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My Testimony

Adrien Charles-Marcel

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Adrien Charles-Marcel is grateful to be a Loma Linda trained dentist. His burning desire is that one day soon, all his training will make him a more effective missionary in the place where God sends him.

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  • March 10, 2018
    10:00 AM
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Good morning I would hope. I've thought of the. Party all of them this morning. There is something I want to share this morning and. As I was mention and dental school here and getting close to the end of my training and I want to share my testimony the interesting thing about it though is that it's not finished I still have three months ago and quite a lot before I get to graduation but I think that the fact that it's not finished can actually make it somewhat more of an impactful testimony at least it has for me and the reason why is because when you read in the Bible we see that God constantly asks us to walk by faith not by sight and so as I share this morning I just kind of keep in mind all of us as we're going through different experiences that perhaps haven't come to the end yet and we don't know the outcome we can still have faith in God as we go through those different experiences. I do have a couple of disclaimers the first one is that this is my story and this morning it's not how everybody goes through dental school there's going to be things that are uniquely about me and maybe not be generalizable to other people and then second of all is that I don't claim to have a perfect understanding of how God leads which should become pretty obvious as I see my testimony by I do think we can have a basic understanding of God's leading especially as we look back at work God has brought us through and the verse that comes to mind is some one of seven verse forty three and you can James version of job using throughout this morning and it says that whosoever is wise will observe these things and they will understand the loving kindness of the Lord so let's just have a prayer as we get started. Dear Lord thank you so much for the privilege to know you thank you for this I was day that we can put aside all over worries and stresses and come to you Lord thank you that you. Showed us who you are through your word. And that you show us every day as are willing to listen to you leading you show us your path for us and that is pray that this morning as I share how you've worked in my life specifically in regards to dental school I pray that. The story would be clear that the lessons that I believe in trying to teach me would be a political to others and that at the end of this would all give praise and glory to you for your meeting and all our lives thank you and just I mean pretty much. So I organized the story into a couple of different steps or lessons that I think God has taught along the way just so happens that seven lessons. The first one is never say never going to go to them for a start Never Say Never second one little miracles can guide us the third God connects the dots the force my faith in God is only as strong as my heart is trials the fifth school can grow my faith the six It can't get better and the seventh comes from Proverbs sixteen verse nine a man's mind is are a man's heart plans his way but the Lord directs his steps. So let's start with Lesson one never say never. I was not the type of person that knew from the cradle what I was going to be when I grew up in fact I was in high school and in my last year coming down to graduation and I still didn't know what I was going to study and I was starting to get very stressed out about it because where I was at the time of living in my. My family were missionaries there and in Mexico the way the educational system works you basically have to choose your career right out of high school so you have to decide whether you're going to dentistry or medicine or engineering or art or whatever it is you have to decide your first year of college so I remember being in Bible class one day and our Bible teacher was having special time of prayer for us and the thing that was on my heart was what was I going to study the next year. And I was only sixteen years old at the time and I remember as I prayed that I got this distinct feeling that God was saying whatever it is it's going to be something good and he might say that's kind of weak but I thought felt that that was meaningful and it actually turned out to be very meaningful because it's a quite a while to figure out what that was going to be. So the dream in next three years I was sixteen at the time when I graduate from high school just by chance seventeen my career options went from everything from computer communication to software engineering dental technology and medical technology and medicine I spent three days in art school that wasn't for me. I then did two and a half years I took that and then I took the next year off then I did two and a half years of medical technology learning to do blood tests and things like that and spent about four and a half months working in a hospital laboratory and that experience turned out to be so negative for me that I decided I didn't want to do anything related to health care at all and I went so far as to even mock the idea of doing anything in health care I thought it was completely crazy to do something where your schedule is so limited and you had all these different things you had to know and it seemed really difficult and so I was like I'm not doing health care at all I thought of several other interests that I had kind of went back to computer saw science and so I thought maybe I do computer science for a little while I was thinking about. Becoming a mass teacher. And by the time was twenty years old I was still living in Mexico but planning the next year to go to so the NAB innocent versity and study computer science well through an interesting series of events which I might not have time to tell all about this morning God put the idea of health care back into my mind and I started thinking I might not be that bad but idea to kind of fall on the footsteps of my dad at least in my dad's a physician and my mom did some good medical technology and then master's in public health so it's kind of in the family a little bit and then through the leading of the Internet pension actually of my parents which up until that point they've been very kind of hands off it kind of giving me some general guidance but they hadn't said Oh you must do this you must do that through their intervention as well I ended up deciding you know I'm going to do something in health care and that was a major frame shift for me but I thought that God was leading me to do that and after I had made that decision that I just had to figure out what will I do and through a process of elimination and ended up with dentistry wasn't completely sure about it but I thought it would be pretty good because I wanted to be a missionary overseas and so dentistry is something that's very portable you can take with you and it also gives you kind of balanced lifestyle you have time for other things and so I thought OK I'll probably do dentistry. So that was Lesson one never say never I basically is that I'm never going to be in health care and then here I am now almost a dentist. Lesson to is little miracles can guide us so when I decided that I wanted to go to law school I was still living in Mexico and I remember sitting down one day with my dad and mapping out a plan for how my going to get to dental school because I did two and a half years of college in Mexico and coming back to the States I didn't want to do it in Mexico I want to come back to the United States because this is where I'm from and soul the path to get. From that hour to here was going to be a little bit of a of a journey and so I remember sitting down and deciding well I want to get there soon as possible so it was two thousand and eleven I think end of two thousand and eleven or begin two thousand and twelve and so I sat down and mapped it out and figured I think everything goes just right I could get to dental school in the fall of twenty fourteen so that would mean Bill that I would have to apply to dental school without a bachelor's because all those classes that I took in Mexico would not transfer to a college here so I decided I'm going to do it this is what I'm going to do so or I started emailing so nervous university again and to be able to do this I was going to take some science class together that normally you can't take together so I sent a whole bunch of different e-mails they probably thought Who is this guy what is he e-mailing us about all these things for one of the people even told me you know most of the people going to Loma Linda how about as if not a Masters kind of thing you know you're kind of going in a strange direction but I still was determined that this is what I was going to try to do I was going to give it my best shot and if God wanted me to become a dentist why should I spend time getting about as one that was going to help me towards my final goal so that was the route I pursued. As it turns out. I had to. Sorry a second. Yes. There were several different things that would be required of course to get to and one of them was taking all of the prerequisite courses the other was taking the dental admissions test which is somewhat similar to the M. cap for those who are familiar with how it works for medicine. And. Then. The way that God led I was able to get to certain evidence university in the fall in the summer actually of two thousand and twelve and able to take some of my first direction. Classes gum English classes out of the way then that next year I took. Quite a heavy load of Sciences all together and God blessed and I got good grades and so I felt OK God's blessing this endeavor he's he's leading So that was good. And by the end of the year. Another blessing that came along was that all of those classes had built into the final exam was a cumulative exam national standardized tests and it was perfect practice for the which is an admissions test because it was similar type of thinking that was required for the exams and it was excellent preparation so in the fall not fall the summer of two thousand and thirteen I. I registered for the deity I studied for it and the night before I took it I remember praying because I still wasn't a hundred percent sure that I was going to go to dentistry so I remember praying Lord if you want me to go down this route please help me tomorrow on my tests to do so well that I know on the you could have done it if you don't want me to go this far out help me to do so badly that I know only you could have done it. I think that's a pretty safe area to ferry. So the next day I went I took the test and the deity is kind of interesting in that you get results back immediately so that could be either good or bad. While when the results came out I was surprised and very happy to see that except from one section which I did a little bit below average I had gotten very good scores and so I was like This is great God is leading this is the red supposed to go. Well fast forward a couple months I sent in my application I decided after praying to only apply to Loma Linda for various number of reasons I remember one of the. Somebody who will remain unnamed and had told me you shouldn't just apply to one dental school but I thought that that's what God wanted me to do so I did it. And as time passed I had interview sent in my application and the first wave of of acceptances went out and I didn't get accepted there is some extra paperwork that I had to do and so generally the first wave is about in December and then the second comes somewhere and January or so and I remember all of December went by I had a little bit of communication with the office and missions sent the my paperwork and then waited and waited and waited a little bit more and January came general was going by hadn't heard anything from that about a month since I'd heard from them and I started thinking what if this doesn't work out because the way I structured my classes I was not anywhere close to getting about his degree I didn't have a Plan B. I didn't know what I would do they didn't do dentistry and as time was going on and I wasn't hearing anything I was thinking all I can have to have an idea of what I'm going to do if I don't get into dental school what what comes next and I really didn't know what to do and it was kind of difficult too because I felt like I had been leading up until this point but I was coming face to face the reality that maybe God might have another plant. And that was difficult I was struggling to believe the future in God's hands and I remember one day about midway through January I was in physics class and one of my friends handed me a little note with my name on it in a smiley face and that was kind of unusual because I don't normally get notes in class so I thought what is this that looks like some kind of imitation so I opened it up and it said congratulations for get me accepted adult school to Lowell and university school dentistry I think what that's really weird because I've not heard anything from them and why are they telling me congratulations from getting in and so we talked about and I found out that they have been talking with another friend and somehow I understood that I had been accepted and I thought that's really weird like what was that about and. And it was kind of frustrating too because all this time I was really hoping I would get in and then here I get this note it's a like a false alarm and then I was reading it and in it my friend is written I'm so so happy that your future patients will get to know Jesus through amazing medical work. I would love to be able to do that but I mean I haven't heard anything back I don't know if that's going to work out so I was like What is this I mean this is science or something didn't mean nothing I wasn't sure so walked back to my car that evening was Friday afternoon got in the car and was heading home and on my way home I made a very I was driving driving my car and there was Have you ever been driving and you see where there's like two streets to cross streets close to each other and there's two red lights that are within probably like one hundred feet or so of each other well anyway they were both red and actually one of them was turned green but the one closest to me turned red and was red and in my whatever INNES I got confused and drove through the red light oh no I'm driving through red lights this terrible I never do this. So I like Anyway all that happened I was like whoa that was so bad and then like two minutes later my phone rings and I look at my phone and I was living in Georgia at the time and there was a nine zero nine number I was like and that's what it's like for us little Linda Oh my so I pick up my phone and it was the this interactive admissions of the School of Dentistry saying they've just gotten out of admissions committee and that they're just unanimously voted to accept me to the class of two thousand and fourteen yes praise the Lord I actually cried I was so happy about it. And I just felt so happy and you think that after that after all of that the next eight months because this is in January the next eight months ago by blissfully I would just be floating on cloud nine I got accepted demo school everything's going to work out. But not quite. I one of my weaknesses they tend to be a little bit too introspective and I found all kinds of reasons why I shouldn't be accepted on the school and and it led to a whole bunch of mental anguish and things that should not have happened but nonetheless God God still had his hand guiding my story. And I also at the time was having a little bit of doubts also about the issues of modern medicine and health care versus the admin is health message and kind of some issues where it seems like there's a lot of contradiction between them and I wasn't sure Should I did an issue should I not do something more natural. And I found quite a few quotes in one not quite a few several says the Keith quotes and Ellen White's writings talking about dentistry and for those who don't know who Ellen White is Ellen White is one of the founders of the Sun Devil and we believe from the Bible that she had the gift of prophecy and so reading her writings when she makes certain comments about things or or endorsements it carries a little bit of weight so as I was reading I came across several statements which I'd like to share with you those of you who may be dentists or in dental school or maybe considering dentistry or maybe. If you might find this helpful the first one in from the book Health Food Ministry page forty nine says those who are engaged in the work of preparing healthy foods are just as much in the service of God as if they were in the dentistry business or in the medical missionary work like yes in the service of God and then there are also some stories about interactions of different dentists and one of them a dentist from New Zealand Her name was Dr Margaret Carol and she was actually Ellen White's personal dentist at one point and she wrote the following thing about her she said Sister Carol is a superior dentist she has all the work she can do she handles an immense amount of money and she uses the money to educate young men to be laborers for the master and greatly. To her she holds her diplomas dentists and her credentials as an as minister she speaks of the people she speaks to the church when there is no minister so you can she see that she is a very capable woman her husband is a physician and surgeon and so like reading these things there's other closer she talks about this lady and I like that seeing this blend between ministry and and dentistry and I thought this is this is this was good I also read some other statements about health from the book selection messages for him to chapter thirty and if if you ever have questions about some of these issues it's really helpful that chapter Chapter thirty of such investors want to go through a lot of things about oil and why it's experiences and uses and things of medicine different types of treatments and so to the end of that time I finally decided you know Dennis use the right thing for me to do and on August nineteenth two thousand and fourteen I came here to Atlanta that leads to Lesson number three God connects the dots so I got here August nineteenth on August sixteenth which is the Sabbath there was a message preached right here in Atlanta hope called Will is mean and some of you who have been here for a long time may remember that sermon about the life of a larger and about the experience of the person who's preaching it and if you don't know this message I would highly encourage you if you ever struggle of discouragement things id depression anything like that to look this up on audio verse it's a powerful testimony shared by Dr Carlos Miranda who is a became a good mentor for an friend of mine and it's interesting how. I ended up meeting him actually for the first time before I came to Loma Linda. Living back in Tennessee one Sabbath my family I we decided to go to randomly we thought randomly and decided to go to a church that we didn't normally go to and it just so happens that he was there and telling the children story and yeah his Times has a theory I don't know I. He I knew a little bit about him from listening to audio over knowing about his work with a man on youtube as well if there's a video on there about what he does an oral surgeon and when he got to tell us cause we had it and so kind of out of character for me I decide I'm going to go up and introduce myself to him because I tended to be a lot more introverted back then than perhaps I am now and in talking with him he gave me some tips on applying to dental school he also said hey if you're interested in coming to him in conference which is. Live and as a network he said I might be able to work out a way for you to get to go there later on that year and as it turns out we stayed in touch and I was able to go and when I went I was able to see a really powerful blend of evangelism ministry and dentistry and it kind of set the picture for what I wanted to do if I became a dentist so that's just kind of a little bit of background about who preach the sermon well as me anyway this sermon this morning could slightly be titled was me part two not because my life is that bad but because ultimately it's about the process of learning to trust God So with that being said I'd like you to open your Bibles to first Kings Chapter nineteen verse thirteen and this is talking about the story of a life this is what that sermon was about. First Kings nineteen verse thirteen as you're turning there on going to kind of just paint a picture for you imagine that you're standing on the top of a mountain somewhere there are rocks thrown around all over the ground and the air is heavy with smoke there's charred embers flying at your feet and you see evidence that there's been a earthquake recently and then you see in kind of through the mist in the fog you see a cave in this rolled figure coming out of there and what is this Who is this person. Well let's go to first kings one thousand first. Thirteen it says there so it was when the lies you heard it there he wraps his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave Suddenly a voice came to him and said What are you doing here Alija. I'll just kind of summarize alleges story up until that point he had just had an amazing victory for God he did singlehandedly so to speak call down fire from heaven and everybody in Israel had decided that God was the true God instead of bail and those who didn't decide that had been. Taken care of and. Sorry if it that way. Anyway so basically a mass of reform had just happened in Israel. And the queen of the country jazz a bell was not very happy about that and she threatened him and said you know if if you don't. Get out of the way I'm going to kill you by tomorrow and so he took off and he ran completely forgetting all that God had just done. So why did he have this problem what was his issue he had a lack of faith and it's really amazing because he was willing to throw out everything that God had just done because all of a sudden there was this new problem in his way. So what about you what are you doing here. You're here in the Melinda maybe your student maybe your professional but also to speak to students for a second maybe you're studying nursing and you're coming to the end of your time and you're getting ready to take that exam called and quacks and you're afraid that you might not pass maybe you're studying physical therapy or medicine or dentistry or something and you have final exams next week and you're concerned that maybe you're not going to pass that one class that young to getting good grades and more may be you know any host of things could be coming down your path or maybe your knee maybe your and forth. Dental School and you're stressed because you have clinical boards coming up in just about a week and you're not sure what's going to happen if you don't pass. May be you don't know if you're going to finish your apartment on time to graduate and avoid becoming a fifth year dental student. Maybe you don't know where you're going to end up next year like I don't. But all of these questions can only be properly understood against the backdrop of what God has done in a lie just case God had to remind him of what he had done and what he was doing and in our case we need to go back and remember how did we get here what has God done to bring us to this point. So a lot leads me to Lesson four and when I actually start to arrive here in Loma Linda less and for is my faith in God is only as strong as my hardest trials. So when I arrived Journal and. I didn't know a whole lot of people my brother lived here as wife lived here I had some for a few friends and acquaintances but God sent me to people across my path sent me good friends and school is actually one of them who told me about that sermon was me for the first time and I remember listening to it like thirty because here in the Melendez my birthday and my family wasn't here and it's kind of a little bit lonely and when I listen to it I realize you know I should be complaining I shouldn't be feeling like oh well is me like all these things God is with me and it was quite a bit of encouragement. But as dental school started of course the academics were challenging but by and large it was it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be and and God was a blessing as I was going through it but as you're all aware. We all face times of difficulty in and discouragement in our experiences and early on for me I had some personal plans. I was working on that didn't work out and I ended up going through quite a few days of deep discouragement some sleepless nights almost. Sometimes resits really questioning God and not sure what his leading was where he was. Where he was active in my life or not and it was during that time in first year when sometimes it seemed like every day was it was dark that I learned what it means to trust God when there doesn't seem to be anyone else you can consistently rely on because yes you know family and friends and everybody is there to support you but they can only be there a certain amount of the time there's always those moments when it's just you and God and it was in those moments that I learned how to really trust God when things didn't seem to be working out and there were some particular promises from the Bible and quotes and sort of prophecy that I came across during that time that I really wanted to just share with you just a few of the most salient ones here the first one is Proverbs eighteen verse ten. And I remember during that time I had it on the back on my computer for quite a while and part of eighteen percent says the name of the Lord is a strong tower the righteous run to it and are safe and just those those words might be very simple but just realizing that when you're going through a hard time God is like a strong tower that you can run to get inside of it and nothing and nobody can come against you that was so powerful. Also another quote that I found it was and huge encouragement when I was about in the temptation was from relations to the pages to forty three and to forty four there on what it says to those who are tempted I would say do not for a moment acknowledge scene's temptations as being in harmony with your own mind turn from them as you would from the adversary himself and I think this is a very key. He point here oftentimes in the show a temptation we tell ourselves and I'm not saying that there we don't have simple hearts we do have simple hearts but oftentimes we struggle with temptation we feel like I must be sole source Soledad to be struggling with this temptation without realizing that sometimes the devil is actually just whispering things into our ear and we think it's us but it's actually him and so reading this quote and the story behind it if you ever have time to look up look it up it's in second releases like I said Page two forty three. It's so liberating to realize there are times and actually all the time when we're tented we can distance ourselves from the temptation by rejecting it and by calling on God for help and that was. Very encouraging thing for me also another Bible verse that was quite quite encouraging was Romans Chapter eight The whole chapter really but particularly believe verse twenty four for we are saved by hope but hope that is seen is not hope for what a man see is why did he yet hope for but if we hope for that we see not then do we with patience wait for it that's in the new king and in the canyons version but the point there is that the only way that God. Saves us is through hope in what he's going to do and if all of a sudden everything is crystal clear and it all makes sense and we know how everything is going to turn out then there's no hope anymore there's no faith there's no need to rely on God But if we realize that it's through that experience of having to rely on God and have faith in him that we are actually saved then we can joyfully embrace those times and just cling on to the hope of a better tomorrow. So by the end of first year I had by God's grace found quite a few. Promises in the Bible questions for prophecy that I highlight on my phone or. On my part of that time and. Just got to give me a lot of spiritual resources to Tara carry me into the next part of the journey and that leads to Lesson Number five school can grow my face so let me kind of just break down dental school to you first year is basically about basic sciences and learning about how the body works you take classes in gross anatomy and yes for those who study medicine we do study the whole body because we treat whole patients we don't just treat mouths. It's a gross anatomy you take histology physiology neuroscience about chemistry microbiology dental anatomy you learn how to create teeth out of wax you learn how the teeth function together why cavities form you learn how to do fillings on plastic teeth so it's a lot going on but surprisingly at least for me in my experience I found that it wasn't as hard as a suspected to be probably because I kind of had in my mind what second year was going to be like now the second year is something totally different at least that's how it was for me second year is much more intense first year your schedule is very predictable you kind of have the same classes every day at the same time and everything second year they throw at you a whole bunch of different labs you have to take in no particular sequence or order you have to constantly be checking your schedule every day to see where am I supposed to this time where most will be at that time. You start training well not treating patients we start doing some things in the clinic on a very limited basis. And take still more basic sciences and then a lot of laboratory classes where you develop have skills to become a dentist. So. First quarter of second year actually was surprisingly. Surprisingly. Not easy but reasonable and I think give you a false sense of security because second quarter was the most intense academic experience I. Ever had and it seemed like there was no time to do anything other than study for quizzes Sometimes you have up to five quizzes in a week which means it's like almost a quiz every day and these aren't just quizzes like you know what's your name or what did you say they know that like you have to study for these things so. Quizzes all the time lab projects with deadlines it was it was it seemed like there was no time for anything other than eating sleeping going to class studying going to lab after hours and it was it was quite taxing but again God brought me through that quarter and I remember so many times where I would sit down to take a quiz or take a test and because of trying to have a balanced lifestyle not stamp all it night and kind of get some rest and stand such as my family things like that out oftentimes be unprepared for the quiz or the tests and I will say that I didn't always study as best as I should've but so many times I would sit down and say I know I'm not ready for this test but Lord please help me anyway and it was amazing to see how God would answer my prayers and things would go very well I may not always like the best grades but it went very well and it was an experience that really built my faith. Also difficult times in the laboratory I remember one night late at night sitting in there having to take an impression on a storm model for a lab project and I had to do it ten times before it came out right and then my friend that was there was working on a project and had been put hours into it and then it broke and like we were just it was late and I was like eleven o'clock almost twelve o'clock at night and then they force the thought aloud because the school had to cause but things like that at the time which are very difficult looking back and say you know it we survived God brought us through it was OK by the end of the second year when third year came which is where we started treating patients before third year started. We didn't the school had done a really good job of at least for me making me feel like I was ready to start getting paid. Yes I have the skills the knowledge I think I can do this we also took part one national boards and second year and by God's grace I passed that so third year came around and it was time for Lesson Number six it can get better. Now you know some people say you know it never gets better I thought at the beginning of summer then a second year being third year that things are about to get better. I was starting patience I moved to a new apartment that God had provided for me two days before I left for summer break. My older brother and his wife had left and so that was kind of difficult they moved away but I knew that it was like a new chapter starting and I felt like OK things are about to get pretty cool here. But then thirty year started and I realized that there was a whole set of skills that I needed to be able to treat patients that I didn't realize that I didn't have the most important one of those for me and this of course is very different from every Don't soon some people love thirty years until they start their year in the like this is so great for me there was this aspect called good judgment that I didn't fully have completely right and. And by that I don't mean making dumb mistakes necessarily I just mean that when you're treating patients when you're doing clinical activities you're constantly having to make judgment calls on a whole host of different things and that was very difficult for me because I tend to be very detail oriented very concrete in my thinking and you know it's either A or B. it's black or white and there's this whole spectrum of gray and the professors were definitely there to help and guide but they weren't there holding my hand every day and that was I mean I was a little surprised that there was so much I perceived autonomy when I didn't even know what I was doing. And it sounds funny thinking about it now but at the time it was. Very stressful it was so stressful that I remember sometimes I didn't want to go to clinic so badly that I left I literally that God on the floor in my apartment cried because I was that stressed out about it. And it was it got to a pretty low point where one weekend I was sick I had to skip skip school because I was sick and then that meant I was going to have to make it up some time later because they require one hundred percent attendance and I was like I was not happy and I didn't even want to go anyways and I started thinking about you know what if I were to quit. And. Well first of all if I quit school what would I do. I don't have a bachelor's degree I'd have to go back to undergrad. And then I would have like for the rest of my life this feeling like I quit I didn't stick it through what if I kept going and I just remember that day writing in my journal and just pouring out my heart to God and saying Lord I just I don't even want to be here right now. I want to just leave go home but even if I go home I still have to come back. And and just feeling discouraged but then just realizing God had always brought me through the difficult times in the past before and I knew he was going to help find a way to bring me through this one to. A couple days later came to Sabbath school here eleven hold and it was Pastor Steve Conway preaching again about Elijah and alleges difficult experience which is kind of interesting because that was a reminder of Carlos a sermon on a ledge a couple years back and I thought that morning that sermon was just for me and it was so encouraging to realize once again that there are people in the Bible specifically in this case Alija who now is my favorite Bible character who had these highway moments of faith and then the next moment. They were down in the dumps of discouragement despair but God didn't leave him God still was there with him he still took care of him and he gave him a future a future so where if you took him to have it never died and for somebody to struggle with that kind of stuff and then a couple made it we don't know that how long it was but probably like a year or two later he was in heaven immortal forever that's that's amazing. I remember that day also talking with a couple of my friends here who were also going through some similar not necessarily severe experiences but I kind of knew in the clinical side of their careers or of their studies and just realizing that I wasn't the only one going through anxiety and difficulty at that time and it was it was so encouraging. There's a really amazing statement on what makes about a lot in profits and kings and it says in prophets of kings page one sixty two into the experience of all there comes times of keen disappointment and utter discouragement days when sorrows the portion and it is hard to believe that God is still the kind benefactor of his earth born children days when troubles harass the soul till death seems preferable to life it is then that many lose their hold on God and I brought into the slavery of doubt the bondage of unbelief and listen to this she says Could we at such times deserve the spiritual insight with spiritual insight the meaning of God's providence is we should see angels seeking to save us from ourselves striving to plant our feet upon a foundation more firm than the everlasting hills and new faith new life would spring into being. And if you read those chapters and prophets I mean there have been a king's about Alija It's just amazing to see how God was seeking to teach Elijah at that time even when things seem hopeless but he is still there for you. So again God brought me through another difficult. I've been with the incursion my parents my friends I kept putting one foot in front another kept showing up every day to school and it didn't get better immediately but little by little I got better and to the point where I remember one day and third year I was in the clinic to be a patient and just thinking to myself man there's nothing I would rather be doing right now than this and that was that was really awesome like the contrast between where I had been just maybe six months before and that I wanted that feeling was a lasting feeling I don't always feel that way. I feel like dentistry but it was just amazing to see how far God had brought me and to realize that it wasn't necessarily that Dennis She wasn't a good fit for me is just something I had to grow into and growth is sometimes painful. So I did learn that lesson in third year that yes it can get better even though sometimes it seems like it always gets worse it actually can get better and that leads to Lesson Number seven which is the last lesson and arguably the hardest one to learn and probably the most uncomfortable one that's proverb sixteen verse nine a man's heart plans his way but the Lord directs his steps so this part of the story is the part that I'm in right now because obviously I'm not done with dental school and there's still a whole lot of things to come and so this point the story kind of gets a little bit jumbled and confusing and so I hope I don't lose anybody it felt confusing and has felt confusing going through it but I'm going to do the best that I can. And also an illustration I was watching a youtube video the other day where it's a drone over a cornfield and it starts out pretty close down to the corn field and you just see these rows of corn which I mean there's nothing to see it's just rows of corn and then as it starts panning out and going up you start seeing some lines and mazes and pathway. As they come together and as it goes further and further and further out you see this beautiful tapestry that's been designed into the cornfield by the way they've made to me is here and there and I think that at some point in our lives whether here on this earth or in eternity we'll look back at our story and realize that what might have looked infusing at one point looking at it from the garage grand perspective of God's perspective there's actually a beautiful story there. So to start out. In in thirty or toward the end of third year I started think about what I was going to do after dental school and I had from second year actually decided that I wanted to be a missionary overseas I joined the deferred missions appointment program and I wanted to go to a particular area of the world where it's pretty close to the gospel there have been a lot of or none actually dental students or dentist that have gone there from the different missions of higher program and but I felt God was leading me to go there to do that so that was my plan going through and toward the end of third year I was thinking about what would I do in order to be prepared for that and there's something you can do in dentistry you can start working directly out of dental school or you can take a year and do a one year residency to kind of get more skills learn some things you can learn a dental school and be better prepared to start practice called the general practice residency and there was one of those near my home in Maryland where my family moved to and where they currently live and when I was a home for spring break thirty year last year I went and visited this program kind of at the insistence of my mom and I wanted to move back home after school so I went and it's a pretty well known place where this program is at and without any formal letter of invitation or anything I was able to go and God worked it out that I could meet one of the professors there that had a last minute change in their schedule and so they had to. To Talk To Me Tell me about the program and when I left I thought felt really positive I thought you know I want to play here the gods opening the door for me to go in this direction so. As third year came to it and I applied to that program and. Started waiting. Well when fourth year started. There was another surprise waiting for me this one not so good which was that the school and I should back up here again and kind of explain in dental school that there are certain clinical requirements you have to get done to be able to graduate and those are pretty solid I mean they do make some modifications toward the end of the school year but in general you have to get those done if you don't get those done you have to stay longer and become like I said a fifth year dental student which nobody wants to do that and at the beginning if the fourth year the requirements for a program or system in our school changed and with the change I found out that I was at the bottom the absolute bottom of my entire class in regards to my clinic progress and it's not that surprising because I had kind of a rough thirty year so I wasn't as productive as maybe I could have been and so that was a little bit of a shock and I had a meeting with my clinic director that said she said you know unless something really changes you make kind of getting held back a year and sounds like one and this is like such a surprise. And then also around that time another thing where I was working on some personal plans it didn't work out and I was feeling like man I'm experiencing failure again. What's guy doing where is he leading me where my supply How is this all makes sense and then again at that time we had to start registering for clinical boards which is the exam the last and. The most important exam that you take until school which makes you eligible to be licensed in a state to practice and they were having us register. Quite a bit in advance and because of the whole situation of what was going on with the certainty of whether I would end up staying in fourth year in that having to go back to thirty or something like that I didn't know what exactly they were going to just tell me in regards to that it took a while for us able to register and when I finally registered I got told that I was put on the waitlist so. Everything seemed to be going wrong and. Despite that I knew that God had been with me in the past and I knew that going through trials meant that there was going to be some type of testimony at the end of it all. Well worth your continued going on I started working really hard as hard as I could to work on this kind of requirements we had a whole bunch of competency exams that were coming up we had mock boards for part two boards we had our part to national boards we had a another written licensing exam so a lot of things were coming up and I remember. As I was going into that. Thinking I don't know if I prayed as CINC prayer but really hoping that I would pass all those tests so I would have to remediate any of them because any remediation time would take away time that I could be working on other things like getting my clinical requirements done and there were quite a few exams I ended up having to take but by God's grace with the exception of one I passed all of them in the first time and I was like that was the clear side to me at least that God was with me he was helping me so that I would have to do divert my time on to those things but. Also at that time my plans for doing mission work after dental school kind of started to change a little bit and. Hadn't worked out yet for me to be able to go to this place where I wanted to go and I wasn't sure if it was going to be we're going to work out and I started thinking about possibly doing a dental specialty I realized I had some interest in surgery and then I thought you know really my sufficiency as you might be interesting to do and I had a talk with again with Carlos who's a romex official surgeon and he gave me some good words of advice he said because I told him you know I think this might be what I want to do and he said well look if you have any question your mind that this might be what God wants you do realize this guy can't do anything with an application you don't submit and I can't do anything with a test you don't take and there's an action there's a test you have to take to the plate or surgery that is basically like step one for medicine so it's a whole bunch of medical knowledge that they're testing you on that you don't necessarily learn in double school and so those are the words that he told me and I I took that to heart and said you know what I'm going to I'm going to do it and see what happens they only it up offer that test twice a year so I registered for it and it was going to be in February this last spring last month and this was November or December of last year just a couple months ago and all this time I had all these pressures going on I was working on as hard as I could see were coming clinical requirements lots of lab work studying for this exam with a lot of stuff that I didn't know and. Also I had not heard back from the one year residency program and applied to either. And so one day I was at school and got sent a word of encouragement to me and where one of the key leaders in the school saw me in the hallway and quite unexpectedly told me you know I was looking at your clinic progress again the other day and you know you really picked it up since the beginning of summer some records impressive keep it up. And that was really encouraging to me I was I was really encouraged by that and US still had a long way to gold it was it was it worth encouragement for me well after school after. Christmas break I came back got a letter from the school saying I'm high risk of not graduate on time. More stress but I had a plan I knew kind of what I was going to do in order to get my. Done and I had a meeting with one of my clinic leaders and it turns out that at that meeting she told me you know I'm actually not that worried about you you seem to be on top of everything and everything lined out it's just a matter of everything coming together by graduation time and that was really amazing because the same person that I met with back in summer the told me Look if you don't change you're going to be held back a year fossil believe and it was just amazing to see how God used even that meeting to be productive for the benefit of some other people too because there were some rules that got changed as a result of that meeting that made it easier for some of us who were having hard times clinic and again I saw God leading. All back to my plans for oral surgery. This exam was coming up and I was taking practice tests not doing very well. Not surprisingly because it was testing more medicine the dentistry and I had a lot going on in the couple weeks leading up to it which is last month and so when the time finally came to go to take the exam I I didn't know what I should pray for because I knew I was not prepared and I wasn't even sure anymore whether I wanted to go this route or not it had different things happened that made me think maybe I should say in general dentistry regression OK off my loans and just goes mission as a general dentist and so going up to the exam I again had one of those moments where I prayed a prayer I said Lord I don't know what this is supposed to I don't know what the outcome of this should be. I know that. I've register for this is a lot of money to take it and I had to go travel to far away place today because there are no seats available here in the L.A. area I had to walk through the snow and ice to get to the exam. Makes it sound erratic it felt to Radek Anyway I took that exam praying Lord if you want this to be something that points me in a direction let the results show that I know that based on how I prepared for it it's probably not going to go very well unless you intervene and so I took the exams probably the hardest exam I've taken to date and at the end of it I felt like now that was not very good I didn't feel like I did very well at all and then at the end of the week two weeks ago yesterday I got Mary's it's back and when I looked at the results it was just above the average for those who'd taken the exam at the same time which was pretty amazing because it was like nine points higher than I've been getting on my on my practice tests and again it was it was one of those moments just realizing God is leading now what's the outcome of that going to be I still don't know it was only two weeks ago. I don't know if i end of becoming a surgeon or a fall so as a general dentist. At this point I still don't know if I'm going to graduate early and all march I don't know if I'll come back to become a fifty or dental student I hope not I'm doing everything I can for that not to happen but my point is that we can plan our path like the verse says a man's mind plans his way but the Lord directs the steps we can do all that we can to plan and we should doesn't expect us to sit back and do nothing but at the end of the day we have to trust that whatever God allows to happen to us is for a reason and as we look back at it there's going to be a reason for it so for you today sitting here in. The South mourning for some of you finally Exams are coming up next week. Maybe you're kind of playing when you should. Get a new job or maybe you're thinking about moving or maybe like Paul how the school here a couple weeks ago was talking about he and his family they're not sure where they're going to go next life is full of uncertainty and we don't always know what the outcome outcome of things are going to be. But we do know that God is with us and I just want to end sharing a quote that a friend shared with me back in the in the midst of of the difficulty last August when I had all these different things going on it's from here in Herald November twenty nine hundred eighty one now is the time for the friends of Jesus to be decided faithful and valiant for the captain of their salvation now is the time to show who are the true Caleb's who will not deny that the walls are high the Giants mighty but who believe that this very fact will make the victory more glorious. So as you contemplate the Giants in your power this morning just remember the bigger the Giants the bigger the victory. And I just want to encourage you as you as you go on throughout this Christian journey throughout your academic journey your professional journey just keep trusting in God I don't know how my circle and I don't know how your story and if you want to know ask me I have a couple more months here hopefully not more than that but. Let's just keep each other and prayer and be encouraged because God is with us and God is helping us let's pray. While in heaven thank you so much that through the sometimes chaotic and difficult experiences that we go through in life the times where we don't know how you're leading times and we can't see what's going to come next thank you that it's at those times that we have the privilege and opportunity to exercise faith and Lord sometimes it's painful and it's not comfortable but. It's just amazing lard to see how as we put our troubles and our problems and our cares in your hands how you take care of them how you answer prayers maybe not always how we want but we can see as you look back you've been with us. And so heard I pray that throughout the rest of this day about the rest of this coming week and through the years that we may have on this earth before your second coming I just pray that our faith who grows stronger and stronger and they were share the experiences of what you generalize of others for their courage so they can come to you just in. This media was brought to you by audio verse a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse if you would like to listen to more sermons leave a Visit W W W audio verse or.

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