Happiness is …

The Doctor's Life Support for 13 August

‘Is it not written in your Law, “I have said you are gods”?’

John 10: 34

I love what I do for a living. Someone has said that general practice gives us a ringside view of humanity and it is a great privilege to earn a living from doing what you’d always dreamed of doing, and knowing that you do it well. Of course there are pressures, sometimes pains, but always some pleasure in a normal working week. In making a correct diagnosis, in receiving a ‘Thank you’ card from a patient, or in seeing my students master a new skill, I feel the same kind of thrill as that expressed by Eric Liddell, the Olympic runner: ‘When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.’ Os Guiness writes, ‘Somehow we human beings are never happier than when we are expressing the deepest gifts that are truly us.’ Isn’t this because we are made in the image of God? We may usually think of ‘being godly’ in moral terms, but creativity is also part of God’s image in us. To quote John Elredge in his book, Journey of Desire, the imagery ‘is not certain qualities in our character but capacities of our nature.’ Thus, God announces our likeness to himself in the context of our place in creation. We are to ‘rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air …’ (Genesis 1: 26–28) This is what differentiates us from the rest of creation and gives us such potential for happiness in our vocation. As health care workers, we have a role which can be intensely rewarding. It gives us enormous scope for personal fulfilment as we exercise the capacities God has given us as part of being in his image.

Written by Trevor Stammers from the UK

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