The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants.

Albert Camus

By Dr. Jim Ferguson

A retired colleague recently asked me what I do all week. He was curious about when I write my Focus column, but I sensed his question was also about retirement in general and how one fills the days. And this got me thinking about purpose.

When I was practicing medicine, I had a different purpose and focus than I do now. Much of my day then – and a lot of nights and weekends – was focused on taking care of patients. That purpose is over, although I am still available to explain medicalease to friends and family.

Through all those years I remain married to a wonderful woman whom you met last week When the Doctor was not In. And we just celebrated our 48th anniversary. Becky managed our home, shepherded our kids and enabled me to practice medicine. But more so, she remains my example of a purpose-filled life in Christ that fashions her general goodness.

It’s now been 50 years since I came back to Christianity, to what Abraham Lincoln called his “ancient religion.” As I look back through the years, I wonder if my focus was sometimes misplaced. Sure, I was a husband, a father of two daughters, a doctor, and a Christian, but did I do enough? Were my priorities correct?

As my readers know, I like movies because a shared cinematic vision may be able to express a sentiment better than the written word. An example is the movie “Saving Private Ryan.” It begins in a military cemetery in France, where the aging Private Ryan poignantly asks his wife and family if his life was good enough to justify the sacrifices others made for him. The movie graphically depicts the savagery of war which, thankfully, I have not experienced. However, the overarching question is the concept of a purposeful life.

Like Private Ryan, I have been blessed with a purpose-filled life made possible by others. Yes, I worked hard, but all my efforts would have been for naught were it not for the sacrifices of my parents, soldiers, police, industrialists, workers, scientists, teachers, etc. Unfortunately, many don’t recognize or acknowledge this truth. Isaac Newton once said that he was able to describe the laws of gravity because he “stood on the shoulders of giants”- of those before him.

My medical focus is now over. My children are raised, educated and launched. I do play a supportive role as a grandfather. And never a day goes by without telling and showing my wife how much I love her. But as I list this hierarchy of purposes, I wonder if I’ve missed the mark. My foremost raison d’etre (reason for being) should be my relationship with the Lord.

The Apostle Paul was the great expositor of the Gospel. He was uniquely qualified to transmit the Christian message throughout the ancient world because he was highly educated, a Pharisee, a Roman citizen, spoke multiple languages and, after experiencing the risen Christ, he was passionately motivated to share the Gospel with the world. And he was no shabby philosopher.

In my travels, I have been to Athens, Greece and stood by the Areopagus where Paul debated the Sophist and Epicurean experts described in Acts 17:16-34. Paul compliments the Greek philosophers by noting they “are very religious,” But especially impactful for me is Paul quoting the Cretan philosopher Epimenides in verse 28, “In Him we live and move and have our being.” This is how I see myself. Nothing I do or think operates outside of God’s creation. So if I get temporarily distracted by life, I can quickly reorient and repurpose myself. And like a tightrope aerialist, God affords me that luxury with His “safety net of Grace” (Phillip Yancey).

In my latter years, I have been blessed with a new purpose. Paul said in Ephesians chapter 4, we are to “speak the truth in love.” And in my 2nd career as a writer that new purpose is realized with this column. For me, the most difficult aspect of truth-telling is speaking in a loving manner to the confused or the minions of evil.

When you see something that is wrong or evil how should you conduct yourself? The anti-Nazi Lutheran minister Dietrich Bonhoeffer said it best, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” And make no mistake, what is happening in America and to President Trump is profoundly evil. It’s not the Russians who are destroying America and interfering with the election process; it is the Democrats. And I will not remain silent.

There is much that is “not working” in our country. The Congress is a total mess. Washington and government institutions (justice system, intelligence agencies, etc.) have been corrupted. The president is demented and a shill for the destructive policies of Progressive Democrats. The border is gone. We are no longer energy independent. The military leadership is woke. We are ruinously in debt. The Democrat-run cities are falling apart with drugs, crime and homelessness.

And on top of all this, President Trump is in court for a loan made years ago which was fully repaid. No matter what you think of President Trump, if the police state can destroy a former president, no one is safe. It is amazing that loons in academia, Democrat socialists, the corrupt media and entertainment nutjobs scream for the mob to hang Trump. History teaches that when the tyrannical mob takes over, the cry for blood escalates and the “elites” are soon dragged to the guillotine, as during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. I don’t know how this will end, but we may have entered America’s Reign of Terror.

So what is working in October 2023? God’s majestic creation is working. My trust in the Lord is solid. My marriage is great. My kids and grandkids are doing well. My new Church is working. I have enough time, resources and good friends. My foremost purpose is to seek and praise the Lord. But I also am compelled to be a “voice crying in the wilderness,” singing the Lord’s song in what is becoming an increasingly foreign land (Psalm 137:4).