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WIMD Pulse - April 2013

He Can Move the Mountain
By Jacqui O'Kane

February 13, 2010. Sandwiched between Georgia’s infamous statewide snow day and Valentine’s Day was a day that I will never forget. That dismal afternoon I received a letter from the dean of my medical school indicating that I was being “dismissed from the Class of 2012” and “invited to join the Class of 2013 in August.” Although I knew that I was in danger of such a pronouncement because I had failed two classes, the news was nonetheless devastating and unexpected.

My schedule suddenly went from being utterly full to desolately empty. Likewise, our bank account suffered a tremendous blow—I was no longer eligible to receive loans and the Air Force suspended my stipend for one year. My husband Stephen’s income would keep us going for a little while, but I knew that I needed a job, and fast.

At first I was eager to apply for jobs, assuming that my previous luck at finding great work would recur. But after several weeks of fruitless dawn-to-dusk job-hunting, the depression hit me full-force. Not only was I a failed medical student, but now I couldn’t even find temporary employment. Meanwhile, Stephen had to have surgery, and I was so despondent that I had difficulty taking care of myself, let alone him.

In other words, I needed a Savior. One who could move this mountain of misery that stood before me.

Although I knew Jesus quite well, I feared that this mess was my own doing, so He was going to allow me to suffer through it. Then one day I was having a picnic with a friend—something I wouldn’t have been able to do was I still in school—and a song I never heard before came on the radio. It went:

“So take me as You find me
All my fears and failures
Fill my life again
I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in
Now I surrender.”

I immediately identified with the lyrics and decided to adopt it as my theme song for that season in my life. Very shortly thereafter, I was driving around town playing “Mighty to Save” over and over again as I continued my job search. My last stop of the day was at a Kroger pharmacy, where I handed my résumé to an intriguing fellow named T.J. The moment I met T.J., I knew he was supposed to play a role in my life. However, I could have never guessed the depth of blessings that would flow from my knowing him.

A few weeks later, I became a pharmacy technician, working alongside T.J. I started hanging out with T.J. and his friends became my friends. At a time in which some of my own friends from school had abandoned me, I felt embraced by this new group. One day I confessed to T.J. that Stephen and I did not have a church home. He told me about his church, Epic Faith, and I thought it sounded interesting but probably not somewhere we’d belong. After all, we were raised Catholic, and I figured we’d either finally find a Catholic church that felt like home or else we’d go somewhere that resembled a Catholic church. When I initially told Stephen about Epic, he agreed that it would not be a good fit. But on October 31, 2010, Stephen decided that he would like to try Epic, and well...the rest is history/HISstory.

My academic struggles did not end in 2010. I very narrowly passed my repeated second year of medical school. In fact, I was told in March 2011 that I hadn’t passed and for one day I thought I needed to find a new profession. But God is faithful and indeed, mighty to save. By His grace, today I am a successful fourth year student, mother (our beautiful daughter Sophie was born August 1, 2012) and member of the Epic Faith community.

This adventure in medicine and faith has taught me to turn to the Great Physician at all times. Contrary to my initial fears, God does not want His followers to suffer alone. As I have learned at Epic, we are supposed to be in constant prayer, on our own with Him and with fellow believers. A strong Christian community is especially important to us as physicians (and doctors-in-training), as we cannot truly heal others without first being healed ourselves.

Now that I am almost done with medical school, I eagerly anticipate the next phase of my journey: family medicine residency at my first-choice program, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Although these next three years are bound to be challenging, I am confident that He who began a good work in me will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6). Come what may, my eyes are affixed on Christ, the Savior beyond the mountain!

We know that you cause all things to work
together for good to those who love you,
to those who are called according to your purpose.
Give us hearts of compassion, kindness, humility,
gentleness, and patience, bearing with
and forgiving one another,
So that we may be encouraged, building each other up
as we are already doing.
Help us to delight ourselves in you,
trusting that you will give us the desires of our hearts.
We know you have plans for us, plans for welfare
and not calamity, to give us a future and a hope.

Jacqui O'Kane has been a member of CMDA at the Georgia campus of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine for the last four years, served as a campus leader in 2009-2010 and went to Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 2010 and Tela, Honduras in 2011 with Global Health Outreach.