A doctor’s office had an appointment made and then cancelled several times over a period of a time and started to get frustrated with the patient. The staff sought the doctor’s approval to refuse further appointments. The doctor called the number and asked to speak to the individual making the appointments. The woman answering the call confirmed she was the individual.
She explained that her father, the patient, had cancelled the appointments. The doctor offered to wait until the patient himself called for the appointment, when the man suddenly took over the call; not realizing the actual doctor was on the phone. Once the man realized who was on the other end, he agreed to keep the appointment for the following day.
The patient was an elderly man who was experiencing leg pain. The doctor discovered the man had an old badly broken bone that had healed poorly and had caused years of damage. The undamaged leg had severe strain from years of being favored, and had developed various problems as well. The broken leg had been severely damaged from years of pooling blood, continuous swelling, and had other associated damage. It was obvious the man had been in great pain for many years.
When asked about this, the man refused to discuss the situation that caused the break, or his choice not to have it fixed. He simply wanted a solution to his current pain and expected the doctor to resolve that for him. He was willing to undergo surgery, or even a cast, he stated. The doctor was puzzled, but didn’t press the issue. He turned to the man’s daughter, the person who had been on the phone initially, and asked to speak with her privately.
The woman did not know what caused the break, but did have more information on the decision to leave the break and resulting symptoms untreated. She explained that her father was ‘stubborn and liked to be in charge’. The doctor replied that the amount of damage was extensive, and now required the removal of the leg, for gangrene had set in and was progressing dangerously. The woman shuddered visibly, and refused to re-enter the room with the doctor.
The doctor re-entered and surveyed his patient, wondering how he might share the news; knowing the character of the person he was dealing with. The man’s shoulders, although wearied by age, were still held proudly, as if ready to bear the news. His eyes were alert, and seemed keenly focused on the doctor as if suspicious of him. The doctor swallowed and then began to explain the diagnosis and treatment required. The man agreed to the procedure and some tests to validate his health. “Just fix it” he said.
A few days later the doctor met with the patient and his daughter again. The results were less promising than he had hoped. The risks to surgery were great, for the patient’s heart was weak, and it was possible the treatment would kill him. Sadly, the doctor explained, the choice to wait so long would probably mean his life would end sooner than it should have. The woman shook her head and said nothing. The patient was silent for a minute, and then turned to his daughter as the doctor left the room. He overheard the patient say “You should have been more convincing.”
Moral of the Story:
4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
In Matthew 2:4 we read about Herod DEMANDING answers. Power can sometimes lead to a greater awareness of a moment of powerlessness. Some handle that better than others, while others let the ‘poop’ roll downhill. Rather than celebrate the potential of the promise being fulfilled, I guess it was more important to be in control for Herod. I’m not a maniac like Herod, so what’s in this for me?
Well, as I started to think about this I started to see some problems. It’s not that I want to be in charge, but when I am, I recognize there are times where I don’t necessarily welcome anyone bringing up something I failed to see or didn’t want to hear. I recognize this is my own pride getting the better of me. It’s easy to excuse it or ignore it, but honestly as I thought more about this response of Herod’s I had to say…there’s more to this in my own life. Time to put away my quick-to-judge attitude and realize I have some work to do as well.