“I would advise every Christian youth or young adult to take a similar course after graduating from high school or undergrad”
“…if we are not intentional about surrounding ourselves with the influences that we desire to inculcate into our lives at this crucial time in our development, we will develop unchristlike traits that we will later spend much time and effort seeking to remove”
“There is much to gain in seeking to obtain this essential training and much to lose in neglecting to secure a spiritual foundation before facing the realities of life”
The Best Educational Advice I’ve Ever Received
by: Janelle Louis
I’ve always wanted to be a doctor. On the island of Trinidad, at the age of six, I wrote my end-of-term paper on why I wanted to be a pediatric cardiologist and how I would be a help to others once a member of that profession. At that time, there was only one pediatric cardiologist servicing the entire country, and many children with congenital cardiac diseases who were not privileged to travel to America for the much-needed surgery ended up dying. My mother, privy to my desire to help these children, had taught me how to spell pediatric cardiologist just in time for my final exam.
Fully believing that it was God’s divine and providential will that I become an allopathic physician, I channeled my formal education toward that goal. As a junior in undergrad, I found out that the medical school of my choice accepted ͞exceptional students upon completion of their third year of college. Hopeful, I immediately began the application process.
Around that time, I met a physician who would be very instrumental in the furtherance of my medical and spiritual education. Knowing that I desired to also become a physician, he continuously encouraged me to remain faithful to God, as did Daniel, during my schooling and my future professional career. At that time, a completed application for my school of choice required three professional references, including at least one from a physician. Naturally, I asked him to recommend me to the school board.
His response was, I’ll write you a letter of recommendation, but you have to agree to go to a health and Bible training school for some time before matriculating to medical school. It’s your choice: you can defer your attendance for a year and train as a missionary, or, if you’d rather not, we can arrange a customized course for you at [the institution where he was then stationed] where we can cover basic physiologic principles and give you a Biblical foundation.
I agreed and he submitted my recommendation. At the end of the application process, however, I was not accepted. God had a different plan for me. Nonetheless, this rejection brought much disappointment and depression to me in the early stages of my Christian walk. Sometimes, we let our own wills and desires prevent us from seeing God’s providential leading and the beauty of His divine plan. God truly wants to do for, in, and through us more than we can think or imagine. Our limited understanding is not the standard by which He orders the events of our lives. At that time, however, I did not understand these things; I had not caught the greater vision. Perplexed and discouraged, I eventually decided to finish my degree and then take the doctor up on his offer. I enrolled in a short health evangelism program after graduation and then worked for about a year as a missionary before my actual enrollment in medical school. In retrospect, this doctor’s advice was the best educational advice I have ever received.
Whether you desire to go to college and pursue a professional career, to work as a full-time missionary, to learn and practice a trade, or to do some combination of these things, I would advise every Christian youth or young adult to take a similar course after graduating from high school or undergrad. Even if you are not yet sure what God would have you to do, I believe that attending such a school would be beneficial to you. The world is filled with influences that are targeted to shape and otherwise affect your developing character and worldview, and, if we are not intentional about surrounding ourselves with the influences that we desire to inculcate into our lives at this crucial time in our development, we will develop unchristlike traits that we will later spend much time and effort seeking to remove.
Obtaining a knowledge of the scriptures and the reasons for your faith will enable you, by the power of Jesus, to better resist the temptations and handle the difficulties that come with adulthood and the Christian life. You will be a more effective tool in God’s hand for reaching others wherever His providence takes you. If you attend a school that also focuses on health, your understanding of physiology will enable you to make better choices about how, what, and when to study, eat, and exercise for optimal health. Keeping our minds and bodies healthy and seeking to develop our talents and skills are God’s reasonable expectations as far as our service to Him is concerned (Romans 12:1,2).
In addition to these benefits, enrolling in such a program does much for the spiritual life. It helps you to grow spiritually and develop a character that will glorify God. It enhances your prayer life and your relationship with God. By communion with Him, you will also gain a clearer understanding of His divine will for your life. Such a program also encourages that spiritual maturation which enables the possessor to correctly face the trials and difficulties that come with a world of sickness and sin. It will deepen your sense of service and solidify your resolution to work for God while going about your everyday duties. It will help you to build on a solid foundation, and will lessen the power of circumstances to weaken your faith in God. Although the institution in which you enroll will not be perfect, if you purpose to accept every occurrence as God’s efforts to develop and bless you, He can use it as an instrument in the work of perfection that He is seeking to accomplish in your heart and life.
There is much to gain in seeking to obtain this essential training and much to lose in neglecting to secure a spiritual foundation before facing the realities of life. If you, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, are led to make this decision, you will undoubtedly be richly blessed.