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This blog is written by various COS board members for the members of the society.  You must have an active membership to access the entire article.

Recently, 2 Corinthians 5:7 came to mind as God worked in my heart to leave the practice I had been at for almost a decade.  The verse states, “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”  I had considered leaving the practice for the previous five years, but I had decided against it because I could not see a better alternative, and I sensed the timing was not right.  I continued to ask God for His direction and timing.

James 1:5-6 reminded me of my need for faith as I waited on God’s answer. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”

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ComfortingPatientAs a father of 4 children (ages 3,6, 8, and 10) I battle with the balance of work and family. I desire to be the best husband, father, and retina surgeon that I can be. There is a constant battle between these roles. At the end of each day, I feel like I never was able to give as much time as I would like to any of these 3 priorities. Physicians are well aware there is a massive demand for our time. We can see more patients, do more surgeries, make more money, produce more articles, have more possessions, but we can never have more time. You can’t buy back your time, and no amount of effort can produce additional time. As a retina specialist I see many elderly patients and conversations naturally arise and patients inquire about my kids. I get the same type of response in every conversation, “Enjoy those children, it goes by fast”, or “they grow up fast”. In hundreds of these conversations no one has ever told me “It’s going to feel like eternity but those children will eventually grow up and move out of your house.”

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Isn’t that an amazing statement?  I mean really are we ever doubtful that God is working?  God is certainly working every day, every night – in fact every second of every day and night!!  It is us who just aren’t aware of what all God is doing.  Sometimes we see Him working with our eyes, but are just dulled to it or not tuned in and forget to give Him credit!  So when I see God working with my eyes and am tuned in as well, then I find it awesome indeed!

On Wednesday August 28th, Hurricane Dorian began in the Caribbean and started its long slow journey as a category 5 storm.  Over Labor Day weekend, August 31 – Sept 2nd, Dorian stalled over the northernmost islands of the Bahamas for nearly 2 days.   Our hearts went out immediately to the people but for the COS, in particular, our hearts were heavy for Dr. Duranda Ash who lives and practices in Freeport.  Through the storm we prayed and waited to hear from Duranda.  There was a notable pause in communication from her during this entire time and no word was heard until Wednesday, Sept 4th when a single text was received that said “IT IS WELL!  Thank you so so so much for your prayers !!!  God is a shield around us, our glory and the lifter of our head.”  Though flooding claimed the lives of others who stayed in their homes not far away, Duranda had stayed in her home and protected another mother and child whose home would be destroyed by the flooding.    They were safe and alive!   Praise God!

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eriEri was an ophthalmology resident who identified herself as a Christian in a Muslim country in eastern Europe.  She had reached out to the COS several times over the last couple of years expressing a true spiritual calling.  I had engaged her via email to learn more about her interest in our society and to explore how we might support her.  To my surprise, this spring I had an unexpected opportunity to meet her when my daughter decided to go to her country to be a student teacher and I joined her. 

Recognizing that being a resident in ophthalmology doesn’t necessarily mean becoming a competent eye surgeon, I was eager to learn about her system and her experience.  Eri was in her final year of 4 years at the Mother Teresa hospital, the only training center in the capital city.  She was eager to meet me and my daughter and I anticipated discussions about her training, her future, and potentially how we could partner in increasing her ministry within the field of ophthalmology.

It became quickly evident that she had been selected to never do eye surgery.  Her knowledge of their current operating room environment was roughly equivalent to an outsider knowing about the clandestine practices of an inner secret club.  Her attitude was one of rejection and disappointment, and it became obvious that she had spent several years in depression when she realized she was given a very limited outside track.  Her initial dreams had been to be a “real doctor” who would save lives but, in her words, she was banished to an easy life of a doctor taking care of a limited scope of diseases involving “just a small organ.”

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ComfortingPatientSo at home, when we do eye surgery, I would guess that a lot of us take for granted the trust that it takes for a patient to lay on the table and let us operate on their eyes. I think that level of trust is even more exaggerated when we go into the overseas mission field where there are huge cultural and communication barriers. I became very aware of this when my family was on the other side of this need for medical care in a foreign country where we didn’t speak the language and things were generally just foreign to us.

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