"I Hope You Don't Kill A Lot of Your Patients!" (Ecclesiastes 12:14)

I had the opportunity to do a summer of research with a renown molecular biologist, between my junior and senior years in college. The summer began on a hopeful note. Early experiments were successful, setting the stage for my project that would require the entire three months. Unfortunately, this is when the problems began. The air conditioning in the laboratory failed leading to an oppressive heat. I could not repeat earlier successful experiments. And the preliminary results of my project were not progressing as expected. Finally, on the weekend before I was to complete the summer project, I ran one final experiment. If it worked, my entire summer would be a success, validating my arduous preparations. I set up the experiment on a Friday evening and anxiously returned the next morning only to discover the entire experiment was ruined. Frantically I reviewed my protocol and, to my horror, realized I incorrectly set the parameters of one of the the instruments. There was no way to salvage the project.

At that moment, I realized that only I knew the truth. I could simply lie and tell my professor that I didn’t know what happened. But I was a Christian, saved by God one year earlier. My life was different now and the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and convicted me of this sinful behavior. This was the first time I took a stand for God and obeyed His command. With great trepidation, I prayed and committed to informing my professor the truth about what happened.

Monday morning arrived and I stepped into to his office and shared the results of the failed experiment, owning up to my lack of oversight that led to the failure. The professor stared at me for a moment, looked away, then shook his head and looked at me again and uttered these stinging words,

“I hope you don’t kill a lot of your patients.”

I was stunned but had nothing to say. Hanging my head in shame, I mumbled, “Yeah. Hope so too.”

And that was it. An entire summer’s worth of research destroyed. I had hoped that by telling the truth, God would make everything smooth, that my professor would understand, that somehow he and I would figure out a way to salvage the experiment. Instead, I was delivered this stinging rebuke that still haunts me to this day.

For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.
Ecclesiastes 12:14 (ESV)

I am a physician today. Everyday I pray that my decisions are made with the patient’s best interests at heart. I continually ask God for guidance. But I am cognizant that I am human with my own set of weaknesses and if I do make a mistake, I ask for God to extend His mercy and grace to my patients. I can do nothing except to obey Jesus Christ and follow His commandments. I must stand for truth, even when the consequences are dire. And when I do, this does not guarantee that my life will be free of conflict or trials. But it does guarantee that God will continue to mold me and transform me into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.