Jesus said to her,” I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live”~John 11:25
Having sworn off medical school after graduating from college, I decided to go into law and was working as a patent examiner at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office when I received this news: “Your father has brain cancer. It’s a stage III anaplastic astrocytoma.” It was June 20, 2008, when we received the pathology results from my father’s craniotomy, and I became numb with disbelief. How could my father have brain cancer? No one in my family had ever had any kind of cancer. My life came to a halt.
Over the next five months, I took a leave of absence from work and practically lived inside the hospital as my mother and I became my father’s primary caregivers. During that time, many of my encounters with physicians confirmed for me that I had made the right choice in shunning medicine. Their daily impersonal, five-minute interviews convinced me that a doctor’s primary goal was to leave the patient’s room as quickly as possible. I wondered if they ever really listened to us or if they understood just how their orders for the day could affect our lives for the next 24 hours.
Everything changed, however, when a physician who I can only describe as a true Adventist Christian stepped into our lives. In addition to managing my father’s medical problems, he gave my father spiritual guidance and helped him work through difficult issues, such as depression and trusting in God.
After every visit, this doctor offered to pray with us and would kneel by my father’s bedside. His heartfelt prayers would bring tears to my father’s eyes. Although my father’s cancer was still ravaging his body, I could sense that a far more important type of healing was taking place. In September, my father made the decision to rededicate his life to God; he wanted to commemorate the event by being rebaptized.
Unfortunately, on the day before his baptism was scheduled, my father suffered a grand mal seizure that left him a near-comatose state. During the brief moments when my father was responsive, he let us know that his faith was in Christ. When my father passed away on October 18, 2008, I found myself thanking God despite my grief because I knew that He had healed my father on a much deeper level than I had asked.
After going through this experience, I was inspired to look at the practice of medicine again with new eyes. For the first time, I understood the impact a Christian physician could have on a patient’s life. Looking back on my father’s story, it became clear to me that a physician’s daily interaction with patient’s could have eternal consequences.
I began to read Ministry of Healing by Ellen G. White, and I felt in my heart that God was calling me into medicine. After much prayer, I applied to Loma Linda University; and now, five years later, I find myself seeing patients as a fourth-year medical student.
As I go through my medical training, my constant prayer is that God will mold me into a physician after His own heart. I want to always point my patients to Christ, and I want always to remember that a physician’s highest calling is not simply to heal the body, but also to save the soul-John Shin, LLUSM class of 2014, is from Olney, Maryland. He graduated with a BS degree in computer science from University of Maryland, College Park. He was his sophomore class pastor, senate chaplain his junior year and is currently senate chaplain his senior year.