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WIMD Pulse - March 2012

A Perfect Leader
By Amy Givler, MD

“God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory.
And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation”
(Hebrews 2:10, NLT).

What is it to be a leader? I don’t see myself as a natural leader, but whether I like it or not, my job makes me a leader. As a doctor I am leading each of my patients to a life, we both hope, of better health.

This week I saw a patient who missed her last appointment. It turns out she had travelled five hours away to see a specialist who ordered the tests I already did, performed a biopsy and then gave the same diagnosis I gave her. She has multi-nodular goiter, one of those annoying conditions we see so often in family medicine for which there is no cure. We doctors simply know about it, follow it and treat any symptoms that crop up. Even though I’ve told her this, she is preparing to travel two hours away to see yet another specialist.

I started to feel myself getting huffy because my opinion was being slighted, so I silently (and desperately) prayed, “Lord, what does this woman need?” My huffiness melted and I saw her as not only needing medical care but also emotional care, and ultimately spiritual care. “As your doctor I’m trying to look at you as a whole person,” I said, “to step back and get a wide perspective.” She nodded, so I added, “I think a key problem here is anxiety.” Her eyes welled with tears, and we were then able to talk about how this condition has shaken her – it’s not something she can control. We were even able to discuss her relationship with God, and her need to trust God with her health and with her life.

A leader helps move a person forward. Jesus was a leader – a perfect leader, according to Hebrews 2:10. Jesus doesn’t just comfort me in my distress. Through His suffering, He became fit to bring me along on the path to salvation. I want to do more than just comfort; I also don’t want to leave my patients in the mire. A leader points the way out.

I may not be able to offer my patients a cure, and sometimes there’s not much I can do to relieve their pain though I try hard to do so. But I can point them to a better way of coping. I can help them view their health in broader terms – that they are more than simply bodies. Their inner selves may need healing even more than their outer selves. I want to be following Jesus so closely that I’m nourished myself, thus enabling me to be alert for needs I can meet in others.

Prayer

Precious Father God, thank you for sending your Son to blaze a trail for me, your child, to be able to come to glory. Please strengthen me now for the tasks you have planned for me to do today. Even as you made your Son fit to lead, please make me fit to lead. Thank you for your love and grace which nourish me. Amen.