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"Whether we fully realise it or not, we were called into medicine for such a time as this," writes Dr Tan Soo Inn, chaplain of the Christian Medical and Dental Fellowship (CMDF). Photo from Tan Tock Seng Hospital's Facebook page.

I have the privilege of serving as the chaplain of the Christian Medical and Dental Fellowship (CMDF), Singapore. In my capacity as chaplain I sent out the following note to the CMDF community on Wednesday, February 19, 2020. 


Dear friends,

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

Ours is a sacrificial service with all the attendant dangers. It is one way we carry our cross as we follow Jesus.

Once again those of us in healthcare are at the frontline of a major health challenge.

Again, the long hours, constantly updated circumstances and, though we are the ones who have to follow the strictest protective protocols, there is no running away from the fact that many of us are the ones closest to those who are ill.

We remember the fatalities of the SARS epidemic, and the ultimate price paid by some of our colleagues in Wuhan. Surely this is at the back of our minds, when we have the energy and time to think. We have to decide how we should live to minimise risk and fear for those closest to us.

This is a challenging time.

For such a time as this

First, whether we fully realise it or not, we were called into medicine for such a time as this.

We should be careful to take all protective measures, but we must also remember that our lives are in God’s hands.

We are Christ’s representatives to bring healing and comfort to those afflicted and their loved ones. We do so with all the compassion and competence we can muster. It is a sacrificial service with all the attendant dangers. It is one way we carry our cross as we follow Jesus.

Second, we should be careful to take all protective measures, but we must also remember that our lives are in God’s hands.

While we minister in obedience to His call, we can trust Him to care for us. He is the one who decides when it is time for us to go home to Him. This is always true, virus outbreak or not.

Third, we must do our part to maintain our lives. We must be disciplined to care for ourselves holistically: Physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially — we must ensure that we practice adequate self-care.

Novel coronavirus: Testing, testing

This may be extra challenging since our routines are topsy-turvy. But this is critical. We do not know how long this outbreak will continue to afflict us.

We need to be prepared for the long haul and that means living a day at a time, doing what we need to do to keep healthy.

The Lord will remember

The toughest challenge may be the fact that some members of the public may shun us because they fear that they may get infected if they get close to us.

Let us count it a privilege to be healers in the name of the Healer.

This is perhaps the most painful blow, being rejected by the very ones we have been called to care for. This is surely cause for anger, yet we remember that in this too, we are experiencing what our Lord experienced.

No, life in a fallen world is not fair, but the Lord will remember what you have done and had to go through, and He will reward/recompense you at the proper time.

So, my dear brothers and sisters, let us pray for one another and encourage one another as we serve Him in these trying times.

Let us count it a privilege to be healers in the name of the Healer.

Your brother,

Soo Inn

Chaplain,
CMDF Singapore


This post was first published on Graceworks on February 21, 2020, and is republished with permission.

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About the author

Rev Dr Tan Soo-Inn

Rev Dr Tan Soo-Inn is the founding director of Graceworks. Since 1985, he has been journeying with people through his ministry of preaching/teaching, writing and mentoring. Originally trained as a dentist, he answered God's call to go into full-time, church-related ministry in 1981. He is an Arsenal Football Club fan and his favourite movie is Star Wars: Episode IV.