‘Cancer has returned’, ‘His organs have shut down and are failing’ – Words no one would want to hear in their lifetime. After much medical training and experience, the thought of breaking the bad news still gives me the heart-sinking feeling of defeat. Sharing much heartbreak, tears, and sadness with patients and their families is a huge burden to bear.
This negativity had started to impact my life, severely testing my faith and resolve at times. As a result, I had become cynical, burnt out and had lost much work satisfaction after facing these circumstances on repeated occasion. My church contributions and relationships suffered.
I used to question where God was in these scenarios as caring for such patients became a burden. Furthermore, the heavy work schedule and strict workplace contractual agreements meant praying or sharing with patients was restricted. At times I wished I was like ‘Peter Truong’ blessed with the gift of healing. Perhaps then the needy patients will not keep coming back but be miraculously healed.
I believe God spoke to me through a patient one fateful day. I had to deliver the bad news again, and this time, the patient was expected to suffer a painful and excruciating end. She was a lovely but frail lady, one who recognised that I was a Christ follower. To my surprise, the news did not shake her nor her family one bit. She said to me ‘Young man, we all only have one life to live, so finish your race and make it count; I have finished mine, and I am ready.’ That same night, God mercifully took her home to the horror of all the nurses and on-call doctors due to the suddenness of her passing. She had stared at death in the face and virtually said ‘Where, O death, is your sting?’ Indeed this woman had been victorious in her life through Jesus Christ, and I can only wonder how blessed she must have been to her Church, family, friends, and society.
I was touched that day and amazed at how God gave me a special word of encouragement that changed my view on life and perseverance. In turn, I was strengthened and more equipped to face further hardships that came with being an ambassador for Christ. Praise God for His healing and grace!
Brothers and sisters, I pray that you continue to invest in God’s Kingdom and His church and that you will find your peace and purpose. There is still a lot of people who need to know God’s love. Appreciate every moment of the journey called life but finish your race well and be ready when your time comes.
Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Justin F.S. Keasberry
General and Acute Care Medicine Specialist
Family 2C, Willawong Service