I’m scared!

The Doctor's Life Support for 15 January

When I am afraid, I will trust in you.

Psalm 56: 3

Most of us at times have pangs of fear. One new graduate was panic-stricken even to think about her first day on call. Many of our fears are fancies, anticipating what may never happen, but those of an anxious disposition can suffer badly and medical practice gives ample scope for anxiety. Failure with the first venepuncture paralyses ability for the second, and scornful comments from a senior fill the next wardround with dread. We may fear for some patients’ lives, or the likely reprisals should they die. Additional concern about postgraduate examinations, or major family problems, and fear of cracking up can loom large. I love the storm passages in the Bible. Mark tells of one in which the terrified disciples cried out to Jesus to save them. As soon as he came aboard, the storm ceased. (Mark 6: 51) Luke reports another storm, when Jesus was fast asleep despite the wind and waves. The frightened disciples woke him up, and again his word brought calm. (Luke 8: 24) Experience is a great teacher. It is as our SOS prayers are answered that we realise help is always at hand to keep us calm in a crisis. We are not intended to stay at crisis point. One of Jesus’ sailing trips with the disciples was with the idea of giving them a day off, although it ended with a much bigger picnic than expected. He had said, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ (Mark 6: 31) Perhaps to someone who cannot yet do that, and is dreading today, he is ready to come aboard saying, ‘Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.’ Trust him, and obey.


Written by Janet Goodall from the UK

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