The Pursuit of God

Serious Topics for Serious Christians

Doctors in the End Times: Dealing with Plagues

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Realizing that a Supernatural Being has the power to seriously harm us is what motivates humans to start paying attention to that Being and consider seriously submitting to Him.  As the Creator and Controller of all that exists, God is quite capable of harming us.  But if you look around in the world today, do you see a bunch of humans expressing sincere respect for God?  No, you see a bunch of humans scoffing at the whole notion of God, mocking His Person, and trying to provoke Him into warring with them.  God’s purpose in terrifying humans during the end times will be to motivate them to improve their spiritual response to Him.  God always has a spiritual agenda behind what He does with us.

Now when you’re a doctor who has been taught to take an atheistic approach to medicine—meaning that you’re all about the science and totally discounting supernatural involvement—you’re not used to thinking of God as intentionally inflicting your patients with ailments.  And if you’re honest, you don’t really want to view God this way, because it makes you uncomfortable.  After all, if God would do such nasty things to your patients, what’s to stop Him from doing them to you?

Many non-Christians feel that there are only two ways to view God’s involvement with evil: either He’s not involved at all, or He’s randomly nailing people for no reason.  Among Christians, the common view is that if God is making someone suffer, He must be angry with them.  And yet the truth is that none of these views are correct.  While God is intimately involved in all forms of human suffering and diseases, God is not causing people to suffer out of indifference or boredom or malice.  God has many positive reasons for causing humans to suffer in various ways, and understanding this will go a long ways towards helping you better manage your own stress during the end times.

If you think you’re in demand now—just wait until the end times start.  Trained medical personnel are going to be in very high demand once God starts getting violent, and doctors are not going to be able to keep up.  This period is going to really test your personal boundaries, and you are going to have to learn how to make peace with the fact that you are a limited human being, not a machine.  If you make it your mission to help every victim in a disaster zone, you’re only going to drive yourself into a nervous breakdown.  One man can’t drain an ocean, and you’re not going to be able to help everyone who you wish you could help.  Now is the time to take an honest look at how well you are managing the stress of medical work and identify your personal weak points.  How good are you at dealing with losing a patient?  Do you understand that God is the One who controls when people die, or do you find yourself trying to take responsibility for life and death when God takes one of your patients on to the next life?  Doctors work hard to prolong life, not extinguish it, and it’s very difficult to work hard at something only to feel like you’ve failed.  And yet someone else’s death is never a failure on your part, because God has not put the power of life and death in your hands (see Dealing with the Death of a Patient: Help for Christian Doctors).

During the end times, you are going to have a lot of patients die on you.  Knowing this up front gives you the chance to ask God for any guidance He wants to give you on how you can improve your personal response to losing patients.  By equipping you with medical skills, God has positioned you to be a major blessing to a lot of people during this period, and the better you are at winging it with little or no supplies available, the better off you’ll be.  If you’re rusty with basic emergency care, now would be a good time to start refreshing your memory.  We’re going to be seeing a lot of overcrowded emergency shelters that are running out of supplies, and there will be a high demand for every level of medical skill, from basic wound care to complex surgeries.  Times of crisis bring out the best and worst in humanity—as a doctor you will have a fabulous opportunity to remind us all what the best can look like.

PLAGUES

God is going to be unleashing many kinds of plagues during the end times.  This is one of those unpleasant realities that no one enjoys thinking about, but God doesn’t tell us grim news without some positive purpose.  So what’s positive about plagues?  Well, when you’re in the medical field, you are the guy who everyone expects to come up with explanations and answers when plagues start happening.  The purpose of this post is to help you understand what God does and doesn’t expect from you in plague situations.  Also, when God gives you forewarning about this kind of thing, He is helping you spend less time in shock.  Remember that when God talks about negative events in your personal future, His purpose will be to help you handle those events better by arming you with information that will help you stay calm and focused on the things that really matter.  How many patients you lose in a day is not what matters.  Pleasing God is what matters, and God is very easy to please, even in the midst of plagues.

So, as a doctor, what really spikes your stress level in times of crisis?  Not having supplies and not understanding exactly what is causing your patients’ ailments so that you can effectively help them.  But now let’s dig deeper: why are these things so distressing?   What is your personal motivation for wanting to help your patients?  This may seem like an obvious question, but doctors have very different reasons for panicking when they can’t find answers. For some, the underlying problem is that they are trying to carry the God-sized responsibility of preserving life and preventing suffering—both of which are tasks which no human is equipped to handle.  For others, the desperate need to have answers is motivated by an intense fear of looking like a failure to others.  For still others, their need to cure every patient is their way of trying to cope with a personal trauma in their own life.  For example, after watching his own sister and mother die of cancer, John decides to become an oncologist.  John has not processed the trauma of losing two women who he dearly loved—instead, he is trying to cope with the trauma by saving every patient who comes to him.  When John hits a wall in treating his own patients, he starts panicking and feeling like he’s losing his mother and sister all over again.

Going into the medical profession as a means of trying to cope with personal trauma is a lot more common than many realize, and if this is what you’re doing, there is an urgent need for you to be honest about this with God and ask Him to help you process your own grief.  If instead you try to buck up and persevere through an onslaught of dying patients, your own unresolved traumas are going to cripple you in the midst of the chaos.  It’s much better to start dealing with these issues now, and you need to bring God into it, not just try to handle it on your own.  When God brings heartache and grief into our lives, He does so for the purpose of drawing us closer to Him.  If instead we try to distance ourselves from God and pretend that we can press on without Him, He will only find new ways to increase our stress levels.  Whenever you’re feeling stressed, the most productive thing you can do is talk to God and ask Him to help you learn everything He wants to teach you through the negative circumstances.

Now during the end times, the kinds of plagues God will roll out will vary drastically and they’ll be focused on different targets.  Some will affect animals, others will affect people.  Some will only affect certain age groups.  Others will affect all ages, and they’ll spread in a very random pattern.  Some plagues will result in instant death, while in other cases, death will occur in a matter of days or hours.  The symptoms will be often be very dramatic and impossible to explain.  But in every situation, the plagues will be very controlled, and often they will not last long.  They will suddenly start, spread swiftly, then suddenly stop.  A good precedent here is Yahweh’s famous ten plagues on Egypt.  When everyone suddenly became covered with boils, did they remain that way forever?  No.  The plague suddenly began, then it suddenly stopped, and the boils were gone.  In the case of the last plague—the death of all firstborn males—death came suddenly, the death toll was shockingly high among both humans and animals, but then the whole thing was over after one night.  Every firstborn in Egypt did not continue to die from then on.

If you’re going to remain calm in the face of these things, you need to see them as the controlled events that they are.  You also need to realize that you are not the one controlling them—no human is.  These plagues won’t begin as the result of human terrorist acts.  In some cases, God will warn people ahead of time, just as He warned the Egyptians through Moses.  In some cases, God will link a specific plague to a specific rationale—just as He told the Egyptians that the reason they were getting hammered with boils was because God was ticked at them for refusing to release their Hebrew slaves.

So if God is intentionally rolling out a plague which He is not giving you control over, then what does He expect from you?  His convictions will vary.  Sometimes He will direct you to try and help the people who are being negatively affected.  Other times He is going to tell you not to attempt to help people.

Every human has their own relationship with God.  You are not responsible for how other humans are responding to God—you’re only responsible for your own soul choices.  You need to view the end times as an opportunity for you to grow closer to God.  You need to view each medical crisis that comes your way as another opportunity to honor God by depending on Him to guide you through it.  Moral dilemmas will abound in the medical field, and there will be many opportunities to try and profit off of other people’s misery.  For example, suppose you are a plastic surgeon and God suddenly fixes it so that certain people end up with half of their faces horribly disfigured.  The disfigurement happens instantly, and suddenly there are scores of people who are afraid to be seen in public because they don’t want others to see what God did to them.  Now there you are: a plastic surgeon who is suddenly getting a bunch of calls from people who are desperate for you to fix their faces for them.  Maybe you can, maybe you can’t, but you could really make a lot of money trying because these people are willing to pay anything.  Before you start raising prices and booking surgeries, you need to ask God for wisdom.  After all, it’s His plague, and you don’t know why He’s targeting certain people, but He obviously has His reasons.  Before you go barging in trying to play the hero and arrogantly assuming that you’ll be able to reverse what God has done, you need to ask Him if you have His permission to wade into those particular waters.  In real life, this sort of thing is actually going to happen, and certain doctors are going to ignore the convictions God is giving them and let their greed overtake them.  As a result, those doctors are going to find God mutilating them in ways that no one can fix.  You see, this isn’t a period of time in which you want to be blowing God off.  He is going to be less patient with rebellion during the end times, and as He’s giving you an eyeful of just how powerful He is, you should know better than to try and profit off of His actions in some secret treatment room (see Divine Judgment in the End Times: Dealing with a Less Patient God).

Now when God comes up with some freakish problem, naturally the medical community will go scrambling for logical answers.  In many cases, there won’t be one.  As a doctor, you need to give serious thought about where you’re personally at with the issue of God’s sovereignty.  Does an all-powerful God always have to act in logical ways?  Is God hampered by the natural laws that He created?  How are you going to respond when God pitches some curve ball at you and everyone’s dropping over in hospital beds while the staff gets bleary eyed and sleep deprived trying to find answers?  Are you going to be one more jerk who is yelling at everyone and demanding that they come up with cures that don’t exist?  Or are you going to look at the big picture and realize that no one is going to find cures or causes without God revealing those things to them?  When God does provide a cure, are you going to be praising humans for their brilliance or are you going to be thanking God for His mercy? You see, God doesn’t owe any of us good health.  When He dishes out plagues, He’s not being a jerk, He’s exercising one of His many prerogatives as God Almighty.  Humans are quite literally God’s property.  He created us, He sustains us, and He gets to do whatever He wants with us.  Now is the time to give serious thought as to how well you’re doing at treating God like God.  Do you start griping whenever He steps beyond the narrow parameters you’ve put on Him?  Have you decided that He owes you explanations and justifications for the things He does which you don’t like?

As a doctor, you’re going to be a firsthand witness to how gruesome the fallout of God’s destructive miracles can be.  When the injured are pouring in, what is going to be your personal attitude towards God?  Are you going to be quietly cursing at Him for being so cruel?  Or are you going to be asking Him to help you accept your place as a dot of a creature who doesn’t get to tell your Creator what to do?  Certainly God wants you to be honest with Him about your struggles with what He’s doing.  But He is also going to be reminding you that as God, He gets to do whatever He wants and He’s going to be telling you to submit to His Authority. Submission is a soul attitude which says: “You’re the Boss—what You say goes.  Have Your way in my life.  Pleasing You is more important than pleasing myself.”

While you might feel you went into the medical field for reasons that had nothing to do with God, He has been intimately involved in every moment of your life.  You didn’t become a doctor by accident or by your own choice.  God is the One who decides who will graduate from medical school, who will drop out, and who will never get in.  Because there is going to be so much carnage during the end times, and such a desperate need for medical help, God has positioned you to serve Him in ways that can greatly benefit many people.  But far more importantly, your service as a doctor has the potential to benefit you in your own walk with God as you view each patient and each challenge as another opportunity to grow closer to Him.

No one practices medicine alone.  God guides your hands, your mind, and your decision making process.  He brings people across your path at precise moments in time for very strategic reasons—to impact both them and you in personal ways.  With God there is always something new to learn, and viewing the world from a medical perspective can help you appreciate the wonder of God’s power and creativity to a much greater degree than someone who has never looked through a microscope, listened to a heartbeat, seen an x-ray, or probed internal organs.  The human body is a miraculous world—a universe all its own, with endless secrets to tell.  When you treat a patient, you are physically interacting with one of God’s masterpieces: a physical product of His infinite genius.  Don’t view the end times as some miserable war that you’re getting dragged into.  Instead, view it as the invitation that it is: an invitation from God for you to join Him on a wild adventure which will expand your imagination, challenge your skills, and greatly deepen your reverence for the Creator of Life.

FURTHER READING:
Thriving in the End Times: Guidance for Doctors
Dealing with Death: Eight Lies that Keep Us Stuck in the Past
Overcoming the Guilt of Failing to Protect
Help For Murderers: Finding Peace With A God Who Loves You
Destruction in the End Times: Respecting Ownership
Understanding Why God Calls Us to Serve Him
Soul Before Earthsuit: Understanding God’s Priorities

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