January 31, 2024 : By Ryan Klinker - Office of Communications & Public Engagement
Speaking to a room full of student-doctors at Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) on Wednesday during the medical school’s weekly Convocation, Liberty President Dondi Costin emphatically shared the importance of not delaying God’s purpose for their lives.
Costin’s message marked the conclusion of LUCOM’s Convocation series titled “Waiting on God,” and he stated that his message to the student-doctors is simply that God is also waiting on them.
“The Lord is waiting on you to become the man or woman of God He wants you to be, and God loves you,” he said. “God loves you not because you’re talented or ambitious or have a special calling — you wouldn’t be here if you weren’t — but because He made you in His image. He loves you with an everlasting love that is based not on your performance but based on His performance.”
Costin is a retired Major General with 36 years of service in a military career that culminated as a senior leader in the Pentagon, where he served as the 18th Air Force Chief of Chaplains. He said during his time in service, he would wake up every morning, don his uniform, and take note of the words on his right shoulder.
“When I’d put that thing on, button up those buttons, and look at myself in the mirror before I left for the day to ‘conquer the world’ or whatever else I was supposed to do, I would see the name ‘U.S. Air Force’ on my shoulder, and that told me that my job that day was not to live for myself, but to give everything I could for the U.S. Air Force. My oath said nothing about having a nice life … it was all about how much I would be giving to those who would never know my name or care (about me), but they would care that they could go to sleep each night in a free country and wake up in a free country.”
He asked those in the room why they wanted to become a doctor and theorized that some may have been pushed into it by loved ones and others might have heard that the profession makes a lot of money. However, just as he was called to serve in the military, Costin said that the student-doctors likely also heeded a call to their profession and “knew there are people out there who are in a state of pain and difficulty” that they want to serve.
On the opposite shoulder of his uniform, Costin said, was his last name. While he did nothing to earn his last name, Costin said he would make a point each day to represent his name well.
When LUCOM students put on their own uniform of a white coat, Costin said, they are a representative of their names, too, sewn onto the chest with the title of “Dr.”
“When people come to you, they’re not going to ask to see your transcripts and (references); you are going to walk in with an authority based on your ‘Dr.,’” he said. “The most important thing about your title is not what it means to other people … it’s the meaning you put into the name. If you learn to wait on God, you will do exactly what He says and help the people who cried out to Him for help.”
But doing so can only come with the choice to submit to God and not make excuses before answering His call. Costin referred to the story in Exodus of Moses resisting God’s call through the burning bush for him to free His people, along with Costin’s own experience of initially rejecting a calling to ministry, as he charged LUCOM’s student-doctors to not waste time God can use.
“Waiting on you is one of His specialties, and let me tell you from personal experience: the sooner you take Him up on His offer to go wherever He wants to send you, the better your life will be, and the better the lives will be of the people He has called you to serve,” Costin said. “The thing I’ve learned about God is that He will let you run, and when you falter, He will be there waiting for you. Although others will say this, God will never say, ‘I told you so.’ He will say, “It’s about time, and there are people out there who need you.”
At the closing of Convocation, LUCOM Dean Dr. Joseph Johnson, DO, asked faculty and students in leadership or with military backgrounds to lay hands on and pray over President Costin in his leadership of Liberty University.
The next series for LUCOM Convocation, “The Great Physician,” will begin next Wednesday, Feb. 7. Speakers for these Convocations are often faculty and staff from LUCOM or other departments of Liberty, but they also feature outside speakers on occasion.