pro 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.).  One part of that persuasion is telling Bible stories each workday to the waiting patients.  It was after one of these storying and teaching times at one of her follow-up visits  that Ursulina and I got to talking in depth about her eternal destiny and she told me she had recently accepted Christ an trusted him.

…)       She eventually had a procedure done to evacuate the molar pregnancy before it grew larger.  As the months went by, her symptoms returned, and her obstetrician was not appropriately following her pregnancy hormone levels to detect a recurrence of the molar pregnancy.  I performed another ultrasound and found the uterus still very enlarged and a mass adjacent to her ovary on one side.  I referred her to the obstetrician again for further evaluation.  She was eventually transferred to the national hospital and a hysterectomy and tumor removal  which was performed successfully.  She received many units of blood and then suddenly passed away several days after the operation. 

Valerie Inchley said once, “Perhaps we should not ask whether it is ethically right to witness during a consultation, but whether it is spiritually wrong for the committed Christian not to do so when prompted by the Lord?”  I have no regrets from having shared the good news of my Lord with Ursulina during working hours (Rom 1:16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes).  I never ran in to her outside of my clinic hours.  Had I waited for a more opportune or “appropriate” time, I would have never had the chance to speak the name of Jesus to her at all.  As a physician I realize that 100% of my patients, and even the doctor himself, will eventually die.  I can bring temporary relief and comfort, but I can’t stop death.  I believe God can work through me to delay it sometimes, but I cannot stop it.  Only He can.  In John 11:25 Jesus said to Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”  I feel honored that God gave me the privilege of bringing Ursulina closer to himself.  May we all be looking for more opportunities as the days pass and the Lord’s return draws ever nearer.   Col 4:3 says, “And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ… Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should.  Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.”

2 comments:

marion said...

Amen ! Great and beautiful post. This is what its all about !
Seizing the moment and seizing the glorious freedom we still have in Paraguay to openly share the great news and love of Jesus Christ wherever we are. How will they know unless we tell them ? Blessings and increasing wisdom and strength to you both.

Ken and Christie said...

So glad you followed the leading of the Lord, and that you do so daily. I hate to think about those 10 children that your friend left behind, but it's good to know where their mommy is right now. :)