A physician’s residency is not typically known as an easy time of blow-off fun. Well, unless of course you enjoy taking 2-day 16-hour exams (no joke!) and trying to actually sleep with your God-forsaken pager three inches from your head like a ticking time bomb. Or more accurately like the embodiment of evil in a small plastic casing. Every time I hear that ringtone on someone else’s device I still lose a few months of my life to sudden palpitations. But there are also times of true bliss, and one of the best is when you finally get that job offer you’ve spent oh, say 28 total years of education (no joke again!) to receive.
For me, that glorious moment came rather unexpectedly. I was 18 months from finishing residency and had lots of work and a big fat oral board exam to pass (basically a 5 hour timed interrogation of everything you know), which kept my mind more than occupied. I had thrown out some curiosity questions to a couple friends in radiology groups that seemed like a good fit for me and my wife, but that was it. Then one day I got home from work, opened up this strange manila envelope in the mail, and pulled out a job contract for the largest radiology group in the country right where I was hoping to practice?!?!
Needles to say I was shocked and stoked at the same time! Turns out through the grace of God, a resident who had graduated two years prior had tossed my name in the ring when her group was looking to hire, and boom, done, I had a job that I continue working at today. Even when you don’t know it is, it really is all who you know.
Now it’s important I pause to say that not every job for me has come this easily, and I don’t mean this to be insensitive in any way toward those who long for employment but can’t find it. I’m not some amazing person who deserves a job more than anyone else; in fact, that’s my whole point. I received an offer I hadn’t earned because I knew someone who could give me what I needed.
As significant as a job is, this principle also applies to our greatest need of all: salvation from sin and separation from God and his goodness. God offers us himself in a place of eternal life, but our universal imperfection does not deserve it. And we can’t become perfect or erase our mistakes by doing good either.
But here’s the twist: God never created us with the primary purpose of being perfect. He created us with the primary purpose of knowing him. “From one man he made every nation of men…so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, although he is not far from each one of us” (Acts 17:26-27). In heaven we don’t find a bunch of people marveling at how perfect they are, we find them and God finally enjoying this intimate community with each other they were created for (Revelation 21:1-7)!
Yes, living according to God’s ideals and doing good things are an absolutely essential part of a person’s life who ends up in heaven, but because she does them as a natural result of knowing God better and better, not in order to achieve salvation.
So many get this confused and focus on the doing and not the knowing. The problem is that heaven is not at all about who did the right stuff (as Jesus rather poignantly points out in Matthew 7:22-23). There is no place for God in such a heaven, only a place for people who do things that seem godly. Heaven is all about who you know, if you want perfect eternal community with your Creator who demands what’s best for you or if you want a place without him where you can try to seek what you feel is better (Click to tweet).
Kind of ironically, just weeks after I got hired, I was sitting at Children’s Hospital in Detroit listening to some music while working…a song called “It’s All Who You Know” by the Newsboys. I gotta be frank, it wasn’t one of the band’s greatest musical achievements, but the chorus I love and keep on my playlist because it captures the tremendous, titular truth so well…
“After the climb, after time turns designs to despair, it is good, nothing’s fair. It’s all who you know. And after the fall, after all of our strivings are dust, even so, good for us, it’s all who you know.”
When your focus is on fulfilling your very purpose of reaching out for, finding, and knowing God, you’ll find yourself-not force yourself-to be valuing God’s ideals and doing more things he would do (Click to tweet). Increasingly now and perfectly in heaven.
To discover more how everything God does with humanity centers around his purpose for each of us and how he desires to and does use that for the healing of this world, download (free as always!) my book series Healing Hereafter. And while you’re at it, have a great weekend!