changing the world
It’s always been a dream of mine, to change the world. To make a difference, to leave the world better than it was when I entered. Lately that dream has been in the form of my career, in wanting to cure some devastating neurodegenerative disease, or, more realistically, at least to find some improved treatments. But this dream, although disguised in helping the patients and their families, is still a selfish dream. I want prestige and recognition. A Nobel Prize would be nice…
The problem is that so far things have gone pretty much the way I’ve wanted them to. It’s not a problem in the eyes of the world, but for my relationship with God, it is. I’ve followed my drive and ambition and it’s gotten me this far. I’m about to start a Masters of Science in Medicine and a PhD in Neuroscience at Stanford, I have both a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and a Stanford Graduate Fellowship. A couple months ago I thought I was on top of the world and nothing could bring me down. I was thankful to God, but mostly I was proud of myself for getting there. I felt in control of my life and self-sufficient. I did work hard to achieve what I did, but the truth is I can’t take any credit for it. Everything I am is God’s. I am nothing and have nothing but what He has given me.
I realized I’ve been so small-minded. My dreams of “greatness” are nothing compared to God’s work and his plans for me. I want to save people with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s - there’s nothing wrong with that. But Jesus wants to save people from their sin, from eternal separation from their Creator. Everyone is going to die eventually, Alzheimer’s or no. What I do as a scientist is so insignificant compared to what I should be doing as a follower of Jesus Christ:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:19-20)
I’ve spent so much time agonizing over what my career is supposed to be, what God wants me to do with my life. I still think that God does call us to our professions, and to be good stewards of the skills and interests that he gives us, but it’s all secondary to our greatest calling: to live a life of complete surrender to His will. A life that displays Christ for the world to see. When Christ is working in my life - that’s a life that can change the world. So I’m asking God to help me let go of my pride and my selfish ambition, and to instead mold my heart and will to His.