A nearly nine year career as a pharmaceutical sales representative has come to an end. It was one I enjoyed and had sought for a number of years before finally getting a job in it. God allowed me to work at it for these years to “get it out of my system”, I think. I don’t think he wanted to listen to me wistfully say, with yearning in my voice, “I always wanted to do that” for the rest of my life. Now it’s part of my past. I have learned a lot. However, I have been being pulled into a different direction for the last three and a half years. And now I believe that God is directing me there more explicitly and pointedly, as I have surrendered my will to His in this matter. I’m taking a little time to rest and reorganize some aspects of my life. Then I trust He will show me what the next step is.
In thinking about what I’ve learned in pharmaceutical sales, I reflect on how much I’ve learned about asthma and cardiovascular disease. I’ve learned that people can appear perfectly healthy and asymptomatic one minute and be dead the next. I’ve learned about cholesterol, stable and unstable atheromatous plagues, hypertension, and ischemia.
In 1997, before my experience in selling drugs for heart disease, when I was experiencing psychosis, there was an ad that I kept seeing again and again that said, “What you don’t know about heart disease can kill you.” It seemed to be saying something specifically to me. I seemed to know at the time that it wasn’t just about the physical malady called heart disease.
Through the years I have learned that heart disease is a “silent killer”. People seldom have symptoms until they have had or are on the verge of a heart attack. For 1/3 of people with latent cardiovascular disease, a heart attack is the first symptom of heart disease.
Now that I have come to know that much of what God teaches me in the physical realm has a spiritual corollary, I know that people with spiritual heart “disease” are often clueless, as well. They don’t know that their hearts are corrupt and that their relationship with the Great Physician is wanting until they suffer some heart wrenching experience in life and find themselves with hearts that seem, to them, broken beyond repair. My own experience in 1997 of a spiritual “circumcision of the heart” taught me that God alone is trustworthy as a physician to mend a broken heart.
I think this understanding that God has brought about through personal experience, career training, and spiritual insight has led me into healing and recovery ministry. I truly do hurt for hurting people. My hurt comes in seeing them struggle for answers and watching them grapple with whether and how to cast it all upon the Lord. I have found that my experience is often woefully inadequate as a witness and as a balm to their pain. Just as I found few who’d been where I found myself in 1997, I see the hopelessness in eyes as people vainly search for someone, anyone, who understands and can help. For me the answer was Jesus. For them the answer is Jesus.
It is a fact that what one doesn’t know about heart disease can kill her. It’s a physical fact. It’s a spiritual fact. Thankfully, there is a diagnostician, interventional cardiologist, and surgeon who has a flawless record. He also happens to be the one who created the heart we have and who knows all its weaknesses and flaws. We have only to entrust our hearts to Him. Hopefully, we take a preventative approach, consulting Him BEFORE disaster strikes. But even if we don’t, He’s still able to bring healing and health.