Sometimes, God reaches down and hands you a miracle.
Last summer, during the hardest time of his life, Hans took the MCAT and started applying to medical schools. Maybe you know a lot about the process? We didn’t. I was incredibly naive. I figured he was smart, kind, had done all the prerequisite classes, service hours and research. He was born to be a doctor; and of course he would get in. We quickly learned applying to med school is brutal, unfair, incredibly expensive and time consuming while making a person question their basic self-worth.
It was almost impossible for Hans to study for the MCAT. Still he did well thanks to working hard in college, enjoying his classes and an angel or two who watched over him.
We’d been warned against turning in applications late, so Hans created a spreadsheet and it was my job to make sure he finished everything on time. I’ll write another post about everything we learned and all our best advice, but this is about something else. It’s about the hand of God.
More than once, I pulled Hans off the floor to finish an application before midnight. He spent hundreds of hours writing essays and thousands of dollars on fees. By early December, he’d finished every application, graduated from BYU and secured four interviews at excellent med schools. In my naïveté, I assumed he’d have an acceptance by Christmas.
It didn’t come.
By mid-March, he had an inbox full of rejections and spots on two waitlists. Still, I was optimistic (and Hans needed me to be optimistic). “You’ll get in! It’s just a matter of time. Wait until May.”
It didn’t come.
By this time we’d read the forums and the articles and the masses of advice from the internet. We learned med schools say the deadline is November 15th, but they mean June 15th. We learned there are schools who like BYU students and there are schools who most definitely don’t. Three-quarters through May, a good friend kindly warned me, “If he doesn’t start applying for next year right now, he’s going to be too late again.”
I cried. A lot. And I argued with God. I knew He was with Hans. I knew He’d been watching over him. I knew God could easily slide Hansie’s name from Waitlist to Accepted.
Finally, in my wrestle with God, I had to decide– do I trust God? Do I believe He knows what is best for Hans more than I do? Do I believe God is working for Hansie’s happiness? I found this scripture in the NIV:
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.Jeremiah 29:11
My prayers changed from arguments to this simple plea, “I only want what You want.”
Hans handled it much better. He said, “There must be a good reason.” and we sat down and made a list of medical schools for his next round of applications. He redid his primary application and turned it in within days. In the evenings, after his work as a medical assistant, we researched schools together and got genuinely excited about the possibilities. He wrote essay after essay: polishing off some from last year; writing entirely new compositions. Living as Saint Augustine suggested: Hans worked as if everything depended on him and prayed as if everything depended on God.
By July 6th he’d completed 17 secondary applications– with just 15 more to go.
Then, at 11:34 AM he got a call from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill.
He was in off the waitlist.
Hans called me from work sobbing. And of course I cried. And Erik cried. Mary and Gabe cried. Our family text turned into a joyful mess of tears and celebration.
It’s impossible to describe the joy and the sure knowledge it was by the grace of God.
I now knew the stats on UNC. They don’t take BYU students. They take very few applicants from out of state. Still, for Hans, the school was one of his top choices from the beginning.
Two weeks after that call, Hans and I piled his belongings in his car and drove across the country to one of the most beautiful campuses on earth. He found housing, a pleasant roommate from his class named Mohammed, and just happened to move in .5 mile from the only Young Single Adult Ward in all of North Carolina.
One of my friends asked, “Was it hard to leave him there? So far from home?”
Not hard at all. He’s been placed by the hand of God.