I just want to relay a brief story regarding the oral board exam I took last week. It starts 7 years ago after my surgery rotation as a medical student. A very well-respected, yet harsh and cynical surgeon took me into his office and told me that I did not have what it takes to be a surgeon and that I should pursue another specialty. This tore a big hole in what I thought were my God-given dreams of becoming a missionary surgeon in Africa. I went home and found comfort in Ephesians 3:20 where I saw that God could do immeasurably more than I could imagine through Christ's power in me. It was a short encounter with this surgeon, but one that has raised its head at times of doubt since then, and I have found myself having to come back to that verse again and again.
That surgeon retired shortly thereafter, and I know he doesn't remember me or the advice he gave me. I thought about writing to him after finishing residency earlier this year to "show him" that I had made it despite his advice. I'm glad I didn't. During our orientation last Monday of "how to take the Oral Boards" the person orienting us said, "...and in some of your rooms there will be an extra person...he is there just to make sure things are fair, etc." Well, lo and behold, against all odds, it was this same surgeon, and he was in my room during my exam!
In many ways I know that this surgeon was right - I DON'T have all that it takes to be a surgeon, but I also know that God's strength is demonstrated in our weakness.
By God's grace I passed the exam. I feel that having this surgeon there (unknowingly) presiding over me successfully completing the final step to becoming a certified surgeon was a gift from God to bring closure to the era of his voice echoing in the back of my head. It has also been a reminder that "it is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man." (Psalm 118:8)