INTERVIEW

LET IT BE ABOUT SOMEBODY ELSE!

Dr. Carson is known for making medical history in 1987 with the first successful separation of craniopagus twins, among many other magnificent achievements. He is a full professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery, and pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, in Baltimore, Maryland, in the USA. In 1984, he was named Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, a position he still holds today.



Dr. Carson has

authored more than 100 neurosurgical publications, and has been awarded more

than 60 honorary doctorate degrees and dozens of national merit citations,

including the Presidential Medal of

Freedom from President George Bush in 2008.



Dr. Carson has

written five best-selling books, including Gifted

Hands
, after which a film of his life has been

named. Larry Evans was privileged to speak with him about his views on success and service to others.



She felt that you could always influence what was happening in your life, and that you didn’t have to be a victim."

Benjamin

LRE:   In your book, Gifted Hands, you

described some pretty difficult years you had as you were growing up. Yet, it

seems these tough times developed a sense of resiliency instead of an attitude

of giving up. Why?



BSC:   Well, I call it

fire in the belly. As I read about people’s accomplishments, it became very

clear to me that you actually get to make a choice as to what your lifestyle

is. And it’s based on the amount of time and energy you’re willing to put into

the pursuit of your goal. Once I knew that, it was going to be pretty hard to

stop me because I had the drive. I recognized that I was actually in more

control of my future than anybody else. I also saw in my mother an example of

someone willing to work hard.   She felt

that you could always influence what was happening in your life, and that you

didn’t have to be a victim. Seeing that in her over a long period of time had a

profound influence on both my brother and me.



LRE:   You have acknowledged being very angry at a

stage in your life. How would you encourage youth today who are angry about

their circumstances?



BSC:   I would tell them

this: “Let it be about somebody else.” I realized that my anger came because I

always thought it was about me—something done to me or taken from me. God gave me wisdom to see through that and

when I did, I no longer allowed myself to be a puppet with many masters. It was no longer about me.



LRE:   You have received national and international

recognition. Is there a danger in being

so well known?



BSC:   There can be. It’s easy to begin to believe that you’re

quite great. In my case, however, I’ve

had so many incredible outcomes where I know that it just couldn’t have been

me. It’s something I can’t do. But I

know Who can! Allowing yourself to be used by God opens up an enormous number

of opportunities for you as well as for those being influenced by you. For

people of achievement there’s the natural tendency toward self-aggrandizement.

Once you go down that path, then your usefulness to others is diminished.



LRE:   Are you saying that the amount of service

can be limited by these personal detours?



BSC:   Exactly. And if we

get in the way, we can block the channel from which blessings flow into our own

lives and from us into the lives of others. Have there been times when I’ve

struggled with it myself? Absolutely. And then I have to check myself. And I

check myself on a daily basis and say, “Wait a minute. Is this about you, or is

it about God?” And a lot of times that changes my course.



LRE:   Many scientists, struggle with the notion of

faith and God. As a Christian

physician-scientist, how do you relate faith and science?



BSC:   I want people to

recognize that there are a lot of different ways to interpret data. The blatant

statement that anyone who believes that God created us cannot be scientific

really has no basis in fact. How do you look at the ability of the species to

change within itself? Some say this is clear-cut evidence of evolution, and I

would say it’s clear-cut evidence of a Creator who gave His creatures the

ability to adapt to the environment. Otherwise He'd have to to start over every

few weeks! It's not a problem, it's a sign of intelligence. Therefore, it depends on where you want to

place your faith. I choose to place my

faith in God as Creator. Some choose to

place their faith in science, when sometimes that science has only progressed

as far as the level of speculation and

conjecture.



LRE:   So many of your accomplishments have come

from rather unique perspectives about life and service. How would you describe

success?



BSC:   I would describe it as taking the talents that God has given you,

developing them, multiplying them, and using them to uplift others.



LRE:   Many seem to have talents but circumstances

of life seem to hinder their development and therefore their influence.



BSC:   Absolutely. And one

of the things that had a profound effect on me as a youngster was the story of

Joseph in the Bible. Here was a young man, who had a fairly big ego,

admittedly, but he ended up being sold into slavery by his own brothers. And he

didn’t allow that to make him bitter or to become a victim. He just said, “If

I’m going to be a slave, I’ll be the best slave there is!” And he ends up as

the overseer of Potiphar’s household, captain of the Egyptian guard, a very

responsible position. And then Potiphar’s wife says, “Wow, this is a

good-looking guy. I’m going to deal with him!” But he has values. And because

of his values and principles, he ends up in jail. He doesn’t say, “Wait a

minute. Here I am doing all the right stuff, and I end up in jail. Poor me. I’m

a victim. This is not fair.” No, he says, “If I’m going to be a prisoner, I’ll

be the best prisoner there is.” And he ends up with a responsible position in

the prison, interprets dreams, and ends up as the governor of the most powerful

nation in the world. What an amazing story! What that said to me is this: “It really doesn’t matter where you are or

what your circumstances are, you need to make the best of that situation. And

eventually you will benefit from that situation.” You know, as the Bible says,

“All things work together for the good for those who love God and are called

for His purposes.” I believe that.



LRE:   Where does God fit into your idea of service

for others? Christians aren’t the only ones who have talents. Atheists also have talents and do good. What makes your service different from

theirs?



BSC:   Well, I’m not sure

that in all cases the outcome is necessarily different. However, I will say

that there have been numerous very difficult or virtually impossible situations

when I have called upon God and He has responded in a way that would perhaps be

difficult for an atheist to understand.

I remember the case of a young girl who essentially died on the

operating room table. Her brain herniated out, and she was fixed and dilated.

Three days later the PICU staff (pediatric intensive care unit) said, “We need

to turn off the ventilator. We need this bed.” And I said, “Give it one more

day.” And I just prayed. I said, “Lord, You’ve got to understand. This is a child of an atheist woman and this

child is the only thing in her life. If

you could just somehow bring this child back, it could have a profound effect.”

The next morning, when we went to turn off the respirator, she moved her little

finger. And that was the beginning of her recovery. She eventually walked out

of the hospital. I saw that mother years later. She said, “Do you remember me?”

I said, “Yeah.” She said, “Remember I was an atheist?” "I remember,"

I said. She continued, “I’m no longer an atheist. I’m a Christian, and I’m a

member of the Seventh-day Adventist church.”



LRE:   If you were to be remembered for one thing

for your life, what would it be?

BSC:   I would hope that

it would be that I was someone who got people to understand that the person who

has most to do with what happens to them is them. They get to make choices.

They don’t have to be victims. Don’t blame others. As my mother used to always

say, “You have yourself to blame.” She always quoted that poem when we came up

with an excuse.



LRE:   How do you see stewardship impacting the

life of a Christian?



BSC:   Well, I think it

boils down to commitment. What are you committed to? And I would like to think

that I’m committed to God. That is the primary thing in my life. As it says in

Matthew 6:33, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all

these things shall be added unto you.” And I’ve found that exactly to be the

case. You don’t have to look for this prize, or this position, or whatever. All

you have to do is make sure that your relationship with God is correct.

Recognize that He loves you. I mean, look at what He was willing to do for us!

So, needless to say, any good thing that He can do in your life, if you’re

committed to Him, He’s going to do it.



LRE:   From what I can tell your influence and

ministry are not confined to the surgical suite.



BSC:   Definitely not!

Benjamin S. Carson

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