I had dinner with a surgeon a few weeks ago. No, I’m not dropping names. Instead, I’m dropping one of the stories he shared and hope you will pick up the same thing as I did that evening: greater amounts of faith.
My parents invited me over to dinner to meet Grace and Dr. Moses while they were here visiting from Uganda. Grace is the Director of Christ Aid and her husband runs the clinic they recently opened.
I can guess at what you’re thinking because it probably parallels my first misconception as I envisioned a make-shift clinic in the middle of nowhere with a poorly trained staff. Let’s put that idea on a shelf for a while as reality unfolds in its place.
You see, Dr. Moses once was a surgeon in Kampala, Uganda, a booming metropolis that is home to over a million people. It wasn’t until Grace and Moses decided to join the ChristAid staff that they returned to a village. But although Moses left the big city, his reputation and name continued to float through the packed streets of Kampala.
Speaking of packed streets, that’s exactly the reason for one man’s injuries. He was riding a motorcycle of sorts in those crowded streets and had a horrible accident. He was taken to the largest and most expensive hospital in Kampala. Doctors attempted to figure out how to help him, but they were unsure what the best treatment would be. Frustrated and concerned that he wouldn’t survive, his family transported him to the second best hospital in the area.
The medical care at that hospital also has a good reputation, but the man’s injuries were so severe that the doctors there weren’t confident on how to proceed.
“I know exactly who can help him,” a doctor told his family. “There is a Dr. Moses who has a small clinic. He is a skilled surgeon. He’ll know what to do.”
Although it sounds counterintuitive, his family moved him once again, this time leaving the big city and its sophistication.
“He had so much cerebral-spinal fluid draining out of his ears,” Dr. Moses said, “that I didn’t know if he was going to make it, or if he did, if he’d ever walk again.”
I’m not going to try telling you exactly what Dr. Moses said because I promise I’ll mess up the details, but here are the parts I remember with certainty:
Dr. Moses got the man stabilized and managed to get the fluids to stop draining. Then, he prayed.
No, not one of those, “dear God, what do I do?” prayers lasting a couple milliseconds. We’re talking days.
Remember the frustrated family? Well, they weren’t too pleased with the wait on God mentality, at least not if God wasn’t delivering answers in minutes or hours.
“But God hadn’t shown me what to do yet, so we kept praying,” Dr. Moses said quietly. “It wasn’t until we fasted three days later that God showed me what to do.” With the exact steps firmly in his mind, the good doc raced to the clinic, leaving at 2 am while Grace continued praying, as is her tradition whenever he performs an operation.
In the theater.
“I raced to the clinic and prepped him and took him into the theater.”
“I was in the theater all day.”
“Um, when you say ‘theater,’ are you referring to an operating room?” my brother-in-law asked.
“Yes, yes of course,” Dr. Moses replied, a small grin spreading across his face.
As a young man, Moses decided to become a doctor to help save lives. As he excelled in his studies and practice, he went on to become a surgeon–or more accurately, he embraced God’s call to neurosurgery.
It makes absolute sense that the place where he most lives out his call is referred to as the theater. I’d assume the man’s family was there and I guarantee they wanted him to make it through the surgery, as did Dr. Moses. But his focus wasn’t on them and not even on him. Instead, it was on the One who had shown him so clearly what to do and on letting Him continue to guide and direct.
And in that operating room of a theater, Dr. Moses once again did a performance of sorts–a performance that reminds that our God is real. Personal. And oh, so able.
Dr. Moses has a camera in his theater and records all of the surgeries he performs, including that one that began in the wee hours of the morning and ended late in the afternoon. If he hasn’t yet, I’m sure the man who was operated on will watch that video, for he is expected to make a full recovery (which if you ask me is Emmy-award winning theater stuff).
So, I ask you the two questions I haven’t been able to stop asking myself:
- Are you willing to wait? No, I mean really, really wait. To dive in deep in prayer and petition to let God’s truth ring out, even when it isn’t the proper or politically correct thing to do.
- Where is your theater? What are you doing there to use the gifts God has given you?
If you’d like more information on ChristAid, check out their website. The clinic is so new that it isn’t on the website yet, but you’ll find ways to sponsor a child, a grandma, or make donations to help buy medical supplies for Dr. Moses’ clinic.