Could I See Your Medical License?

Could I See Your Medical License?

And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.” . . . At that time people began to call upon the name of the LORD.  Genesis 4:25-26

When I was just 26 years old and newly licensed to practice medicine, my wife and I were on a flight when one of the passengers began experiencing chest pain. Is there a doctor on board? When I volunteered to help, the stewardess looked at my baby face with some suspicion, but she allowed me to intervene. Eventually though, she had to inquire – I’m sorry, but I must ask to see your medical license. Oddly enough, I had my license in my backpack, which I produced, alleviating her concern that she was letting a child practice medicine. My license was the proof she needed to believe in me.

Years later, I’ve experienced something similar in my addiction medicine practice. In recovery myself from an opioid addiction, when I care for those who’re addicted, it gives me instant credibility to tell my story. Because I’ve been there, I can talk about my own struggle to find faith and recovery. My addiction – and subsequent recovery – is the license that opens the door for a lot of my patients. My own transformation is often the evidence they need to believe in what I say.

I may be stretching the intention of today’s passage, but it appears to me that something similar happened in it. After Adam and Eve lost their son Abel (murdered by Cain), they had another son, Seth, which Eve saw as God’s blessing and restoration. The passage goes on to say that at this time people began to follow God. The two events may have nothing to do with each other, but to me, it seems that Eve’s restoration and faith had a dramatic effect on those around her. She’d suffered and lost, yet she thanked God for Seth. Those around her witnessed her trials and transformation, and they were impacted. Her life experiences and triumph were the evidence they needed to believe as she did.

As Christians, we believe we’re meant to point others to faith. We can make many arguments for faith, but often, our best proof is our own story of transformation. Here’s how I’ve struggled. Here’s what God has done for me. The problem of course, is that many of us haven’t allowed God to transform us to the point that would compel anyone would believe in him. We don’t have to be perfect to share our faith. We do, however, need to abandon self and follow God, allowing him to transform us – if we desire to have a story worth believing.

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