When I was 13, I attended church and joined as a communicant with others, but was still lost. I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus until I faced death during my freshman year in college. God showed up supernaturally and lifted my pain as I recovered from an accident while assuring me of His presence. I was baptized as a believer, confessing my sin and need for a Savior. This decision rocked my family’s world because my public act (believer baptism) of obedience wasn’t part of my family’s (Presbyterian) tradition.
As a result, my relationships with others completely changed. Through church, I ultimately found my closest friends, mentors, and my wife (married in 1987). My awareness of God’s presence also changed when I submitted my will to His. On my own, I fail and stumble. When I turn in repentance back to Jesus, I find peace, joy, rest, and unspeakable comfort, knowing I am loved immeasurably and that He has a plan for me. His presence is something I continue to seek in prayer daily.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Over time, working as a physician has become something I realize I didn’t deserve but was a gift to be used for God’s glory. It wasn’t a smooth transition from high school to college to medical school. Yet somehow, God saw fit to use me, bless me, and expand my territory. Today, it’s through my small group at FG, in my workplace, and in an international online Bible Study ministry to men who meet online daily. We’ve become like brothers linked in service, prayer, and support.
Recently, I asked that same group of men to pray over my time ministering to a patient who lay in the hospital, dying. The patient’s son told me the day before, “I’m praying to whatever god is out there.” His response hit me like a gut punch, and although I didn’t react immediately, I prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide me with wisdom and discernment to share the gospel message with him, and He did. God showed up powerfully, in the midst of a dying patient, at his bedside, with his son and sister (a believer), as he passed into the healing arms of Jesus. There was shalom—God’s peace was there. Had I done it alone, it would have been awkward. That community of brothers’ prayers was powerful and effective in helping me serve the needs of that family. I also became aware that losing my parents has been used to help me empathize with others.
I’m learning still—still growing at almost 62, and I cannot go for a day without being in God’s Word. It’s the first thing I do when I wake up and the last thing I do before I go to sleep. When I break from that, I notice, and there’s a palpable need that I miss. I’ve also been convicted/burdened with a need to be in community with other believers- men who sharpen each other (as iron sharpens iron). I’m continuing to build a circle of brothers in arms, locking shields together and asking God to show me opportunities to serve Him with the gifts he’s given me.