When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!”

~John 21:21-22


The road to becoming a professional, at times, feels like a long, dark tunnel. And occasionally, those of us training to become ministers to others’ needs desperately need others to minister to us.

On several occasions while in medical school, I have felt inadequate, hopelessly behind, and like a failure. These feelings were especially prominent one Friday, a week away from finishing my pediatric rotation, as I attended a practice exam and review session with my classmates.

Having studied daily for this clerkship, the low score I received on the practice exam shocked me. Confounded and demoralized, I asked the teacher to explain one of the questions. As she responded, I felt my face flush with embarrassment as everyone’s eyes turned toward me-the guy who missed the easy question.

I clammed up and checked out mentally, my mind swirling in nauseating questions: Am I really cut out for this? Will I ever be competent enough with this amount of knowledge to be responsible doctor? Should I have chosen a different career? Should I quit now-walk out, and not come back on Monday? These negative thoughts were further exacerbated by looking around at my talented classmates-many of whom have board scores several standard deviations above mine, seemed to always know the correct answer, presented better on rounds, or studied more diligently, I figured, than I did.

The review session ended, and I returned to the hospital to wrap up my last “to-do’s” before the weekend. Busying myself with checking on patients and finalizing paperwork helped to suppress the depressing thoughts churning in my mind. Suddenly a page from the senior resident interrupted me: “Patient T is going home right now and his family wants to speak with you.”

I was puzzled. What did they have to say to me? What should I say to them? I have started taking care of this patient only a day ago and had merely performed that morning’s checkup to see how he was doing.

As I walked to T’s room, I hurriedly prepared what I would say. I turned the corner and saw T and his mother just about the leave. I blurted out, “T! You’re going home! Your tests were negative and you’re gonna be oka-”

T’s mother cut me off abruptly and pulled me aside; her forcefulness startled me! “When I found out T was coming home today, I drove here as fast as I could because I felt like God was telling me to tell you that you are where you needed to be. You are in the right place, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t good enough.” She continued, but her words and her face began to blur in my teary eyes and overwhelmed emotions. She hugged me, repeated herself, and then left. I was stunned, ecstatic, and humbled, all at once-and I came back to work on Monday.

Comparison and negative self-talk are corrosive, debilitating, and unnecessary. I am reminded to trust God more with my future. Becoming a professional takes an immeasurable number of baby steps, and it this is what God wants me to do with my life, then God’s grace will get me there. –Marcus Heisler, LLUSM class of 2014, is from Sacramento, California, and graduated from Canadian University College with a BS degree in biology. This story took place during his third-year pediatric rotation.