What I Don’t Know


Does anyone really like going to the doctor?

No offense to the lone doctor who may find their way into my BLOG. I’ve heard lots of people (myself included) say that they hate going to the doctor. This assumes that maybe there are some people out there who enjoy the experience. I guess maybe Hypochondriacs and those who find lab coats attractive. For the rest of us a trip to the doctor is usually instigated by the sense that there is something wrong with our bodies. Already frustrated by our frailty we go and sit in a waiting room looking at Golf Digest waiting to be seen.

This was me several months ago. I had been having strange pains in my feet and after ignoring them for longer than I should have, I finally made the dreaded call. Before I went in I did what any self-respecting 30 something nerd would do.

I Googled it.

It only took 2-3 minutes before I had a pretty good idea of what was wrong with my feet. However, I wanted to be sure, so I found myself at the sterile office with the bad art waiting for my name to be called by a woman with a clipbaord.

After telling the Nurse Practitioner my symptoms she confirmed my self-diagnosis. She then gave me a few suggestions and prescribed a light pain medication for the days it’s bad. She said there were stretches that I could do to help . After looking for information about the stretches for a few minutes to no avail she told me to Google it when I got home.

Did my doctor just tell me to Google for the therapy?

I have to admit, I spent part of the rest of the afternoon wondering why I had gone to the doctor in the first place. I didn’t learn anything that I didn’t know before I went. And I had $60 less in my checking account.

So I asked myself, in the age of the internet, why do we need doctors for those kinds of issues? Sure there are times when they are necessary. If I ever get shot I probably won’t have the time to Google “how to heal a bullet wound”. But what about the in between issues?

Then I realized the reason.

I don’t know what I don’t know.

We go to doctors, not because we couldn’t find the information somewhere else, but because we wouldn’t know if we had ALL of the pertinent information. We have all heard stories and maybe knew someone personally who thought they just had a bad cold and it ended up being something life threatening. Google would not have seen those warning signs. Sure I happened to get this one right. But I could have just as easily been wrong.

I’m still not thrilled with the advice to “just Google it.” But that’s for another day.

We don’t know what we don’t know.

This is also one of the reasons I think it is so important today to be a part of a church community. There are lots of internet theologians. You can watch sermons on YouTube and read articles like this one and feel like you have done your Christian duty. But one of the jobs of a church community is to speak truth into each other’s lives. They are the ones who see you, who know you, and who can lovingly point out blind spots. They can see the “cancer” that you can’t.

Living in community with a group of Christ-followers is an amazingly important part of being a follower of Christ.

I have been reading a book by Eugene Peterson called Practicing Resurrection. He is pretty blunt with someone who wants to follow Christ but who doesn’t want anything to do with his bride. (the church)

“Individualism is the growth-stunting, maturity-inhibiting habit of understanding growth as an isolated self-project. Individualism is self-ism with swagger… For as long as individualism has free rein in our lives, we will not be capable of embracing church. Individualism severely handicaps us in growth up to the measure of the full stature of Christ. If unchecked it can be fatal, fating us to lifelong immaturity.”

And so I encourage you to find a church. Find a group of people with whom you can live in community and join in mission.

Because we don’t know what we don’t know.