August 1, 2019

Unashamed

She needed a job, and they needed . . .

Abigail Duman

The Lord knew that I needed a job. At the tender age of 20 I clearly remember the day of my interview as rain drizzled on the sidewalk that led to the single-story hospital.

Months had passed in my employment search without obtaining a single interview for a position as a medical assistant. Sitting before the manager’s desk with hands folded, I answered the woman’s anticipated questions and prayed that this interview was finally God’s answer to my need.

“What are your strengths? Your weaknesses?”

As the interview progressed, I felt a growing impression to share my faith with the interviewer. In a fleeting second I wondered whether, by sharing my faith, I risked lowering my prospects of obtaining the job. Be unashamed. With these words echoing in my mind, I took a deep breath.

“What brought you here from New England?”

“I’m marrying a Southerner,” I responded. Then I plunged forward. “I feel certain that God has led me to Alabama. I want to live up to His standard of excellence for me as a Christian, and I intend to carry this into all my future endeavors.”

The woman tucked a blond curl behind her ear. “Wonderful,” she said, almost reverently. “I want this to work out. I should mention one more thing . . .” She paused to the sound of a gentle clock ticking on the sterile office wall.

“The doctor you would be assisting is single, and he likes young women. Would your fiancé be uncomfortable knowing this?”

“He has no reason to doubt my faithfulness,” I said, wondering naively if questions of such a nature were typically discussed with prospective employees.

We mustn’t measure an apparent lack of witnessing breakthroughs as an indicator of how many we have reached for Christ.

“Very good.” She rose from her chair. “I’ll call you within the week to keep you updated.”

I felt strangely drawn to this job. Her description exactly fit all my hopes for a schedule and hours with surprisingly low-stress labor. I prayed for God to rule according to His great power. To my delight, the manager offered me the job.

A Reputation

“Which doctor will you be working with?” the Pulmonary Department’s manager asked as he fitted a mask around my face to complete the day’s orientation.

“Dr. Williams, I believe.”

The man chuckled. “Well, bless your heart.”

Dr. Williams* was a short man in his 50s with a warm smile. His keen sense of humor, combined with strong political opinions, kept the nurses’ station where I worked teeming with interesting thoughts, newspapers, and warm coffee brewing. He whistled Christmas carols as he strolled the long hallway. “Nice to meet you,” he extended a hand.

“Let me take you to see Lesa.” The manager, Evelyn, led me to a glass window where a woman lifted a dark head of thick hair and repositioned her glasses. A certain frankness and sincerity of heart exuded from her as she surveyed my slender form as I stood in front of her, all 5’ 2” of me.

“I look forward to becoming better acquainted,” she said simply, with a faint light of surprise in her eyes.

The beginning days of work seemed simple. Evelyn managed the department kindly, and Lesa carried a soft heart behind an unyielding manner. From time to time nurses whispered in hushed tones and the doctor mysteriously disappeared from the office as Lesa tapped her fingers across the smooth desk, eyeing the clock. In those moments this honest Baptist looked at me wistfully. “Oh, Abigail, there are so many things I wish I could tell you.”

I returned her gaze, understanding and clueless at the same time. I felt only thankfulness to have been given this job, content to give each day my best.

One weekend I still remember the pointed question from a friend: “Have you had any opportunities to share your faith at work?”

To tell her the truth, work had become a routine; nothing stood out as an area in which I had witnessed. I wracked my brain as questions peppered my mind. Why am I not having more opportunities to share? Am I doing something wrong?

A Shining Light

Six months passed. Moments after I sat at my desk one morning, I sensed something amiss.

“Abigail,” Evelyn approached me, “I need to speak with you.” I gave her my full attention. “In a few months Dr. Williams will no longer work here.”

A surprising unsettledness hovered over me as I wondered what this meant.

“You will continue to have a job,” she assured me, sensing my question.

Half stunned, I turned to Lesa. My coworker appeared visibly shaken, although not completely surprised. A buildup of exasperation seemed to lift from her shoulders as she pulled up a nearby chair.

“You deserve an explanation,” Lesa said. “Dr. Williams has repeatedly been partner to several affairs with young married women at this hospital.” Tears spilled from her eyes as her voice broke. “I’ve prayed, counseled, and pleaded, but to no avail. The doctor was placed on probation, and that’s why you were hired.”

One could hear a pin drop as the outside world suddenly seemed far away.

“Leadership decided to hire someone to keep an eye on him, as a test to ensure that he wouldn’t repeat the same behavior.”

“No one ever breathed a word,” I said.

Lesa continued: “In the early days I went to Evelyn’s office and pleaded your case: how you needed this job; how both you and your husband depended on it.”

Then the puzzle pieces of the past few months began to slide into place. “What happened at this hospital nearly breaks my heart,” Lesa said. “When the hiring process began, I told Evelyn to find someone older and unattractive so that we would never have to deal with a repeat of the past. Then you were brought to my desk, so young and innocent.”

She paused for a breath. “I marched to the manager’s desk to question her. ‘Why did you hire a young married woman to be introduced into such a situation?’

“Evelyn looked at me and said, ‘This girl’s fidelity to God is so strong that I know she will not waver.’”

Lesa leaned forward in a moment I’ll never forget. “Abigail, your faith in God got you your job.”

A thrill of amazement and holy fear struck at my heart’s core. I had innocently taken up the routine of work, little realizing that every moment my faithfulness to God was being tested. I recalled my hesitancy at the job interview to share my faith, and how I came close to brushing away that conviction. What if, out of fear that it would cost me, I had neglected to mention my relationship with God?

“The whole hospital was watching you, Abigail. Watching to see how you would respond to the situation you were placed in. God was proved faithful through your witness.”

Worthwhile Witnesses

A world is watching. We mustn’t measure an apparent lack of witnessing breakthroughs as an indicator of how many we have reached for Christ. The testimony of our lives is the biggest witness we can give on behalf of Christ. Many peculiar, unique situations may never be revealed or told until we reach the gates of eternity, when we learn that amid the routine of life there were those who saw Christ in us.

God can accomplish great things with humble followers who confess Him before others, then cement their words with faithfulness. Such testimonies cannot help being apparent to all the people we touch, though they watch silently.


*Names changed for privacy


Abigail Duman lives in Alabama and works as a certified medical assistant.

Abigail Duman
Advertisement
Advertisement