Written by: Mark Fulton
I like to fix things! I think I got this propensity from my dad, who rarely met his match with something he couldn’t fix with sheet metal, wood, duct tape, wire, caulk, glue, or some combination therein. As a child, I worked alongside my dad as soon as I could walk and became the “fix it assistant”. You know the role: “Hand me the caulk.” “Hold these two pieces together while I put the glue on it.” “Tear the tape about there while I keep it in place.” I graduated from the “assistant” to the “apprentice” until finally I became empowered to be an independent “fix it guy”, albeit with just a fraction of my dad’s expertise.
Several years ago, God called us to assist in starting a small healthcare facility in Haiti. With fear and trepidation, we obeyed. I didn’t realize how much I would need to rely on my “fix it guy” background in this new role. “Hey Dr. Mark, the toilets are broken again! Have any ideas?” “Dr. Mark, the ultrasound seems to be going on and off!! Any thoughts?” “Hey, Doctor, the autoclave isn’t heating to full temperature, and we need it now!!! What can you do??” Sometimes I can do the repairs and sometimes I cannot.
These repairs are often frustrating but nothing, not even a blip on the radar of the other things that I am sometimes asked to fix. “Dr. Mark, we have a baby whose mom passed away during birth in the village, the dad is out of the picture, and the family cannot care for the child. Any ideas?” “Hey Dr. Mark, there is a 19-year-old with a severely fractured femur. The rods/screws that we need cost about $450US and the family has no means. I know this is the fourth time this week we needed to buy parts for fractures, so, if we can find the parts, can we purchase them since we only have about $500 total budgeted for all five of these situations cumulatively??” “Hey, Doc, we need to get this baby to a facility with a NICU but all of the roads are blocked. What do you think we should do?” “Dr. Mark, we have 3 kids who need to go to the US for surgery that is not readily available here in Haiti. We only have funds for one. Which one should we send?” My “fix it” senses are piqued. If only we were a few hundred miles away, we could arrange better help; if only we had more things in this small Haitian healthcare facility; if only we had better this or more of that, THEN we could fix it. To be honest, I do not accept this or handle this inability to fix things very well. I get frustrated. I get angry. I get grumpy. I plead with God for wisdom and for answers. I hurt. I cry.
I really don’t understand how to fix these things or how to handle them. I can only hope and pray that God infuses in my heart his promises such as: Psalm 46:10 or Matthew 11:28 or many others. Total submission to the “master fixer” is my goal so that He can determine the materials, the timing and the ability given to fix the problem. I really stink at letting go, because I have my “fix it guy” diploma. My prayer is for God to fix my attitude, my abilities, my compassion, and my walk with Him. Maybe I can be “fixed” too!
In the meantime, I think I had better go and fix a leak around a toilet. Have you seen my caulk?
Psalm 46:10a: (NIV) “Be still and know that I am God”
Matthew 11:28 (NIV) “Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”