How often do we feel discouraged by our inability to fix a problem or by our lack? It can sometimes seem like no matter what we do, it isn’t enough because we can’t “fix” a problem in the way we would deem our efforts to be successful. Maybe some of you right now feel discouraged with the spread of coronavirus and all of the uncertainties that come along with that. We can stay home to help prevent the spread of it, and we can do small things to help others, but we can’t wave a magic wand and make it all disappear.
Several people have expressed to me over the years that they feel discouraged or helpless about my situation because they can’t snap their fingers and give health back to me. Some have shared doubts of whether they could even impact my life for the better in any way at all because they felt like their contributions were so “small.”
It can be easy to feel small and insignificant, and we can find ourselves wondering how much of a change one person can really make when faced with situations of magnitude as well as with the monotony of day-to-day life. One person and one action can make a difference though. Our responsibility is to take the time to prayerfully reflect on what God is asking us to do, both in the big picture of our lives and in the seemingly mundane daily tasks. It’s God who then takes our small actions and multiplies them into something much bigger- something for His glory.
I’m working tirelessly to devise a solution that did not previously exist for my health situation. The work that I’m doing is beyond challenging, so it’s easy for me to become frustrated and discouraged. However, I see God giving me pieces of the puzzle and helping me to devise a solution. He uses a variety of methods to deliver messages, and often those messages come from other people in my life, sometimes in unexpected ways. It’s hard to put into words the layers of complexity of what I’m dealing other than to say that it feels like I’m putting together a 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of shades of white. I still have so far to go, but I could have easily gone my whole life without uncovering what I’ve uncovered in the past couple of years. Thank God for His grace!
No one can wave a magic wand and fix my situation, but I’m going to share examples of 4 people in my life who have impacted the research that I’m currently doing and therefore my healthcare just in the past year. Reflecting on how some of this has come about has helped me to see that God is working in my life in a variety of ways, sometimes through “back door” approaches.
1. This friend of mine has a background in science, but not in medicine or health care. She and I talk regularly, and God often speaks to me through her, as she is great at scientific reasoning and helps me to see the bigger picture in matters of biochemistry. Many of the connections I’ve made have come out of conversations with her. The type of work she’s in does not directly connect to the type of work that I’m doing, but she does what she can to help, and what a help that’s been!
2. Another friend of mine who I talk to regularly invited me to attend an event last summer. This friend does not have a connection to medicine or to the science field whatsoever, and neither did the event that she invited me to attend. However, one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle came from my attending that event, even though it had nothing to do with medicine or even science for that matter!
3. Next, I visited with a friend who I see from time to time. She used to be in health care but was then called to a different career. I was telling her about the connection I had made from attending the event (mentioned in #2), and she made a comment to me that stopped me in my tracks. This friend’s comment helped me make a connection I had been missing in my work on iron metabolism, and her comment was sparked by the event in #2!
4. Then, I spoke with a friend from back in the day who I hadn’t talked to in a while. She’s a health care professional, and some aspects of her career tie into specific parts of my work. She was doubtful that she could offer anything that would be of help to me, but she made a couple of remarks in passing that were exactly what I needed to hear and helped me to make other connections that I had been missing!
It’s 4 different scenarios, and 4 different dynamics of friendship, but all 4 of those people allowed the Holy Spirit to work through them. None of them are medical doctors, and one of them has no tie to science at all, but that didn’t matter because God had a plan. If the friend in #1 hadn’t tried to help because she felt like her work wasn’t related enough to make a difference, and if the friend in #2 hadn’t invited me to that event, and if the friend in #3 had kept that comment to herself since she had been out of the medical profession for several years, and if the friend in #4 hadn’t taken the time to catch up and listen to what I was working on, I would not have made the connections that I’ve made in the research this year. It all makes a difference. How amazing is God’s hand at work in the Body of Christ!
God takes our “little” and multiplies it. It’s a loaves-and-fish effect in which our “little” is enough because of God. We don’t have to do it all ourselves, and thank goodness, because that would be overwhelming and downright impossible. God does it, but He asks for our participation. He loves us and desires our involvement.
We have the free will to choose though. We can either shut down out of discouragement, or we can do as much as we are able to do, what we are called to do. It’s a decision we are faced with multiple times per day. Sometimes it is easy, but sometimes it is challenging when God is stretching us in a particular area. It’s often in those little things that nag at us where God is asking us to give and to grow. He is there at every turn though, offering abundant guidance, grace, and mercy. Occasionally we can see how our efforts are directly helpful, but often we can’t see that, so we must trust. Sure, sometimes we miss the mark thanks to our humanity, but it’s what we do next that counts. We can be on the lookout for the next opportunity to say yes to God and participate in His plan. We never know how God is using us!