Archive for November, 2008

The Human Yo-Yo

As I sit out here on the hard, brittle remains of the grass in our backyard, I am struck by the glory of God’s creation.

It all seems so remarkably simple – the sky is a wonderfully uniform azure that gradually fades into the orange sunset. An ibus appears overhead and quickly fades into the distance.

So simple, yet the world has a remarkable knack for complicating moments like these. The tranquility is tainted somewhat by the barking dog next door, the children talking loudly on the adjacent basketball court and the rock music eminating from a bedroom somewhere.

Anyways, there was a point to this entry, and it has surprisingly little to do with these things.

My fiancé recently dubbed me ‘the human yo-yo’.

‘Now isn’t that a little harsh?’ you say? Not so.

You see, we are in the last days… of the semester that is (we’re in the last days of the world too, but I’ll refrain from discussing eschatological theology here for the sake of brevity), and consequently the med world is suffering from a condition I like to call ‘med-o-pause’, characterized by hot flushes, palpitations, mood swings, irritability, and concentration problems.

Hmmm…reminds me of something.

Anyways, in keeping with the overall mood of the med school, I have spent the last few weeks of my life up and down, happy and then sad, elated and then depressed, all to the bewilderment of my ever-patient fiancé. There were times when I made Ted look like a court jester and Elliot Reid look like a Nepalese Monk (Scrubs fans nod their heads in affirmation).

Take today for example, The Fateful Day of the OSCE.

I began the day in high spirits. I read my Bible, prayed and rejoiced in the Lord and his glory. I made a resolution to honour God regardless of how my OSCE performance panned out, perhaps I’d even be able to mention my Christianity in the Learning Portfolio station! I got into my car, stethescope and clear plastic sleeve in hand, praying and singing. This was going to be a wonderful day.

Then the exam started.

The first few stations were *challenging*, but, ever the eternal optimist, I was sure I’d encounter some easier ones along the way.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

I’m convinced the medical school in its infinite wisdom, gathers up all the random, seemingly unimportant information from throughout the year and puts it all together for the end of year OSCE. Seriously, parts of the exam were so random I began to wonder if I’d inadvertently missed an entire semester worth of study without knowing.

So at the end, I dragged myself from the medical school, slipping furtively out of the model answer session at the end (seriously people, who wants to look at model answers 10 minutes after an exam that you’re pretty sure went down like a glass sandwich??! ‘Oh yes, I love pain, please, show me the answers I know I missed to satisfy my masochistic tendencies so I can go home and slip into a warm bath with a sharp razor’).

Anyways, I flopped on the couch, deeply depressed and stayed there most of the afternoon, only moving to cook an enormous pikelet that was burnt on the outside and still gooey on the inside, which I devoured covered in a river of maple syrup.

It all makes me think about the fickle nature of mankind. We humans are so fragile, so unable to cope with adversity (perceived or real) that we immediately abandon our most earnest, noble vows in the heat of the fire and crumble. Take the Israelites who were lead out of Egypt across the desert. The LORD, in his faithfulness, had just rescued Israel from the oppression of the Egyptians. Moses and Israelites sang songs of praise to the Lord:

1 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD :

       “I will sing to the LORD,

       For he is highly exalted.

       The horse and its rider

       He has hurled into the sea.

 2 The LORD is my strength and my song; 

He has become my salvation. 

He is my God, and I will praise him, 

My father’s God, and I will exalt him. (Ex 15: 1-3)

Yet, we see in chapter 16, on the ‘on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt’ (Ex 16:1), the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the LORD’s hand in Egypt! (vs 3) There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”

Mere weeks after the Israelites have been rescued, here they are grumbling and unbelieving.

So what does the Lord make of this?

“The LORD said to Moses, “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God.” (Ex 16:11-12).

The LORD responds to the Israelites unfaithfulness with mercy, demonstrating his steadfast faithfulness to his chosen nation in the face of sheer thanklessness and ingratitude. And, such a pattern is repeated time and time again in the history of Israel!

How often are we like the Israelites, forgetting God’s grace and blessings, testing God with our unbelief, dishonouring him when we find ourselves walking in the valley of the shadow of death (or merely on the receiving end of a particularly challenging OSCE). God is faithful, steadfast and true to his promises. Yet we have such a hard time (during hard times) remembering all that he has done for us.

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” (Eph 1:17-19).

If there ever was a greater cause for practicing contentment, I’d like to hear it!


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