Board Blog

Board Blog

This blog is written by various COS board members for the members of the society.  

I recently came across the following article entitled, “PERSPECTIVE:  A Walk with Him,” which was published in the Christian Ophthalmology Society newsletter dated July 1998 which resonates with me today:

jtsai 98“For me, the past four years at the University of SC School of Medicine has been a well spring of learning not just in terms of medical knowledge, but also with insights into God’s character and lessons about life.  I have specifically been learning the art of resting, the value of waiting, and the necessity of walking closely with Christ.  Because of my perfectionist tendencies, my toughest struggle has been to rest in the Lord.  After having done my best to prepare, a point is reached that I must give it totally over to His care.

Whether it was a big exam, rounds with Dr. Intimidation, or residency interviews,  God’s chief objective was always to cultivate in me a heart of complete reliance on Him.  Isaiah 26:3 is one of my all time favorites:  “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”  I have found His presence and grace to be sufficient for my every need, and that He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that I ask or think.  I am  earning the value of waiting on God’s perfect timing.  Often I have found myself dissatisfied with my current circumstances and wanting to get ahead of God.  

Medical school and residency are not just worthless stepping stones to a fulfilling medical practice.  While it is my desire to blitz from point A to point B in the most efficient manner, God has a purpose in the intervening journey.  He is teaching me that indeed the purpose can be found during the trial and not just after it is over.  He wants me to welcome every difficult person and frustrating experience as His instrument to further shape my character into the image of His Dear Son.  Someone once wisely advised me, “Savor these moments, for you will never pass this way again.”  God’s desire is for me to use this day for His glory no matter how insignificant this time of transition might seem.

God has been impressing me with the importance of daily making an eternal difference in the lives of others.  The fields are truly white with harvest.  During these last four years, He has reminded me that He is still at work in the lives of people, and has been faithful to bring into my life classmates, patients, residents, and attendings who are awakening to their need for His love and salvation.  I have also discovered the frustration of attempting to do God’s work my way.

Another word of wisdom speaks to the necessity of cultivating a daily love relationship with the Lord Jesus in developing an effective personal ministry: “Don’t over-work, over-flow.“  Genuine compassion for people is not a product of human effort, but a by-product that flows when time is spent with its Source.”        Jonathan Tsai,MD

Reading this article recently was like opening a buried time capsule or thumbing through an old newspaper.  It was written nearly 20 years ago by a young man who had just finished medical school and was looking ahead to residency.  He had aspirations to become an ophthalmologist and a family man, but had no idea what God had in store for him ahead.  Those words spoke of the faithfulness of God in providing security, encouragement, rest, purpose, and eternal significance in a sea of anxiety and uncertainty.

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moses redseaExodus 14:5-14; James 1:2-4; Romans 8:35-37
There are times in our walk as believers during which we experience great victory as well as times of trial. When there is victory, it is sweet and we may even be a bit boastful forgetting who has fought the battle for us. When things don’t go well, however, we are quick to complain. We lose sight of the fact that there is indeed a reason, however obscure it may seem to be, that we are passing through the valley. The Jewish nation provides us with a picture of this.

I am grateful for the Jewish people, for both those who were steadfast in their faith and for those who were not. Both provide us with lessons and insight, and serve as our examples for faith. They are a picture of both the good and the bad of our walk, and provide us a reflection of who we are by nature, and what we should and should not look like as believers. By examining the good of their faith we can see that we should be wholly dependent upon our Father.

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My husband Jim and I are greatly enjoying two weeks serving God here in Lebamba Gabon, at Bongolo Hospital Christian outreach here alongside US trained full time missionaries Wendy and Eric Hofman.  Wendy and Eric have served here since 2009, and serve extensively at the hospital alongside raising their 3 small children and homeschooling them as well.

   Wendy has undertaken a mammoth project here of building a 1 million dollar eye hospital here at Bongolo Hospital complex, and Gods provision has provided all but $300,000 of the necessary funding, through US Aid grant support. This facility should be completed by January 2018. In addition, God has sent a wonderful dutch Christian project manager to oversee construction. This has immensely relieved Wendy from this burden. Please consider contributing and fundraising for this Godly endeavor, and continue praying over Arjo and his team as he leads this work.  (the above picture is a special picture of Wendy and I after sharpening our MSICS blades for the next day!)

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God must be playing tricks on me!!  This is exactly how I felt in the beginning when I woke up in April 2014 with double vision, dizziness and numbness.   A healthy ophthalmologist with an acute onset of double vision?   You’ve got to be kidding, God!

And worse was the sinking feeling of some unfavorable diagnosis given the differential diagnosis that I formed for someone in his mid 40’s who had been very fit and healthy, living a balanced and active lifestyle.  The thoughts of cancer, aneurysm, stroke, and neurodegenerative disorder were on the top of my list!  Or did I have some unknown virus from my recent medical mission to Swaziland? 

After packing overnight clothing for my visit to the ER, every test under the sun was performed by my ER colleague.  Despite negative tests, my diplopia worsened steadily to the point of complete ophthalmoloplegia on day 4.  Soon after came the difficulty breathing and then weakness and tingling in my upper extremities which progressed despite the high dose steroids to involve my lower extremities.


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We have all seen them. The patient that could be diagnosed from across the office. Intensely red swollen eyes, profuse tearing, light sensitivity, obviously uncomfortable, ratty tissue or washcloth in their hand constantly dabbing the eyes. They look miserable, and you do not want what they have. Last month we had a number of these patients in our office and despite our usual precautions I became the patient. It started with an irritation and a little redness, but within a few days I felt like those patients looked. I had epidemic keratoconjunctivitis with poor vision, intense chemosis, injection and bilateral limbus-to-limbus corneal infiltrates. Severe. Painful. When my colleagues saw me the exam was met with a uniform “Whoa!”. I had to cancel surgery and clinic and isolate myself from the ones I loved.

I began to experience what it was like to be a patient. One that was incapacitated, helpless, humiliated, and humbled. It was difficult to relinquish control to others who were now giving me advice rather than others seeking mine. I had to set aside my own position and be comfortable in my new one as a patient. Trust. Obey. Pray.

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