You Want A Provider Who Can Help You

For two years now, I have been the office assistant at a small compounding pharmacy. I’ve learned that the pharmacists I work for have doctorates, which was new information to me. People come in all day long to pick up their medications, but they also seek medical counsel for everything from rashes to pain in their feet to hair loss. One elderly woman lifted up her shirt one day, because she wanted to show me the external bladder device she just got. It’s an interesting world.

Often people will start to rattle off to me their medical questions, while I’m ringing up their medication at the front counter, and I quickly interrupt them and point to the pharmacist. “You don’t want your medical advice from the office assistant,” I tell them.

I eavesdrop a lot in my job, because health is fascinating to me. I’m always curious to know what the ailment is and what the pharmacist might suggest as treatment. It’s a job where I’m constantly learning new information. One of the pharmacists almost always begins by asking the patient, “What have you tried?” That question sticks in my mind.

Sometimes there are a variety of solutions to one problem. Sometimes a combination of treatments is necessary. Sometimes a person needs to stop doing something or add on to what he was already trying or come at the problem from a completely different direction. By hearing what has already been done that has not helped, the pharmacist gets to know the patient in a short time and starts to see what has been lacking in treatment. There’s something fascinating to me about diagnostics, where the person with expertise works to discern the patient’s symptoms, mindset, and actions, in order to see what kind of help he needs.

It was brilliant that when God sent Jesus to save the world, he sent him as a healer. For 10 years I transcribed medical reports, and now I’ve spent two years in a pharmacy, so I have seen how sick people are physically. But I’m also a pastor’s wife and am married to a counselor, so I also see how sick we can be on the inside. We need a healer.

So how about that pharmacy question for the ailments of our hearts and minds: what have you tried?

For your loneliness, what have you tried already?

For your sorrow, what have you tried already?

For your anxiety, what have you tried already?

For your anger, what have you tried already?

What hasn’t worked? Maybe that’s as important a question as finding out what will work.

One of the favorite Bible passages I’ve taught to children Is Jeremiah 10:5, after the LORD has told his people not to learn from the nations around them who craft worthless idols. “Like a scarecrow in a melon patch, their idols cannot speak; they must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not fear them; they can do no harm, nor can they do any good.” They are worthless providers.

I tried to explain Siri to my three-year-old grandson the other day, after asking her to send a text on my iPhone.

“Were you talking to that girl?” he asked.

“Well, it’s not really a girl, it’s a phone,” I said.

“Grandma, phones don’t have eyes or mouths. They can’t talk,” he said.

Same with idols, which are all of the things we try and the places we go that we think will heal our internal brokenness. No eyes to see. No ears to hear. No hands to assist. No arms to carry. Lifeless pieces of wood that can do no good.

“But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King.” (Jeremiah 10:10a) We need a living remedy. We need truth–efficacious answers that heal forever.

I’ve worked at the pharmacy long enough to hear many people say thank you to the pharmacists, who have directed them to new medications and have helped them finally get better after they had tried so many other treatments. I give the same thanks to the Living God, who has healed me from so much that was sick in my heart. He is an accessible and completely competent Physician who never fails in diagnosis and treatment.

For your weary heart and your confused mind and your gaping soul, what have you tried?  


  1. Hi Christie,
    I have followed your blog for years and find your insights to be inspiring, encouraging, and often, just right!
    However today I’m writing about an issue that concerns me: how evangelical Christians direct others regarding mental healthcare. I’m not saying that’s what you’re doing here, but would love to see a one-sentence note that God uses all kinds of means including psychiatrists, meds, trained counselors and non Christian authors, friends, etc. Myself and other committed Christians were long delayed in healing because we were taught that turning to anything besides God’s word and prayer (which certainly do have power to heal but are not always God’s method) was sinful, wrong, a sign of lacking faith. This kind of teaching does harm.
    Anyway, I just wanted to say something-in the midst of praising what you do SO WELL- in hopes of others having access to all of the means God uses for healing in this world.

    Thanks for reading.

    1. Jennifer, thank you for sharing your thoughts here. I hear what you’re saying.

      Maybe I’ve never mentioned it in my posts, but my husband is a licensed clinical professional counselor. He’s a pastor but actually has his masters in psychology, so I highly value good counseling and often have encouraged people to go talk to my husband. As I mentioned in my post, I sought out Christian counselors during this last year, because I knew I needed extra help working through my inner struggles. They were not professionals in mental health, but they were wise and godly people who really helped me work through things.

      I know that the mental health field, in general, can be extremely liberal and godless. I would encourage anyone who has overwhelming mental and emotional struggles to seek help but at the same time to exercise great discernment in choosing who they see or what books they read. God encourages us to seek wise counsel, but if that counsel opposes biblical truths then it is more damaging than helpful. I have a friend who just got her masters in Christian counseling. To me that is the best of both worlds, to find the professional who is also a follower of Christ.

      I’ve thought a lot about this topic actually. I’m glad you brought it up. You’re absolutely correct that sometimes reading the Bible and praying isn’t enough. God has gifted people in this world to help us mentally and physically, and it’s wise to know when we need that level of help.

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