Many people have asked me how had my work been since transferring to the new hospital. It was just another way of saying “How are you?”. Yet, I often found it difficult to give an answer. This was not because work was busy or tough, which is normally associated with a nursing profession. But it was because of issues like people, culture, a work environment that made it hard for me to fit in. Conflicts, complaints, gossips, hatred seemed rampant here. This led to diminishing work satisfaction, fulfilment and passion, which resulted in more complaining, judging and even condemning.
Do I choose to please God or to please men?
I have no doubt what the correct answer is.
But it was easier to give an answer in words than in action.
Ironically, while I was praying for a friend who was struggling with unfulfillment at work during my personal prayer time, the Lord spoke to me through 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. It did not say be joyful only when things were going well, or pray continually only when things were not, or give thanks only when your prayers were answered. But, “in all circumstances”. No matter how good or bad a situation was, it was His command and will for us, His disciples, who belong to Jesus Christ, to obey.
As I prayed for her to be filled with love, joy, and gratitude at work, it hit me that I should reflect on my own attitude and posture towards the people I was working with, and for the work environment I was in. I constantly found myself bombarded by all the negativity that I ended up in a sour mood rather than deep-seated joy.
We need to remember that nothing should rob our joy, for joy is not based on feelings and circumstances. Instead it is the exhilaration of spirit that comes from deep-rooted confidence in God’s love, power, and the mighty work of His hands in our lives. To have a conscious attitude of contentment and hope that comes from focusing on Christ – the eternal treasure that we have received freely from God.
If I have not been praying intentionally and persistently for my colleagues and fellow health care workers, should I be surprised that the people and work environment are both difficult? The workplace is our mission field. Jesus calls us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matt 5:13-14). I, a follower of Christ ought to then stand out, to bring about a positive influence – the way salt seasons its food and be a light in the darkness, for others to find their way.
Where there is conflict, be the peacemaker.
Where there is complaint and gossip, confront it with love and turn it into prayer.
Where there is hatred, forgive and exemplify the love of God – returning good for evil.
I recognise that everything listed above is beyond my abilities to fulfil in the flesh, this is why I need to be in “Christ Jesus”, being in union with Him through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; who will empower and enable me to do so.
Let us all then “rejoice always, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances” because “this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus”. Then the world will see the difference coming from us, and give glory to our Father in heaven!
By Sister Melody Chen Liying (YCKC Bulletin 23&24 February 2019)