The Fastest Doctor

The man was nervous as he waited in the doctors office.  The room was cold and the gown was loose and drafty, not to mention way too small.  It's so vulnerable to sit in a strange office and bare all your hurts and pains to them.  It's scary to admit you need to change, but he knew he needed too.  And besides all that,  this surgeon came highly recommend from his hometown doctor.  He had been assured that this was the way to go, the best way to fix what was wrong.

Harold didn't really understand what was wrong though.  That was the thing.  He understood that he didn't feel like he used to, back when he was younger.  He had a harder time getting around, wore out easily.  He had been sick before, but always recovered pretty quickly. But the things he always did didn't seem to help this time.  In fact they seemed to make it worse!  Not to mention how hard a time he had understanding things now a days.  This doctor wanted to do a consultation over a video chat. He had refused to do it.  No sir, no way.  Some things were just meant to be done face to face.  Technology makes things so complicated!  He missed the good old days when things were simple.  He didn't have to work to understand the world around him then, he was a product of it.  But that world was long gone unfortunately.  But he wasn't going to let it go so easily.

The doctor walked in the room in a hurry, without knocking or anything else.  He didn't really introduce himself so much as talk about how smart he was, pointing to his degrees on the wall.  Harold thought that had to count for something. Nobody with that much education could be very stupid, right?

The doctor quickly got on with his exam, quickly going over his chart and asking Harold a few questions.  How long had he had this problem?  How bad was the pain?  Is he sure he wanted to have this procedure?  Who recommended him?  All these questions and the others asked were in his chart?  The doctor had glanced at it but didn't really seem interested in learning about Harold, just in getting the procedure scheduled.  Harold's wife Carol and daughter Jennifer were in the room with him, and he hadn't even acknowledged them.  Family meant nothing to him I guess.

Harold reached over to his pants and got out the piece of paper he had wrote his questions on.  He started to ask them, and the doctor grabbed it from him, crumpled it, and threw it in the trash!  He was so mad!  The doctor, laughing, assured him that he knew just what was wrong with Harold and how to fix it. Before Harold could ask a question, he grabbed a book off the shelf and began reading out loud the symptoms Harold had.  The problem was clear as day he said, and this procedure was how to do it.  Years of neglecting the daily habits of healthiness had left Harold's body in a mess, but the doctor assured him he could fix it.  Fix it in record time even.  A few changes to daily practices, to habits of life, and he would back healthy in no time.   The doctor said he didn't need to know Harold's family history, or anything else like that.  He was concerned about the future not the past.

The doctor excused himself from the room, saying he needed to call a colleague.  Did he need a consultation, asked Harold?  Of course not, he snorted, he knew what was wrong.  He just wanted to tell his friend how quickly he got the diagnosis, before his friend would have got it for sure!

But these were drastic changes!  Harold had spent a life time living this way, just like his father had, and grandfather before him.  And he wasn't going to let some young know-it-all come in and boss him around.  The doctor had not been concerned about his family, his past, or even really it seemed in his future.  The doctor was most concerned with being right, and letting others know that he was right!
Putting his pants back on, Harold decided he wasn't going to change if it meant listening to a punk like that!

Change doesn't come easy, and it sure doesn't when someone is in a hurry for you to do it.


While this story is fictional, I know too many like it.  But the culprit most often is pastors.  We have a tendency to think that we can spot a church's problems a mile away. And if they will only listen too us, and make the changes we suggest, we can flip that church around in no time.

But churches are not problems to be solved.  They are made up of people with histories, with stories, with hurts and pains, and joys and triumphs.  I too have been guilty of the arrogance, particularly the arrogance that comes with youth.  If people would only listen to me, I could fix it.  I could make it better.

Thankfully God has not taken the same stance with me that many of us do with churches and people.  He does not give up, he does not leave us.   He stays with us when we cling to the past, when we agonize over our hurts, and when we think our triumphs are due to our own ingenuity.

As an undershepherd, I pray that I have the patience with my church that God has with me.  Change comes slowly.  Don't forget that.


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