By: Dr. Glenn Gaines, CVM South Central Region Representative
It was going to be another wonderful devotional breakfast at the Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association meeting. We would have breakfast, students would share about their mission trip to Honduras, then someone would share God’s Word and the group of attendees would go on to the meetings for the day. However, this meeting turned out to be different. I am sure you remember Baton Rouge experienced the worst flooding they had ever seen last year. By one vet’s account, he had more than 36 inches of rain in 34 hours!
The speakers at the CVM breakfast meetings are not told what to speak on, but they are encouraged to see what God lays on their hearts. As you can imagine, it can be a multitude of topics; but this day the devotion was on ‘Spiritual Seasons Of Life.” With the flooding still very much on the minds of people, Dr. Baker shared a great devotion and talked about the “Winter Season” people go through in their spiritual lives.
His talk hit home with most everyone in the room as I think we all have gone through trials in life and have seen our spiritual lives not growing or even dead as we struggle with the trials we have gone through or are going through. During these times, our spiritual lives may not have the attractiveness needed to draw people to Christ. As someone said to me a long time ago, “We are either in a trial, coming out of one, or fixing to go into one.” Since Scripture is filled with people going through trials, I have never understood why Biblical Christians would think God loves us less than those He spoke of in His Word. Often, though, it becomes hard to feel the presence of God during those times. We tend to let our emotions take over, and we can drift away from God.
That morning, however, something happened everyone could learn a lesson from. Dr. Baker asked the group if anyone had comments; and a vet friend spoke up about how his house, clinic, cars, trailer, and everything he had in Baton Rouge had flooded. Another vet spoke about how her dad’s clinic had flooded. Another spoke of people coming together to help one another during this catastrophe. It was an emotional time, but it was also a healing time as some spoke of how faithful God is in the devastation from the flooding. It was such a blessing to me to hear how people endured (James 1:12, Blessed is the man that perseveres in trials).
After we closed the meeting so people could get back to their C.E. classes, even more incredible things happened. People felt an openness to share their lives. They saw that people were being honest and open about their struggles and trials. It was a blessing to have three other folks come to me during the day to talk about “trials” going on in their lives. These individuals felt “safe” sharing their hearts with me about their hurts and pains of life and family. What a privilege is was to talk into their lives and continue to be part of their path to seeing God’s hand holding them up during this time of their lives.
Part of the ministry that Christian Veterinary Mission is involved in is just “being there” for the veterinary profession. We offer an ear and a heart to those who are rejoicing and those who are hurting. There are many in the vet community who are walking a tough life just like each of us do at times. It is great to be part of that season of their lives and offer some hope and spiritual guidance, as well as our friendship. Offering a listening heart, a prayer, a relevant Scripture, a person or place to turn to, or materials that touch on the area that is troubling them, helps them to see at least a little “break” from the hurts and the trials.
Being honest and open with a Christian Brother or Sister is so helpful for each of us. The people who are sick and hurting physically who never go to the doctor and explain what is going on will never be able to get treatment for their conditions. The same is true for the spiritually sick and hurting. We have to open up to God, and sometimes it helps to open up to our Christian family and friends so that we can seek and find healing.
The friend who lost everything shared how God had been faithful by walking with him and his wife. They had people come alongside them; but one thing that was so amazing was how his vet school classmates, some of them he had not seen in over 40 years, loved on them. They came to Louisiana and helped with cleanup, they called to give encouragement, they sent money to help, etc. In the darkness this vet and his wife felt was surrounding them, God showed them a LIGHT OF HOPE, a LIGHT of PERSEVERANCE, and a LIGHT OF PRAISE, even when Satan was trying to flood them with an intense amount of discouragement.
Proverbs 3:27 says, “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.” What a powerful way for us to show God’s love. Many people in our circles of acquaintances are hurting physically, mentally, and spiritually. We should all remember God has placed us right now during this “season” in our lives to be able to help people who are having “winter seasons” in their spiritual lives.
Will you pray with us as we seek knowledge and wisdom and as our paths cross with those who are in need of God’s love and wisdom? May we be obedient in seeking the correct words to say and listen to the Holy Spirit to know the correct time to speak.