Book Review: Ern Crocker’s “Nine Minutes Past Midnight” – Dr Gillian Porter


from Luke’s Journal 2020 | Breath of Life | Vol.25 No.2


I come home from a busy day of clinic. My patients have been varied – young children with fevers and worried parents, a mother who has just found out she is unexpectedly pregnant and doesn’t know if she wants to keep the baby, an older lady with chronic depression that just doesn’t seem to be responding to treatment, a woman with a new diagnosis of breast cancer, a young man with chest pain who needs to go to hospital. As I reflect on my day I keep wondering – did I do enough? Was there anything I missed? Should I have said something different? Could I have done more? As I sit down to read bible stories with my children I read of Jesus raising the dead to life and healing the sick and I wonder, does God do miraculous healing today? Where is God in my work?

Many Christian health professionals, will have been faced, at some point, with the question of whether God is interested, or indeed involved in our work. This may come in a crisis, when the reaches of modern medicine just don’t seem to answer the problems set before us, or more quietly, when our God-given passion and desire to bring healing and hope through medicine is ridiculed and denied by unbelieving colleagues. At times it seems easier to relegate our faith to our private lives and attending church on a Sunday.

“As I reflect on my day I keep wondering – did I do enough? Was there anything I missed?”

Early in his medical career, Dr Ernest Crocker was faced with these very same questions. In his book Nine Minutes Past Midnight he chronicles his own story of understanding and draws us into the journey he took in seeing God’s hand at work within his own practice and also that of many colleagues. Crocker uses these experiences to candidly outline how God demonstrated to him that He was not only involved in the lives of patients, but actively working with and through medical professionals in all areas of their work and personal life.

Through engaging stories from his own life, Crocker outlines ways in which he has seen God miraculously heal, as well as acknowledging God’s underlying hand in his own research, medical advances and career progression. We see how God has been at work in and through Crocker, guiding and using him in his personal and professional lives. These stories show us how God used even the hardest of experiences to bring Crocker to a deeper understanding of himself – as God’s child – rather than finding his identity in his job, position, achievements or security. Indeed, God became Crocker’s “silent partner”, involved in all aspects of his life and work – whether in a successful radiology practice in Sydney, or on mission trips to China.

“These stories are amazing examples of… divine intervention…”

Crocker’s storytelling is not restricted to his own experiences. The book has many stories of medical professionals from all around the world who have also seen God at work in their lives as God calls them into full obedience to Him: asking them to trust him in their work and using them for His glory. These stories are amazing examples of the divine intervention God uses today in the lives of ordinary people through the faithful prayers and witness of Christians in Australia, Asia, Africa and beyond.

Nine Minutes Past Midnight asks the reader if we are prepared to submit ourselves completely to God and allow Him to work through us. It challenges us as Christians who work in the healthcare industry to deepen our relationship with God and look for His presence and guidance, power and work in every aspect of our lives. It challenges us to listen for His call and to follow Him, so that His purposes might be realised in our lives, no matter the cost.

“Are we prepared to submit ourselves completely to God and allow Him to work through us?”

Although the message of the book may have been strengthened by providing a deeper theological grounding for its conclusions, this was not its intent. While more biblical reflections would have added further insight into the way God works today, there is no doubt that both the author and his interviewees are entrenched in the word of God and allow it to speak in their lives. The gospel message indeed drives the underpinning of their faithful service through their work.

This book seeks to give an insight into the lives of faithful Christians today who have seen God at work in their own lives and workplaces, and in doing so encourages the reader to see that the Holy Spirit given is at work in each of us and is working in the lives of those God sets before us. If only we would seek Him.

Dr Gillian Porter works as a General Practitioner in Melbourne and seeks to be faithful in every aspect of her life.


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