Sunday afternoon, we proudly traveled to the campus of UAB (University of Alabama–Birmingham) for my daughter-in-law’s white coat ceremony signifying her immersion into the rigors of medical school. There we learned a doctor’s white coat was first used to signify cleanliness and purity in an age when the knowledge of bacteria was still an infant. Later, its many pockets became handy storage units for medical instruments, notepads and patient information. Today, the white coat is an esteemed symbol easily identifying the person underneath as a physician. As each student donned their white coat, the mantle of learning and compassion was placed upon them.
Dr. Waid Shelton, one of the seasoned white-coated ones, issued a challenge to this new class of soon-to-be physicians. He reminded them to remain grateful for the many teachers, parents, family and friends who had supported them in the pursuit of their dream. He encouraged them to have empathy for those who would become their patients by putting themselves in their patients’ shoes. He also charged them to remain humble as their scientific knowledge grew, thereby enabling them to become instruments of healing. Dr. Shelton pointed out, “Nothing will separate you from your patients and their families more than arrogance”.
As I watched the white coats being slipped over so many shoulders I thought of Romans 13 where it says we are to be clothed with Christ. After putting on Christ, we are to represent His purity to a sick world. We are to carry with us the knowledge of God and become His instruments of healing. With Christ as our adornment, our actions should cause us to be recognized easily as someone who spends time with the Great Physician.I need to remember to be grateful for the sacrifice that was made for me and the many, many blessings that have come my way. If I am to share the wonder of God’s blessings with those around me, I need to put myself in their shoes and remember how desperate life can be without Him. But more than anything, as I learn what it means to be clothed with Christ, I need to empty my selfish pride and be filled with His Spirit. Nothing will separate me from those who don’t know Jesus more than arrogance.
Psalm 119 has been on my heart this week. Take some time to read it before you go to sleep tonight. It is long, but so worth the time. Verses 73-77 remind me of the mantle of learning and compassion I am challenged to eagerly accept.
“With your very own hands you formed me; now breathe your wisdom over me so I can understand you. When they see me waiting, expecting your Word, those who fear you will take heart and be glad. I can see now, God, that your decisions are right; your testing has taught me what’s true and right. Oh, love me—and right now!—hold me tight! just the way you promised. Now comfort me so I can live, really live; your revelation is the tune I dance to.” – Psalm 119:73-77, The Message