Who do you worship?

Bel bows down; Nebo stoops;
their idols are on beasts and livestock;
these things you carry are borne
as burdens on weary beasts.

Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
all the remnant of the house of Israel,
who have been borne by me from before your birth,
carried from the womb; even to your old age I am he,
and to gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear;
I will carry and will save.
(Isaiah 46: 1, 3-4 ESV)

I love how Isaiah describes the difference between worshiping an idol and worshiping the one true God.  While the idols must be carried by their worshipers, the God of Israel carries His people.  There’s just something quite touching in reflecting upon that statement.

The difference highlights and points to the difference between the many religions of the world and Christianity in our time today.  While most religions would have us working and serving a deity in order to gain divine approval, Christianity is unique in that God, out of grace, serves us.  We cannot earn his love, but rather God, out of His love for us, transforms and enables us to enjoy His presence.

We do not carry God as if He needs us,
but rather God carries us because we need Him.
The LORD is a God who is able and willing to serve us
out of the abundance of His great love for us.

So Isaiah appears to be telling his audience, in light of such great truths:
why worship an idol that must be carried when you have a God who will carry you?

Why seek approval and blessing from anything other than God, when God is far better?

Accepting Correction

Listen to advice and accept correction,
    and in the end you will be wise.” (Proverbs 19:20 NCV)

Medical school is a rough journey to go through.  In addition to the large volume of information that the educational system throws at you, the pacing at which the information is delivered feels haphazard.

Imagine having a six course meal where the host expects you to eat everything in one night and the time between one course and the next is very short.  You barely have enough time to finish one course before the next one is served.

Not only are you expected to finish the meals on time, but while you are eating and digesting the meals, you are also expected to serve meals of your own to other people.  Understandably your skills in serving meals to others will not be up to par as you are still learning.  That does not stop the customers from complaining of the quality of your meals though.

It is with this context in mind, that medical school can feel overwhelming.  As I’m learning how to be a good physician, it can feel discouraging to receive feedback from my standardized patients about how I need more practice on my skills in physical examination.  I’m doing my best to absorb all the new information that I can about the human body, maintain my devotions with the Lord, and studying for the tests and projects that I seem to have every week or every other week.

I often feel that even with the effort that I put into my schoolwork, it still does not add up to much.  I already know that I am lacking in my expertise, but to have my standardized patients vocalize what I already know makes my experience worse.

But through the lens of faith, I have to understand this experience as ultimately being for my good.  No one likes criticism, even if it is constructive.  But perhaps God means to use this experience to humble me, to keep me from being conceited, to keep me from relying on myself.  Instead of relying on my self-sufficiency, I need to always look to God for support.  I need to set my hope on Him.

I need to gladly accept the bitter medicine of correction and trust in the Lord and the means that He ordains for me to improve my performance and ultimately improve my service for others for His name’s sake.