My wife (Dr. Stephanie Kong, ZOe Pediatrics) tells me that she became a pediatrician because she was inspired by that simple mandate. She is the most dedicated person I know who works 12-hour days trying to save children. "How many do you want to save?" "The next one." "But", I would argue, (when I often see her exhaustion): "you cannot save them all." And she will dutifully reply: "Maybe, but I want to save this one."
It is Christmas Day and the alarm goes off at 4 a.m. and she is leaving our bed, I plead: "Darling, its Christmas. Can you just rest today?" She turns off the alarm and returns to our bed. I close and pump my fist and do the "Yes!" gesture. We are snuggling but an hour later she says: "I can't. Duty calls." And she is off to work on her computer reviewing the care her patients are receiving by the other doctors and sending them notes.
This woman is driven. Even when I persuade her to take a vacation, she will still wake up at 4 a.m. to review charts and throughout the day, even sitting on a beach with a computer, she looks in on each office, checking on wait times and calling whoever may be slacking. That is her way of staying ahead of her demanding responsibilities. She hates surprises and can only relax when she feels that she has everything under control.
She once told me the fable of the woman who was walking on a beach and saw several dozen starfish that had washed up on shore and was dutifully throwing them back into the ocean when someone shouted: "You cannot save them. There are too many." She replies; "But I can save this one. We are only commanded to do what we can." My wife daily repeats the prayer: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."
What if King Herod had his way and Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, had been killed as the soldiers scoured the land seeking out and killing all firstborn male children. Can you even imagine the state of mankind if He didn't live to walk among us and forgive us our sins?
In Mathew 2:13-16 "And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. And when they departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word. For Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. And when he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night and departed into Egypt: and was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, out of Egypt have I called my son. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men."
"Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of Heaven." (Matthew 19:14) The condition for claiming your reward is to receive the kingdom of God as a little child. So, do what it takes to rescue children from despair, wipe away their tears and nurture them for a bright future. You will be judged by the many kindnesses you extended.
Typically, Masaai warriors of Kenya greet each other with "How are the children?" They recognize that if the children are weeping and not doing well, the village will fail, but if they are strong and healthy, so will the village, and it takes the entire village to raise each child. Please consider carefully what you are feeding your children.
Happy New Year! Joy comes in the morning.