“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”
Called to be a doctor!
I wasn’t born in an Adventist family, but soon my parents became Seventh Day Adventists when I was about 9 years old. I was taught the Bible right from early days. During my school days we were taught Daniel and Revelation and the other teachings of the Bible. From childhood, I had been a good boy, kept myself away from many bad things. I knew the truth and the true God but I did not have an intimate relationship with God. Then I got a series of DVDs on ‘Revelation of Jesus Christ,’ which were very interesting. I learned that God is in control of all things in this world and that He loves every individual and longs to manifest Himself to them. I was taught that Jesus would have died on the cross even if there were only one sinner in the world. This was the start of a wonderful relationship with Him. I realized that God not only told us to do things, He gave power to do those things as well. 1 Corinthians 15:57 “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” was a key text in helping me understand that Victory is a gift from God. I started asking God for small things and in all those things, I could see that He was ever willing to help. I soon realized God’s love for me and started spending more time with Him through studying the scriptures. I had decided that i would spend at least an hour each day studying about God and His Word. This was probably one of the best decisions I had made in life.
At the same time, there were many expectations from my parents and others that I should do well in my 12th board exam and get the highest marks in my college. I had not worked so hard that I really could live up to it. So I submitted myself to God, telling Him my desires and asking from Him what I wanted. I had asked that He should give me at least 95 in Physics, Chemistry and Biology each. I said that I wouldn’t mind if he gives me more if He thinks that I deserve more but that He should give me at least 95 because I have asked Him. I also asked God to give me the highest marks in college. I experienced God’s guidance and intervention during my exams. When the results were out, I got 95 each in Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Not one mark more, because I did not deserve but not one mark less because I had asked. Moreover, God gave me the highest marks in my college just one mark more than my friend who came second. I could see that all this was not an accident.
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened”
I could testify that victory is truly a gift from God. Then I gave the entrance exam for the MBBS course, I was fully confident that God would give me the needed marks to get admission in a government medical college. God had done so many things that there was no reason to doubt. When the results were out, I was one of the few who got this privilege of getting admission for medicine in a government medical college. Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened”
God was doing so many things for me and I was amazed by His love for someone such as myself. God was working in me and was changing many things in life. Slowly my heart was moving away from many worldly things and I began to seek for that which is eternal. The conviction came upon me to honor God by keeping the Sabbath. Till I entered my medical course I was not keeping the Sabbath though I knew all about it. I never imagined that God would want me to leave my studies and college on Saturday and keep the Sabbath Holy. Now, I was deeply impressed by the Holy Spirit to obey God even in this respect. I tried to put if off but I couldn’t. I feared the consequences of obedience to the 4th commandment. So then, I prayed to God that I would keep just one Sabbath holy as the coming Saturday was a holiday. I told God that the following Sabbath, I would have classes and hence would get back to my studies. God had other plans. He somehow, gave me the courage and faith to obey Him and keep the Sabbath Holy. I started missing college and practicals and spent the time with God. He showed me that when we choose to obey God, He makes sure that He takes care of all the consequences. My decision was strengthened by God’s providence in changing important college exams falling on Saturday and I was overjoyed by what God was doing for me.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”
Then my first year University exams came and Physiology paper was scheduled on Sabbath. I thought that I would stand firm for God but my faith crumbled and I did not have the courage to take a stand for Him. I gave my exam on Sabbath. Nevertheless, God forgave me and our relationship did not change. He again was doing many things for me like changing college exams and so on and He lifted me up and my relationship with Him grew deeper. I began to understand the importance of relying on Him for help and strength. I learnt the most important lesson of relying on His strength on obey Him. Then during my 2nd year University exam, Pathology paper 2 was on Saturday. This time I did not try to stand by my own strength but learnt to lean on His strength and obey God. I knew that whatever God asked me to do, He would give me the strength and courage to bear the consequences. I missed my Pathology exam. All my friends thought that I was making a big mistake. Some thought I was crazy. Providentially, just one year back, a new rule was made in our university that those who do not clear any exam in the first attempt, have one more attempt to give the exam while they can move on to the next year. So I entered my 3rd year with Pathology remaining to be cleared from second year for which I had one more attempt. But I knew that Pathology exam would again fall on Saturday as our exam schedules are always fixed and they do not change. So when the exam timetable was displayed, I was not surprised to find that out that Pathology Paper 2 again was on Saturday. But there was a possibility that I could pass even without giving the exam on Sabbath by scoring very high in Pathology paper 1. This was an impossible task. My friends urged me to give the exam on Saturday. They told me that I could serve God better after I became a doctor. But I had learnt that it is more important to trust and obey God than anything else. So I had made my choice and God guided me through His Word. In order to pass in Pathology, we need 47 marks out of 94 including both the papers and the viva. But I had to score 47 out of 54 as I would not give the 2nd paper. God was teaching me to live by faith. Faith in the promise of His word, despite external circumstances. Specially during Pathology practical exam, God reminded me Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”
Then it was time for the results. Some of my friends had a meeting just one day before the results were supposed to be displayed. One of our professors was also with them and they discussed whether it would be possible for me to pass Pathology. They came to the conclusion that it was impossible and that I would fail. The next day, when the result was displayed, we came to know that 7 students had failed. We did not know who these students were but one of my friends said that I would certainly be one of the failures and that there was no need to even see my result. To everyone’s surprise, I was not among the ones who had failed. Everyone was shocked that someone could pass without even writing a paper. They could not deny that God was with me. So I continued my 3rd year and was involved more and more in church activities. I was less inclined to studies but I fulfilled my duty in college because I knew that God wanted me to do it. Part of the reason being that in my 3rd year, Ophthalmology paper was on Sabbath and I knew that it would always fall on Sabbath as that was the case since the time our university began. This time, there was no way of passing without giving the exam as there was only one paper for Ophthalmology and it was on Sabbath. My friends and even I thought that I would be left out in 3rd year forever. I could not see any way out of it. I thought that maybe God had other plans for me apart from being a doctor. I thought He might call me into full time ministry to which I was very much inclined, but deep down I knew that God wanted me to do studies faithfully. So I missed Ophthalmology exam on Sabbath and wrote the other exams. I would now move on to my final year with one attempt to clear any backlog though I knew that Ophthalmology would again fall on Sabbath. One day, a friend told me that I would be stuck with Ophthalmology forever! I simply replied that God would make a way even though I had no idea how. A few days later, we had our Ophthalmology practical exam and I did not attend the exam, because I knew that I would not clear ophthalmology, as I had not given the theory exam. It seemed as though I would be stuck in 3rd year MBBS for ever but on that same day, the very same friend who told me that I would never clear 3rd year called me and said that the exam schedule for Summer 2011 exams were put up and Ophthalmology exam was on Monday and not on Sabbath. There was no obvious reason for that. This was the first time in university that Ophthalmology exam was not on Saturday. All other exams fell on their specific days. God had worked out a way for me. God was my present help in trouble. He was my greatest encourager.
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
So we all entered final year and the results of the previous exams were out. I knew that I would not have a backlog of ophthalmology to write but to my surprise, I had also failed in PSM practicals. It was due to some events that had happened the day before our practical exams with the previous batch of students. It was very saddening at first but God was with me and He kept me going. It was His Word that was my strength and song. He always prepared me for everything He had in store for me. This was actually a blessing in disguise I believe, as it brought back my focus to my studies. I started spending much time in my studies which I had not done before. I was more active in doing things for God rather than allowing Him to do things through me. I began studying His Word more deeply and God taught me what it means to actually serve Him. In May, I cleared my Ophthalmology and PSM exams and was now about to give my final exam in December of 2011. I had never imagined that I would be with my original batch mates in writing the final exam. I could never see the way for me to be faithful to God in keeping the Sabbath while at the same time passing the exams. In fact, I had my own plans and was working towards them diligently, but the still small voice of God kept me in the right path all the way and His providence carried me through.
“And [though] the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This [is] the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left”
God had led me one step at a time. He brought me in touch with the right people at the right time. I can relate to these words found in Isaiah 30:20-21 “And [though] the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This [is] the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left”
Preparing to give the final exam in December was a different experience. This time Surgery paper 2 was on Sabbath and I wanted to know how God would take me through this. For a long time before the exams, I was hoping for an answer from God as to what He would do for me. But there was no answer this time. There was a silence from God. I would try to find out from God what would be the outcome of the whole thing. But God did not give me any answer. Then finally one day before surgery exam, as I was having my morning devotions, I got the answer. It was as if God assuring me that it would be a greater blessing for me to fail and stay behind my friends than pass the exam. He was giving me the reasons as to why this would be a greater blessing. My heart was comforted though I knew that I would have to go through some tough times. I was filled with joy when I went to write Surgery paper 1 on Friday, as I knew what God’s plan was. Practical exams were in January 2012 but before that God prepared me for what I was going to go through. He taught me through His people what true medical missionary work in action is. A few days I spent with my pastor. It was invaluable. He was an inspiration from childhood. God had used him once again to show me the love and sacrifice of our Savior for us. He used to call me a doctor right from school days. But even after I had joined the medical course, I never did see myself as a doctor. I was just waiting for a signal from God to quit my studies and do something for Him. But by now, I had realized that God had called me to be a doctor. When the results of our exams were out by February 2012, all my friends had got the title ‘Dr.’ I had failed and had to lag behind while they began their internship. It seemed as though, I would never complete my course as Surgery was scheduled on Sabbath the next time as well in May 2012. According to our university schedule, it would fall on Saturday over and over again. But there was some One greater than men, who had called me a doctor and He calls those things which are not as though they were.
“(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were”
When the results were declared, I had not only failed in Surgery but also in Obstetrics. It was a chastening from the Lord I believe and He knows how to keep me in check. It was again a blessing in disguise to keep me on the right track. All my friends started their internship and I had to write my exam in May. It would seem as though, it was a very hard time for me, but these months were some of the most wonderful months in my life, because I was under the direct training of God. The book Ministry of Healing was my textbook and God would lead me along every day in practical training. He gave me opportunities to share my faith with friends and reveal to them the amazing love and power of God. He put me in situations and circumstances where all these things were possible. The Lord God himself led me and this was the Higher education I longed for. I was getting the real perspective of being a true physician. So many things that I had neglected and overlooked were brought to my notice. I understood the joy of the LORD. I began to see God’s wisdom in the ways that He had led me. Truly my soul was satisfied even in drought. My experience in the following months could be summarized by this verse. Isaiah 58:10 “And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:”
I was still not sure, when I would finally be able to complete my course. The possibility of passing without giving surgery paper 2 was still there. If I would score really high in paper 1 and viva, I could go through just as God had helped me in Pathology. Though this seemed to be impossible, it was possible for God. My friends would come to me and say that I would go through this time, as they had seen God intervene so many times. In fact, instead of mocking me or reproving me, they would say that God was with me. I also knew that God would make a way, but I did not know how and when. But God had given me the assurance through Zechariah 4:6 “…Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” I did my best to prepare surgery and also had studied Obstetrics. Writing surgery paper 1 on Friday was probably the most taxing experience both physically and mentally. Though I had so much peace and calm it was somehow different. Before we could give our practical exams, the timetable was displayed for the winter 2012 examinations. Contrary to the usual schedule, Surgery paper 2 was not on Saturday. It was scheduled on Monday and Tuesday in Winter 2012 exams. I thanked God for this wonderful miracle. I was all the more amazed by His ways. My friends were happy for me and they too see God’s hand in all these things. Truly, it was not by might, nor by intelligence or talent, but God has done things such that He alone would get the glory. After the exams when the results were out it was a blessed experience to know that God finally accomplished His purpose in making me a doctor. We were all joyous and thankful to Him for all His wonderful ways. To add to it, God gave me the opportunity to have my convocation with my original batch mates. They had just completed internship while I had just started. It was a wonderful privilege. Surely, God gives the desires of the heart.
“And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them”
I am very thankful for the way He has led me. I could not have asked for anything better. He has led me to people who guided and inspired me at the right time. He led me to places and situations for me to learn. He has fed me with His heavenly bread in due season and most of all, He has given me the Comforter to be with me always and He has given me the desires of my heart. There are so many things I wish I had not done or done better but He has lifted me up every time. I would complete my course by the end of this year. I still do not know what He has planned for me but I can trust Him. He has led me step by step. I know that He gives the desire and the strength to do what He wants me to do. He has done what He has said in Isaiah 42:16 “And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them” His plans have always been better than my own. I could never have asked for anything better. What a privilege it is to be called to be a doctor! To follow Him in His footsteps and to be under the training of the Great Physician Himself!