A Four-Year Worship Experience

Someone has said that undergoing healthcare training is like standing under a waterfall and trying to gather all the water.  With all the information, the best you can do is hold out your cup and collect what you can.

Because of the overwhelming amount of information, it’s helpful to have a larger framework, a compass to help you make sense of it all as you go.

At our recent CMDA National Convention, Dr. J. Scott Ries offered one of the best frameworks for medical school I’ve heard so far, calling it a potential “four-year worship experience.”

Year 1: learning about the wonders of the human body

Year 2: learning about what went wrong

Years 3 & 4: learning about mercy and redemption

When you put it like that, it sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it?  And yet, it’s very profound, a mirror of the story of what God has been up to ever since our first parents decided to go their own way.

When you expand the borders of the paradigm above beyond medicine, it looks like this:

Creation – God created the world, and everything in it, good (parallel to year 1; see Genesis 1-2)

Fall – human beings decided to take God’s place (sin), thereby corrupting all of creation (year 2; Genesis 3)

Redemption – Ever since, God has been redeeming His creation.  This process, partially-completed now, will be finished when Jesus returns (Genesis 3 – Revelation 22)

Because this creation-fall-redemption paradigm is so comprehensive, we can apply it to anything to get a basic understanding of what has happened, and will happen, in that area.  As an example, when we apply it to the area of law, it looks like this:

Creation – In the beginning, all of creation was governed by, and submitted to, God’s law.  God spoke to Adam and Eve, who were to rule creation on his behalf.

Fall – Satan (and the angels who joined him) rebelled against God’s spoken word (his law), seeking to set himself up as king in God’s place.  Adam and Eve joined in the insurrection, and ever since all of us have followed them in replacing God’s law with our own.

Redemption – God has graciously continued to speak to us, giving us his law so that we know what is right and wrong.  Although we don’t do it perfectly, he gives those who trust him power to keep his law.  When Christ returns, the entire universe will once again joyfully and completely follow God’s law forever.

This is not just an intellectual exercise, however.  As I talk to students I know, I’m aware that this post comes at an intense time.  Some of you are in the midst of exams.  Others have just finished and are feeling burnt out.  Still others are studying for boards or neck-deep in a demanding rotation.

I wish I could make it easier for you(!), but my ultimate goal with this post is to encourage you by reminding you that you’re part of something much bigger than what’s in front of you.  The hard work and exhaustion are worth it.  (Really).  You’re getting equipped to join with God in his project of redemption, and even now you have opportunities to partner with him in that work.  I pray that today will be part of a “worship experience” that continues for the rest of your life.

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About Bryan Stoudt

On my personal website (bryanstoudt.com), I help Christians follow Jesus in a noisy, broken world. I also have the privilege of helping Philadelphia's healthcare students and professionals do this as Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA). More information at cmdaphiladelphia.org. On a personal note, I'm fortunate to be married to my wonderful wife, Sharon. Together, we have four fantastic children. In my spare time, I enjoy roasting coffee, running, reading and learning foreign languages.
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