Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. 1 Corinthians 1:27
It is Tuesday, May 12, 2020. Since Mother’s Day, 5/10/2020, there are 50,392 new cases of the Coronavirus in the United States, and the death rate has reached 79,756. The current numbers: Total Cases: 1,324,488 and Total Deaths: 79,756.
Did we have to experience a pandemic within a pandemic? The most effective measure of curtailing the COVID-19 virus was to practice Stay-at-Home and Shelter-in-Place measures. Currently, there are no vaccines or pharmacological medications that can effectively prevent or treat Coronavirus. Nevertheless, many individuals are not doing their part to prevent the spread of this disease.
But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from God’s Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them, and they can’t understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. 1 Corinthians 2:14
If a child receives instructions from their parents to “Stay-at-Home,” the directive is understood. Either they have a choice to do what is right and to obey, or to willfully disobey and suffer the consequences. So why are so many individuals disregarding the most effective measures of staying at home and social distancing?
For those who view human life through the eyes of mathematical figures or dollar signs, just for a moment, let’s stretch our imagination and look through their eyes in an attempt to understand their mindset. In 2019, there was an estimated number of 328.2 million people in the United States, and compared to the total number of Coronavirus Cases and Total Deaths, only 0.65% of the total population is affected. Now we understand the willingness to sacrifice human life, the statistics have not even reached 1% of the total U.S. population.
A question that most people never ask themselves is, “What if I am wrong?” Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18
The outcome for those who possess pride is fixed, and it leads to destruction. Pride is the catalyst that makes us doubt and disobey God. Pride destroys our relationship with God by leading us to believe that our decisions will produce the best outcomes. As we separate ourselves from the source and reject spiritual guidance, we engage in self-destructive behaviors that guarantee the loss of Eternal life.
Pride is the most vicious of all character traits, it abolishes all love and compassion for others, and causes us to disregard the value of humanity.
At times, I reflect on the events that have shaped my life experience. One of the most significant is the 12 years that I persevered to obtain my nursing degree. The one person who etched a permanent memory was our first-semester Clinical Professor. Instructor. Professor Betty* had a mouth so vicious that we immediately took a dislike to her, and we prayed that the schedule of four days a week, seven hours a day for 16 weeks, would end quickly. On the first day of class, we listened to an introductory speech that filled us with fear. I can recall our Professor telling us to take a good look at each other because only half of us would make it through the nursing program.
The weeks passed slowly, and during the semester, our nursing professor lived up to her reputation, especially following the grading of an exam. The following day we would review the correct answers and the rationale for all questions answered incorrectly. She would begin by laughing and stating her favorite phrase, “Let’s see how many patients you have killed by what you thought was the right thing to do.”
Before the third review, the students with strong personalities made the decision that they were not going to take our Professor’s bad attitude any longer and made a plan to confront her as soon as we received our graded exams that morning. Although, I was not included in the “Strong Ones” group because they were aware that I was a Christian, one of my classmates disclosed earlier that morning that something terrible was going to happen in class. Our Professor listened to the complaints regarding her demeanor and laughed, she told us that her responsibility to produce nurses who would do no harm to their patients did not include students liking her as a person.
We struggled to maintain our dignity and self-respect during review time by attempting to justify our incorrect answers. Little did we realize that our wounded pride and well-meaning rationales could produce deadly outcomes. Our Instructor remained steadfast and responded, “If you took that action, then your patient would either suffer serious adverse effects, or they would die.”
The percentage of failures from the program far exceeded our Professor’s prediction of 50%. Only 26% of the initial enrollees graduated from the rigorous RN program in Upstate New York. 27 students excitedly began the Clinical program, but the severity of the program required intense study and memorization of countless diseases. The ability to apply astute judgment, and critical thinking skills along with performing best practice measures, in a hospital setting, with the eyes of Nursing Professors monitoring your actions took its toll. Seven nursing students survived the sacrificial demands of a program that was developed to break down and rebuild for the purpose of serving patients with acute, chronic, and terminal illnesses physically, and mentally.
As the seven of us quietly waited in the Student Lounge to complete our Exit Interviews, we reflected on our journey and embraced each other for the final time as Student Nurses. On that bitterly cold December day, one by one, we left the building to take our victory walk as Graduate Nurses to the icy parking lot reserved for students. However, the journey was not complete. We had another hurdle, and that was to pass our State Licensure Exam. The NCLEX examination further eliminated those who could not use astute nursing judgment and critical thinking skills for their clinical practice. Only five of us passed the exam and actively practiced nursing until retirement.
Although Professor Betty* had poor interpersonal skills, I am thankful for my first semester Clinical Professor who went above and beyond. Yes, she taught us nursing theory, critical thinking skills, and nursing judgment. However, she taught us to assess each patient and to listen to their personal report of the history and symptoms that they experienced. We also learned never to assume and to factor in that patients with the same disease may have different symptoms.
Our skills increased to anticipate the possibility that a situation can quickly change from bad to critical. Our Professor taught us to use our five senses as the tools to ensure that patient safety was our first priority in every interaction with our patients. The answer to this question, “Will my interventions provide best practice, safety and prevent harm to the patients that I am caring for?” always had to be a resounding yes.
For those of us who became Registered Professional Nurses, we realized that Professor Betty* was not brutal. She was the necessary instrument used to reshape the minds of students into healthcare professionals that took an oath to practice the ethical principle of nonmaleficence– to do no harm. Just FYI: All of the rebellious students eventually failed the nursing program because of their resistance to learning and the inability to use astute nursing judgment and critical thinking skills.
My perspective of life changed during the nursing program. Yes, I was keenly aware that humanity is created in the image of God, but it was when I graduated and became licensed to practice nursing that I grew in awe of the love that our Heavenly Father has for us.
For the Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Job 33:4
Validate who you are and who you belong to by making the commitment to pursue positive changes in your life! By staying safe, we give honor to God!
To empower oneself involves making conscious decisions and implementing measures for improvement. Achievements do not happen quickly, they are the result of desire and perseverance. The desire to learn, to receive knowledge, and apply said experience to your life is an ongoing process and should continue throughout your lifespan. There are character traits that you must possess for self-improvement; love for God, faith, trust, obedience, and patience. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest (of blessings) if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9
We have reached a crossroads in our lives. There is a decision that we must make to move forward. Whether we accept the journey and adapt to create New Normals, which promote our safe-keeping or stand still, looking in retrospect, it is a choice that will improve our status or eventually destroy us.
The COVID-19 is an unknown virus that will require many interventions that may not give the desired outcome. But we do not give up and do nothing. We keep striving to find methods to curtail the tsunami effect of the Coronavirus. Without God, we do not see the endless possibilities, nor do we have the desire to struggle and become victorious.
Abolish the mindset that there are no other options in life. Change is always possible. We must destroy the mental roadblock that has us running in place. Pray and ask God to show you creative ways to develop a modified lifestyle. The desire for self-preservation is fueled by loving God, loving others, and loving yourself.
To place yourself in harm’s way by desiring a [prior life is an intentional action. Change requires thinking outside of the box, pursuing knowledge, and praying for the gift of wisdom. James 1:5 tells us, “If you ask for Wisdom, God will give it generously without finding fault: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
Asking yourself, “What if I am wrong?” releases preconceived notions and gives the freedom to escape from making counterproductive decisions. Pray and ask forgiveness for wayward thoughts and harmful practices. Pray for guidance, God is full of grace and mercies. God will give you wisdom and show you how to develop a new way of thinking and to live safely with positive outcomes.
We can prepare ourselves one day at a time for Eternal life by thanking and honoring God for making our bodies and minds as a replica of His image. God is here, and He is lovingly waiting for you and me to approach His Throne of Grace.
Prayer: God, we thank you and ask for the wisdom to develop the necessary changes in our lifestyles that reflect your plan for us. In Jesus’ Name, we ask this prayer. Amen.
*Name changed to protect her identity.
Bible Readings: 1 Corinthians 6
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2020, No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted for commercial purposes without the written permission of the author.