An excerpt from the first chapter in the book “A Servants Call” (not yet in print) by Dr. Stephen J. Morgan – most notably referred to as “Doc”.
There comes a point in time in everyone’s life where professionally you are just there. You’ve seen it, you’ve done it, you’ve learned it, and you’ve perfected it! The lord laid a profession on your heart, you’ve replied “Here I am Lord, speak for your servant is listening” and you obey. Well after a Business degree, 10 years working in the world of Finance, a Science degree, a dental degree and 15 years of running a dental practice, I felt like Moses spending those 40 years in the desert after he killed an Egyptian; trained and ready for something more. For God to plug me in to my next adventure – my next calling.
That’s where my life was near the end of 2006, just after my father died. I felt God was calling me for a more personal closeness to Him; my Heavenly Father. It was one of the nagging feelings many of us have had but have a fogginess of how to approach the process. So I did the only thing I remember being taught in this area. I started reading my Bible and praying daily. Specific prayers to my God using my talents in dentistry to further His kingdom. I knew he didn’t need anything from me, not my dental talent (His talent), not my money (His money), not my business sense (His sense), just my obedience. To be an obedient servant who trusts Him with no reservations or hesitations. That’s all, just me; He wanted me. So I began to earnestly pray that winter of 2006, 12 years ago. I wasn’t anxious, I wasn’t nervous, (ok, ok maybe a little), I was patient and prayed daily for the Lord to use me above where I was at in my walk with Him. That he would show me the way I would follow.
I must say, it is a little nerve-wracking to pray like this. Being taught both in a Christian home and Christian schools I attended that God was a jealous God, this was NOTsomething to fool around with. I was asking Him to reveal his purpose in me and I knew there was more He wanted from me. I don’t consider myself a brave man; in fact, just the opposite. But if I was going to open myself up to serving Him, then I HADto be ALLIN. Taking a GIANTstep out of my comfort zone was a bit unnerving (maybe a lot!).
Well, I always say God has a sense of humor and I love that about Him! In the spring of 2007 my life as I knew it moved in a direction I wasn’t ready for. Through all my prayers and believing I knew my Lord so well, I expected some increased service time. Maybe with the homeless in Traverse City, MI or maybe sponsoring dental clinics for the poor, or even going to a place like Anvil, Kentucky and offering dental services there. I even started pushing the envelope in those first to areas I mentioned thinking God was waiting for me to act. Oh how shallow my faith can be! Let me tell you the story that led to my 12 years and counting of serving in Costa Rica:
In the spring of 2007 I was doing what I’ve done for years after playing sports, I was coaching sports. This particular year I was coaching my daughter Emily’s high school varsity basketball team. She was a senior and every year seniors went on a mission trip somewhere before graduation. This particular year it happened to be Costa Rica through Pura Vida Missions under Gloria & DeLynn Hoover. Well, I was close to the six seniors, having coached them for a number of years, so they asked collectively if I would come along as a chaperone. I’d say it took as long as it just took me to write chaperone to accept. One of my many tasks was to contact the head missionary (DeLynn) to get a list of all necessary criteria for the trip. In one of our conversations he asked what I did for a living so I said I was a dentist. He very quickly became quite excited, to my bewilderment, and explained they needed dentists in certain areas of Costa Rica in a bad way and just so happened to know of a clinic available if I could bring instruments and supplies. Not knowing what to say, I simply told him I would pray about it and hung up. I had nothing more to say, nor could I. I just sat and cried, literally cried. Could this possibly be God’s answer to my prayers of the last few months, and if so, where in the world was he sending me…me?!
First I needed to look on the map just to see where exactly Costa Rica is, and then the language, and then the weather, and the…the…the – please Lord don’t send me to Africa…AGH!
That same night, I knew I had made a grave, grave error; sin really. Here I had been praying earnestly for Him to branch me into other services for Him and what did I do? Did I leap with joy and excitement? Did I fall on my knees and praise Him? Did I even just smile and say ‘thank you’? Nope. I pulled away; I doubted, I became anxious and excuses began to formulate within. I had failed Him once again. My heart became very heavy, guilt-ridden actually.
Well my night was restless with lots of prayers and tears. As daylight approached, my tears of anguish began to turn into tears of excitement and relief. God had answered my prayers and sent me packing. Was He actually sending me to an area I knew communication would be difficult, almost impossible? Am I to help a group of people I didn’t know or even look like? Would I be accepted? Could I even get my instruments into the country? God are you actually talking to ME??? Who am I to bend God’s ear? He listens and cares about me?
The story continues with a few more twists and turns before my life as I knew it would be change forever. And yes, all this plays into my relationship with Kimi, Raul & Esperanza Mission, and ultimately in my walk with my Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. But alas, I have overextended my word allowance in this blog and have to graciously ask Kimi & Raul if I can continue this adventure story next month. I apologize for my wordiness, but if this causes even one person to look at themselves in regard to their relationship with our Lord and pursue Him, then His work in my life has purpose. For is it good works that God demands of us or is it simply obedience? To obey him…then serve out of gratitude. That’s how I read my Bible.
Humbly - Doc