Diane Komp grew up memorizing Bible verses. But becoming a physician confronted her with some realities she thought her list of Bible verses could not explain: namely, why the children she treated were suffering and dying.
"If there is no justice in the universe, I reasoned, there cannot be a God. If there is no loving God, what use is a God at all? These were my first steps in going AWOL—Absent WithOut the Lord," writes Komp in her latest book, Breakfast for the Heart: Meditations to Nourish Your Soul (Zondervan).
Her journey into disbelief lasted 15 years. It was eventually challenged by the same people who prompted her loss of faith: suffering children.
As a pediatric oncologist, now at Yale University, Komp became close to several dying children and their families. Their examples of grace, faith, and miracle caused her to rethink how God works. "One day at the hospital, I had no medicine or words of consolation to offer seven-year-old Anna. I … sat there quietly in the darkened room with the dying child and her parents. At the moment of her death, Anna saw and heard angels. Her pale face was transformed by perfect peace. Let not your hearts be troubled, I heard. Where did those words come from? My peace I give to you, not as the world gives. In the quiet of my heart, I heard the Word (from John 14:1, 27). … In medical school I learned to suppress my feelings about my patients, but God had never removed his Word from my heart. It was all there, stored up for the time when I could hear with more than my ears."
Since that day, Diane Komp has written three books, collecting wonderful tales of children and their families (recently released as a single volume, Images of Grace, published by Zondervan). In addition, she provides expert advice on the many issues surrounding medicine and ethics. Her name often appears in ct's news section and is generously spread throughout this issue's cover story, "Doctors Who Pray" (p. 20).
On the lasting lessons of facing so many deaths, she says, "We die the way we live. If we accepted the uncertainties in life as a given, perhaps we wouldn't be consumed with trying to control our endings. I'm touched by the life and now serious illness of Mother Teresa. When her own life was in the balance, she didn't jump on a jet for America. She stayed with the people she has served her whole career. She will die the way she lived, and Christendom will be richer for her Christlike example."
Copyright © 1997 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
January 6, 1997 Vol. 41, No. 1, Page 4
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