“I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the LORD, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.” Jeremiah 29:14
The title of today’s post may seem more like a devotional. I promise that the content is medically related. However, the beauty of writing for a health blog geared towards Christians actively pursuing health careers is that I can showcase how the two are intimately related.
That being said, I have a testimony.
Today’s post is going to lengthy, so please bear with me.
In 2007, I finished a Master’s program in Biomedical Sciences. At this time, I began looking into some of the top tiered international medical schools for U.S students. I chose and applied to the top two international medical schools based on their stats and success rates.
I did a pros/cons list for both, and read student opinions for both on forums. I was accepted to both, and made the decision to attend the school I thought at the time to be more competitive, but three times more expensive. I figured to the price would be worth the experience.
The added bonus of my chosen school was that they had recently implemented a “global scholars” program. This program was geared for students who desired to practice medicine internationally in underserved countries for part of their career. They would be required to matriculate the first year of medical school in England, where they would receive a special certification, which would help make that dream a reality.
It was as if this program was tailor made for me!
I definitely plan on dedicating part of my time each year to the medical mission, and have always been interested in international health (as this is where the greatest need is, in my opinion). Second, I have ALWAYS desired studying abroad (and I wish I had taken advantage of this in college, but there really is no room for studying abroad as a Biology major). Finally, I freakin’ LOVE Europe. How can I say no to such an amazing opportunity?!?
Anyways, at this point, the decision was quite simple and clear! Or so I thought. I knew God wouldn’t be so cruel as to dangle the desires of my heart in front of me if it wasn’t His plan.
Although the decision was clear, the execution wasn’t. I was faced with several speed bumps. By the time I boarded my plane to England, all but one speed bump was resolved!
I had my acceptance into the program, I had my flight, and I had my UK Student Visa.
I was good to go.
Except for one thing.
Although the school was recognized my the Department of Education and provides Federal Student Loans, the global program into which I was accepted was so new (I was only the 2nd class to start the program), that for the first year, the program would not be funded by the Department of Education, and we would need to apply for private loans.
This was the only downside to this program. Up to this point, I have never applied for private loans because of their outrageous interest rate and need for a co-signer, which I never wanted to use. I have always wanted to assume complete responsibility for my finances. However, at this point, I figured I had no choice. This is an investment, I justified.
I applied for several private loans, on faith that I would be approved. I was scheduled to leave for England before I heard anything back for the loans. Again, I figured if God opened to the doors, He would provide. Surely I will get approved while in England and all will be well.
Fast-forward a week in England, and the end result was: I was NOT approved for any of the loans! What devastation!! My dreams came crashing down into a million little pieces. I was beyond distraught.
I had purchased a one-way ticket to England (couldn’t afford a round-trip), and now I had to leave! The testimonies regarding how I got my flight out of England is for another post. However, I left England with no plan in sight. It was during these moments that I got closer to God, for sure.
Long story short, not being in school for the first time in my life since I was 3 years old afforded me the opportunity to travel to Korea and work as a missionary/English teacher only a month after I was “exiled” from medical school in England due to lack of funds.
I truly felt as though the life I was meant to live began the day I left for Korea. The two years I spent in Korea (and all the countries I had the opportunity to visit) were some of the most life changing years of my life. I have never been the same.
If I had started medical school in 2007, I would have never experienced Korea, for surely I would have gone straight from med school into residency, and the rest would be history. But Korea was necessary for my growth.
While in Korea, I reapplied to the medical school that I didn’t choose the first time around. Even in another continent, the process was much smoother and everything went very well. I started medical school in 2010 on my birthday.
The beauty of my program is that I am able to do part or all of my core clinical rotations in England if I choose. My desire to study abroad had not been assuaged by the “great disappointment” of 2007. I still wanted this opportunity. But first, I would have to pass USMLE STEP 1.
This year, the day before my birthday, I received the result that I have passed STEP 1. God is great!
So now, almost five years after I shamefully left England because it wasn’t my time, I am returning to England to complete my core clinical rotations. This time, with more wisdom and God’s approval in tow.
“ I will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile,” declares the Lord.
God has a plan for us all. He will close doors we thought were held wide open for our benefit, but it’s because He has a plans that far exceeds what we could have imagined for ourselves.
The road to medical/dental/allied health will be: expensive, mentally exhausting, physically tiring, and thankless. Don’t lose heart!
This is why we create blogs such as these, to help you stay on course and not let your discouragement derail your hopes and dreams.
Stay focused! God has a plan.
The title of the post is also the title of a song written by Babbie Mason that has helped me a lot during the dark moments where I didn’t know what God was doing in my life.
It is also my hope that, when you don’t understand, when you can’t see His plan, when you can’t trace His hand, you will TRUST HIS HEART.
Have you had any experiences during your medical career journey where God closed a door you really desired, only to hold ajar a door better suited for His plan for you? Please share.
Link to song with lyrics below:
Trust His Heart