In our last church, in Fredericton, we were blessed to have a wonderful Christian lady who happened to be a doctor. Often, professionals such as doctors, lawyers, pharmacists, accountants are never off-duty when they come to a Sunday church service.

You know what I mean, right?

We have that one question that we feel we need to ask, to tap their expertise in an informal setting. It seems unlike work in our estimation because it is in another atmosphere. We are not in their office … it’s just casual conversation among friends. Most always, when I have been guilty of talking about “business” on Sundays, these folks have been gracious, likely more than I might be, I fear. The are the S.M.E.s (Subject Matter Experts) within arm’s reach.

I’ve stepped over those boundaries more than once and I feel badly about it.

This lady, Dr. Carman … attended to my father, about five years before he died. It seemed that he had a heart attack and I felt that if he were to be hospitalized, the DECH (Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital) would be easier for me to visit than the Regional.

So she agreed to care for him.

Dad, God Bless him … felt that he knew what was wrong with him and a heart attack was not one of the possibilities, in his estimation. I was there for their first meeting and consultation. I sat like a fly on a wall and listened as Dad explained his situation to this dear lady. She patiently absorbed every word he spoke without interruption. Carman had a beautiful, subtle perma-smile that communicated empathy, respect, humility and a host of other qualities that set my father at ease.

When he was finished, she ordered some bloodwork and I took dad home fro supper in New Maryland. We barely sat down at the table and I got a call from her office. She wanted dad at the hospital immediately. The blood work showed evidence that he had experienced a heart attack. I explained to dad that the doctor wanted him at the hospital. He was there for more than a week. I had the chance to visit him each day and enjoy some different kind of conversation than we had ever enjoyed before. Although he never admitted it, the heart attack and thoughts of his mortality, took us to a deeper level of father/son transparency.

And dad eventually returned home with something new, trust for a doctor, who took time and interest in him and allowed him to express himself.

In “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, (Please don’t dismiss the book for the title. It’s really a common sense book about life and relationships.) Steven Covey asserts that people are influenced by us to the degree that they perceive we are influenced by them. Time and fixed attention are two of the most life-changing gifts that we can give people. Conversely, to be “in a hurry” or “distracted” when we are interacting with people, communicates that we really don’t value people, our spouses and children most of all.

A couple of things …

God knows the deepest realities of our hearts. Much of our prayer lives are spent as amateur diagnosticians, telling God what the problem with the world really is. We self-diagnose, self-prescribe and self-medicate.

And the blood work tells the tale, confirming or denying our prognostications. At the end of the day, He is the Great Physician and we are the not-always-so-great patients.

He wants to hear us express our hearts to Him in honesty and trust. This is the essence of relationship.Without the freedom to speak openly, there is no relationship. And that honesty must be reciprocal. When we are open, we want the same openness in return. This is word of God as it comes to us in different ways. Most specifically, the voice of the Spirit coming to us in Truth as much as we are able to comprehend it. And no one understands totally. “We see through a glass, darkly. (1 Cor. 13)

God longs to make us whole. He can cure the body, the mind, the soul and bind up the broken hearted. I love the sign on the cobbler shop, … “We mend the rips, patch the holes, build up the heels and save the soles.” And most of all,He can be trusted.

Thanks for being with us today at CLC. (As of this writing, I am seeing some snow forecast for Sunday. Here’s hoping that the roads will be bare.)