mother and child reunion

Mother and child

I think we’ve all heard it at least once in our lives. I believe we have all been cautioned by some well-meaning person with the phrase, “Don’t get your hopes up.” And perhaps in accompaniment to the words of wisdom, their heads shook back and forth, or maybe their faces displayed the most severe expression to fully demonstrate the foolhardiness of one who hopes. Because any sound person can tell you… hope surely will be dashed to the ground. And the well-meaning person… likely a loved one… was really only trying to help you when they told you what they did. But truth be known, after hearing it so many times, a person who was once full of faith may fall into the same mindset. Despite the faithful’s best intentions, she may sink down into that grim sort of outlook on life, expecting the worst out of circumstances… and of people. But then, when least expected, hope glimmers and faith renews. And those are the times, for me at least, when the words, “Get behind me, Gehazi,” come to mind. Believe it or not, this will make sense by the end of this blog. After reading this, may we all cry out, “Get behind me, Gehazi!”

It was three years ago that I had great hope. I knew that I knew that I knew that I knew that God was going to return me to my hometown in Virginia. I felt it in my bones. I had come across Scripture, and I felt assured that it was a promise to me, despite being written to the children of Israel so long ago. And so, I was fully expectant, full of faith, and full of hope that my God would bring it to pass. No one could tell me otherwise. And believe me, some tried to. You know those cautious phrases, “Don’t get your hopes up,” and “I’m just saying,” and, “I don’t want to see you get hurt.”

And so, in reflecting on those nay-sayers of days gone by, I cannot help but think about the Shumannite woman in contrast. It’s in the fourth chapter of Second Kings that we read about her, and we find that she was wealthy with no needs. She even took care of others’ needs, including Elisha the prophet. Whenever he passed by, she would urge him to eat. And so eventually, after some visits, she asked her husband if they could prepare a room for this man of God to rest in. And so it came to pass that the man of God wanted to do something for this kind woman who had no needs. When asked, she said, “I dwell among my own people…” Translation, “I’m fine, I don’t need a thing.” Elisha turned to his assistant, Gehazi. It was Gehazi who named something she didn’t have. He knew that the wealthy woman had no son, and not only that, her husband was old. Translation, chances of a child were slim to none. But see, with God all things are possible. Elisha informed the Shumannite woman that she would indeed have a child. He said, “About this time next year you shall embrace a son.” And she said, “No, my Lord. Man of God, do not lie to your maidservant!” Translation, “No way!”

Elisha told the woman who had no need that she would indeed have a son and it must have seemed impossible. Could a baby have been a long forgotten desire that had been buried deep away? Or could it be that this woman had yearned for a baby for years, the longing never extinguished… the burning ever fresh? We don’t really know, only that she in fact conceived and gave birth to a son. And as any mother today knows, this woman had to have loved him with all her heart and soul. And so, what happened next came as such a surprise to me. The child grew, but one day his head began to hurt. So, he was carried back home to his mother. And you know, that Shumannite woman held him on her knees until noon, and then, he died. He died… right there on her lap. Here is a woman who didn’t ask for a child, and yet, the man of God promised her a son. And she bore that son and loved him. But then… death? How could that be?

The woman laid her son’s body on the bed she had prepared for the man of God, and she called for a donkey and her servant. She said, “Drive, and go forward; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you.” Translation, “Go as fast as you can and do not stop!” And so she departed, and went to the man of God. When Elisha saw her from a distance, he sent his servant Gehazi. He told Gehazi to check on her well being. But that Shumannite woman had none of that. She answered Gehazi’s questions, but left him behind as she reached for the man of God. See, it was Elisha who made the promise. It was he who was the man of God, and it was he that she was desperate to reach. And as she grabbed hold of him, Gehazi tried to push her away. But Elisha saw her anguish, he saw her pain…

Here we see a picture of a woman… a woman who dared to hope for a son despite the odds. But then, he died… and yet, the woman seemed to have held on to hope. Because afterward, she didn’t stop moving until she reached the man of God. And when Gehazi tried to deter her, she didn’t let him slow her down. When she reached Elisha, she said, “Did I ask a son of my lord? Did I not say, ‘Do not deceive me’?” Translation,”I never asked for a son, and yet you told me I would have one. And so why, now, does my child lay dead on your bed?” Elisha then said to his servant, Gehazi, “Get yourself ready, and take my staff in your hand, and be on your way.” But that wasn’t good enough for this woman. See, her faith lay with the man of God, and so she clung to him and said she would not leave him. And so, He arose and followed her. And Elisha indeed performed a miracle that day. He did what Gehazi could not accomplish, and he roused the child.

I admire this woman because she never gave up hope. And it was at a ladies’ conference last fall that I first heard of the Shumannite woman and her persistence. It was Beth Moore who paralleled this woman’s trek to Elisha as our own trek to Jesus, and she said that there are just those times when no one else will do but Him. Beth said that when those “Gehazis” try to get in our way and block our path, we just need to push them aside and say, “Get behind me, Gehazi!” And essentially, that’s what the Shumannite woman did. And in addition to her unswerving hope and persistence, I also admire that she fully expected the miracle… She dared to hope against all odds. And more than once. When things looked the darkest, she didn’t lose her faith. Because she believed the man of God when he told her that she would have a son. This woman never gave up on her child… not once. And isn’t this what mother’s do today? Don’t we all hold to hope when it concerns our children?

You know, it would be way too easy to shut down. It would be pretty comfortable to keep one’s hopes low, so that hopes would not be dashed to the ground. It would be so easy to just close oneself up tight and to not hope for anything else, ever again… because that would be safe. Because when the Gehazi’s of the world tell us over and over, “Don’t get your hopes up,” we eventually start to think that way. And who wants to risk heartache, right? But that’s not biblical… at all. Because God is the God of hope! And without faith, it is impossible to please Him! And although with man it’s impossible, with God all things are possible! And let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, because He who promised is faithful! Believe Him. Just take Him at His word.

In all my life, there have only been a handful of times that I have felt assured of a promise by God. The first was that He would return me to my hometown. And upon return to my homeland, I felt sure that all of my people would one day be His people (those that are not already His). I felt confident of that when I read a particular verse in Isaiah, and I still believe that today. I claim that promise. And it was the fall of 2011 that I knew that I knew that I knew that I knew that I would have another baby. And sure enough, it was December 13, 2011 that I learned of my pregnancy. You can imagine my surprise when the sonogram showed that there was no heartbeat, and I had a miscarriage shortly thereafter. I didn’t understand… because God promised me a baby. And I did all the right things… I believed it, I hoped it, and yet, no baby. But the truth is, there is a baby. Just not here on this side of eternity… just not here where I can hold him or her on my lap.

It was a few days ago that I came across a note in my Bible placed beside Psalm 30:5. It says, “1/23/12, sonogram 1/20, no heart beat.”  When I read this portion of Scripture over a year ago, I felt assured of a promise: “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Yes, I’ll claim the promise I find here. For I’m promised God’s favor for life… And I’m told that joy comes in the morning. And so, that’s mine. I’ll believe it and I’ll hope for it.

You know, God promised me a baby. And he fulfilled that promise, for I’ll meet that baby one day in heaven. And so, for today, I have the hope of a mother and child reunion. And as of today, I will always choose hope. I shall always believe… for “blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Luke 1:45

And to all those nay-sayers out there… to all those who wisely tell me to not get my hopes up, I forever shall say, “Get behind me, Gehazi.” For I’ll let nothing stand in the way of me and my Jesus.

Less is more.

I did something tonight. I trashed two blog drafts. There are still two more drafts that may be trashed. I’m on the fence about those two, because I still feel somewhat impassioned by what was written. I want to tell you why I trashed two drafts, and may trash two more. I think… no, I’m sure… that having four drafts sitting there ready for posting is evidence of a severe lack of faith on my part. Because I began a blog for one purpose only… I was certain God wanted me to. But, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to blog on a consistent basis. Thus, I wanted to have drafts ready… a security blanket, so to speak. So that if I am not inspired one day, there’s something there ready. But what does that say about my faith in God? He has inspired me again and again over the last two and a half years. I have ten full journals. Why now, would I be worried about a shortage of words? Can’t I trust God to inspire me daily, and to write from my heart when I am so moved? Apparently not, because I’ve stored up some words for the times when I’m dry.

And, oh, but I drive myself crazy! Here are some things you may not know about me. I am a bit obsessive. I am detail oriented… almost to a fault. And I love order. I want things to make sense. So, I began a blog… for God. But I wanted it to move along in a way that made sense to me. I wanted it to be chronological and easy to follow. But, God threw a few curve balls at me. First, He had me begin reviewing my old journals. And I ended up camping out on the first three pages for weeks. Then, He led me to something I was not ready for. He moved me to write about my past… the things I kept hidden. I didn’t anticipate writing about that for a long, long time (if ever). Well, that’s thrown off all my drafts. After what I wrote about this past Friday, the four drafts I have ready don’t even make sense! They’re not even fit for posting. I didn’t even want to read them… and they’re about God & me!! And so here I am, at a loss. What next, I ask.

I’ve been trying to write ahead (not trusting God to supply me with words) because I have somehow decided I should write five days a week. Orderly and consistent, right? But why do I feel the need to write every single day? Did God tell me to do that? So basically, I have taken it upon myself to set the minimum (five a week). Not only that… I want to post the blogs in the morning. And do you know what I’ve done? I’ve created pressure. I’ve created a deadline that I don’t think God intended me to have. Because a deadline causes me to force something that may not be ready for posting. It leaves no room for the Holy Spirit’s leading. I don’t think God cares how many days a week I post, or what time of day it goes out. See, quality is far better than quantity. And you know what? Sometimes, less is more.

So here’s what I’m going to do… I will not post a blog for the sake of posting it simply to fill a five day quota. Because if it’s not led by God, well, it’s just not worth posting. I will do my best not to write ahead. Because that doesn’t work. More of those writings end up in the trash than posted, anyway. And more importantly, writing ahead is not trusting God.

I will aim to post a blog only when I am moved or impassioned by the subject. I will not write fluff. And I will always tell the truth. Because the truth about God & me may very well be the truth about you & God.

And, this will be hard for me… I will try my best to write less, but with more significance. Because more often than not, less is more.

P.S. Some of you will get a kick out of this. Immediately after proof reading this blog, I changed the very first sentence to say “Last night” instead of “Tonight.” Because I had every intension of posting this in the morning. I actually went back and forth a couple of times before realizing what I needed to do. Because didn’t I just say I would not write ahead? Didn’t I just say I would post something when I was moved, and there may not be a post every day, and blogs may not go in the morning. I just said this, right? What is wrong with me?? So this goes against everything within me… after I type this sentence, I will publish this blog. At 10:00 at night! And there may not be one tomorrow!! This was so not the plan 🙂

Help my unbelief!

Yesterday, I wrote about standing amazed in the presence of God. And I’m still amazed. And I couldn’t get it all down in one blog. It was just too much information to try to convey. But I have to, because what I found truly blows me away. Bear with me as I try to get this down. This past January, I went through something pretty big with God. What took place revolved completely around my son, but had everything to do with my heart. And the reality is I was having a crisis of faith! I honestly believed God was going to take my child. I didn’t believe He would heal my son. It’s not that I doubted He could heal. I just didn’t think He was going to show Himself strong… for me. I can’t really say when I first realized I was having doubts about God (I’m sure I’ll see exactly when I get there in my journal review). But I don’t think it was something that happened overnight. I believe faith slowly ebbed away without my realizing it until I was in crisis mode in January.

And so, after the crisis was averted, I felt sure I was to start a blog. Actually, it was the week after my son’s high fever that I felt assurance… yes, a blog! And so, I began without really knowing what I would write day to day. I had an idea, but nothing set out in stone. After speaking with my friend, I came to the conclusion I was to review all my journals because she had mentioned setting apart those God moments. I had a similar thought earlier, but more along the lines of a timeline. So, it was evident to me that I was to review the journals right along with blogging. Later I realized the review was multi-purpose (God moments along with an exam of my heart). I began journal review on March 1, but have been camped out on the first few pages ever since. And it was just yesterday I realized to accurately record the God moments, I needed to go further back. I had to revisit when I became His, and what happened afterward. Please, bear with me… I want you to see something BIG.

Yesterday I talked about my second God moment. My husband and I were drawn to a church in which we consistently heard the word of God. Thus, fresh faith. Well, after several years my husband and I decided to leave town. Our son was small, and we (mainly me) wanted to be near family. I decided we could not afford Virginia, so we headed out to western North Carolina to be with my in-laws. We sold our home, quit our jobs and took off expecting to find greatness. We didn’t find it. But while there, I did have my third God moment. Once again, it involved a church. We were floating from church to church, and decided to visit my sister-in-law’s church one more time before settling for another. We had never really cared for her church because it was contemporary (lots of music). We were used to a more traditional service. But despite our never really caring for the church during previous visits, we were completely won over when we visited. Okay, another episode that seems like a not so big God moment. But it was. I thought I would have a fight on my hands when I told my husband we should join, but he simply agreed. For about six months, we had phenomenal teaching under a super knowledgeable pastor. We learned so much about God in a short time period of time. And so, our faith came by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Astonishingly, nothing worked out for us in Wilkesboro. About a year after leaving Pinehurst, we found ourselves going straight back! I had been contacted by my boss a couple of months earlier, and immediately after unpacking my last box in Wilkesboro, my husband was contacted by his old boss with an offer he couldn’t refuse. This is God moment number four for me. God worked everything out so that we went right back to where we were… same jobs, same church and even a house within a mile of the one we sold (at first). The only difference? We had changed. We were not the same as when we left a year earlier. This time, we were a little hungrier for God’s word. We wanted more.

Keep bearing with me… I’m getting there. God moment number five? We arrived in Pinehurst too late to teach or join any committees. We arrived just in time to be fed God’s word for a solid year. Our Sunday School class? We studied When God’s People Pray, and then spent the rest of the year meeting every Sunday morning for prayer. My first Sunday evening Bible study? Beth Moore’s Believing God. Believing God is a study about faith. And you know what. Until yesterday morning, I kind of forgot about what that study entailed. This is the part that blew me away. This is the part that showed me just how closely God has His eye on me… on me!

When I began this blog, I didn’t know I was going to review my journals. When I realized I would review them, I thought I would begin during the Spring of 2010. I had no thought about the time leading up to then, so I surely didn’t think about this Believing God study. When I began this blog, I didn’t realize my first few God moments would be faith moments. And when I thought about a timeline months ago, I did not remember I had already done one! Do you know I found a detailed timeline – from the time I was born up to 2009 – inside that Believing God workbook! God knew I would see it! He led me straight to it. And amazingly, before time began, God knew my faith was going to be shaken in January of 2013. And so He knew what I would need to see. He led me to recording God moments. He wanted me to see those first moments revolving around faith. Faith made me His. Two times He led me to good churches, where I heard the word of God and my faith grew. He brought me back to Pinehurst at the very best time… too late to volunteer for things that would take me away from His word, but in enough time to start out the new church year and not miss any of the new studies… more hearing of His word, faith growing. See, God didn’t let me go too far before He brought me back to Him. And it was through His word that I began to have faith in Him. God needed to remind me of this. Because it’s what I’ve been lacking lately. I have been disbelieving.

Matthew 9:23-24 is so personal to me. Because it involves a man and his child. Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; Help my unbelief!”

This was me. I lost my faith in God. My son was ailing. Never so much that he suffered… just things, one after the other. And I became discouraged. I didn’t think God was going to take care of him. And so, it was the night of my son’s high fever that I cried out to God. I must have felt similar to this man. In one breath, “Lord, I believe; Help my unbelief!”

Why am I blown away? Because God is so intimate with the details of my life. I had a crisis of faith in January, and so God took me back to a time when I had faith in Him. I believed once before… and I’ll do so again. I echo that prayer, “Lord, I believe; Help my unbelief!”

Faith to Faith

I stand amazed in the presence of God this day. I am constantly bowled over by how God puts together pieces of my life, and it’s in the looking back that I can see just how involved He has been in my entire journey. All of it – even in the silences. I pray He’ll guide me through this blog journey, because I know there’s a reason for it. I know I’m putting all this out there for someone. He is real, He is active, and He is simply waiting for someone to come to Him. He’s waiting for that one to seek Him with their whole heart, that they may be constantly bowled over just as I am. I feel certain I am to detail my journey step by step, so someone can follow me right into the arms of Jesus. Because you know what… although I became a child of God in February of 1997, it was not till very recently that I came to understand just what it is that Jesus did… for me. Someone else may need to understand it, too.

Do you have your journal yet? If you’re not already one who journals, please start. It is completely eye opening when you look back. I didn’t begin a journal until the Spring of 2010. Now, I have ten completed journals (composition notebooks), and I have just started my eleventh. The eleventh is my journal review notebook (of the previous ten journals). I have two other notebooks I just started, one entitled “God Moments,” and the other, “Answered Prayer.” I wanted something special for those occasions, so the BIG things wouldn’t get lost in the other journals. I also have a journal dedicated to Scripture memorization. I don’t put Scripture in until I’ve memorized it. This one I began in December. I also have a journal dedicated to my little boy. I’m recording special prayers and the things he’s said to me. Perhaps I’ll pass this on to him when he graduates from high school. I also have a notebook dedicated to book ideas. And in addition to all these journals, I have completed three manuscripts since the fall of 2011. All this writing from someone who never, ever had any inclination to do so.

It was on March the 1st that I began my God Moments journal. I thought it would commence with the Spring of 2010, just as my journals do. But I realized I had to go further back. That’s because I became a child of God in February of 1997. This is where it all began with God & me, and so that was the first recorded God moment. He saved me through His Son, so that is the most important God moment. Because if I didn’t have His Son, I wouldn’t have Him. To become God’s child, I had to have faith… faith that God is who He says He is, and faith that Jesus is who He says He is. This is where it all began. Faith.

Soon after becoming a child of God in 1997, I began helping my pastor’s wife with the Acteens (a group of teen girls who learn about missionaries). You know what… those teen girls should have been teaching me about God. They knew far more than I did, as most of them grew up in church. I knew NOTHING! I knew the basics… I was a sinner and in need of Jesus to save me. That’s it. I didn’t know anything else. And yet, I jumped into a leadership role. Now, I wasn’t the leader… I was assisting someone else. But in hindsight, I had no business doing what I was doing. I didn’t even know what I was doing… I should have been sitting in church, soaking up God’s word. See, faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). But because I immediately jumped into activity, I didn’t hear as much of God’s word as I should have. And so, my faith wasn’t built up. I was too busy.

And so, it’s no wonder that when my husband and I moved away in January of 1999 that I simply fell away from God. Because my faith had not been established. I had the basics, but that’s it. And because I wasn’t grounded in my faith, it didn’t take hold. Over time, my faith dwindled away to pretty much nothing. Activity first drew me away from God, and then, I moved away and completely left Him out of my life. Oh, we did join a church when we moved to Pennsylvania. But my heart wasn’t in it. We then moved three more times, attempting half-hearted searches for churches along the way. However, the searches never amounted to anything. And so, it was not until around November of 2004, seven years after I became His, that I find my next God moment.

When we moved to Pinehurst, North Carolina, I again attempted to find a church. Unlike in previous years, the very first church was it! Immediately, I felt a connection with the people and with the pastor. My husband went with me the following Sunday, and I was shocked when he filled out the visitor card to include both our phone number and our address!! This was completely unlike him. And you know, although it doesn’t really sound like one, this was in fact a God moment… my second. But you would have had to know me and my husband, and who we were at that time in our lives, to see what a God moment this truly was. And what blows me away is that God is so faithful. Even when we’re not… even if we’re away from Him for over five years. And I was, because I had left Him behind.

I’m thankful God led my husband and I to that church in Pinehurst. Because while there, we began to hear the word of God again. We enjoyed that church so much, we jumped in with both feet. We made friends and took part in Sunday School. We took part in discipleship classes and began to hear God’s word on a consistent basis. And so what happened next was only natural… my faith was built up. It’s as if I picked up with God right where I left off years earlier. God did not let me get too far before pulling me back to Him. He remained faithful, even when I was not, and gave me just what I needed when I needed it the most. He does that for all of us.

And so today, I know… my journey began with faith, and it will end with faith. And what happens in between faith to faith has a lot to do with where I am today.

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.” Romans 1:17

Why do it at all?

You know… in reading some of my blogs, it sure sounds like a lot of work in coming to know God. I’m sure some people may even think, “Why do it at all?” And you know what… I confess there have been times that I’ve thought the same thing. Because I’ve personally experienced smooth sailing when I floated atop the surface of God’s living waters. And I swear, I don’t think I have ever struggled throughout my whole life as much as I have within these past few years. It’s as if the struggling intensified as soon as I decided to go deeper with God. Oh, I had plenty of dark times before my God & me moment of 2010. It was desperation that drove me to Him in the first place. But it seems as if the hard times have come closer and closer together, lengthening in duration, ever since then. Almost like labor pains.

For me, I drifted for quite some time after becoming a child of God. My husband and I moved around quite a bit because of his job. At first, it was great… but then we moved somewhere I really hated. I was thoroughly miserable while we lived up North, but for some reason, I didn’t turn to God. We moved several times more before I finally surrendered, but by then I had accumulated some excess baggage in my heart. That’s what I’m working on now… getting rid of my old junk. I thought I accomplished that this past fall, but deep down, I know something is still not right. Anyway, I’m veering off course. The question remains, “Why do it at all?” Quite simply, I am persuaded. See, when I became God’s child sixteen years ago, I committed my heart to Him. And 2 Timothy 1:12 says it beautifully, “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”

Clearly, there will be suffering. But, I will not be ashamed! For I am persuaded that He is able to keep (guard) what I committed to Him, which was my heart. Not only that, I now have a track record with God. I mentioned all the starts and stops with God earlier this week. All those beginnings and endings. Well you know, I may have had some bad endings… but through each bad ending, I learned something about myself. Each time I started out, for God, and ended badly, for me, I realized something about me that shouldn’t be a part of me at all! And when we come to a realization like that, well, that’s called victory. Because when we can identify what’s wrong with us, we can confront it. And through the power of God, we can defeat it. And do you know what else? On the other side of those struggles lies glory. I know it, because I’ve experienced it. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory…” This, my friend, is the purpose of our struggles. Through each one, we are being transformed into the image of Christ. It’s through struggle after struggle that we reach glory to glory.

I imagine there is no one else who’s struggled with God quite like Jacob. He physically wrestled with God. In Genesis 32 we read, “Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks,” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” Jacob held on to God. He refused to let go until he received the blessing. God then renamed Jacob, saying, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”

Why do it at all? Why continue to venture closer and closer to God, when all it seems to do is cause more and more strife? Because I am fully persuaded. Because on the other side of each struggle is glory. And because when I hold on to God, refusing to let go, there will be blessing. I will struggle again and again, but each time I come out on the other side, I am that much closer to God. With each hardship I face, I will be one step closer to knowing Him. And knowing Him is exactly what I purposed in my heart two and a half years ago. There was a verse that propelled me towards God, but it was only the first half of Philippians 3:10 that I focused on. I now know the verse is talking about God’s Son. And it’s only now that I can begin to identify with the second half of the verse… that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…

Here on earth, we will suffer and we will struggle. Jesus did, and so shall we. But rather than run from our struggles, and from God, may we be like Jacob who clung tightly to God. May we tell Him that we will not let go… not until He blesses us. Like Jacob, may we struggle with God and with men, and prevail. And then, it will come… blessing. There will be that glorious Day, for He’s promised it. That’s why I do it.

The Doctor’s Orders

I’m quite familiar with medical exams here lately. My son has been in and out of doctors’ offices more times than I can count in the past six months. One thing after another, over and over I had to schedule appointments. And with each medical exam, my desire was for my son to heal. I noticed that with each visit to the doctor, the exams began the same… the nurses started with my son’s temperature. Because his temperature was important to the exam. If it was too high, that could mean something wasn’t right in my son’s little body. And that begs the thought, is there a spiritual thermometer, too? Because I am fully convinced I am to be examining this heart of mine right now. I am sure that God, who is the Great Physician, has called me to this self-examination. It was recently that I stumbled across notes in my old journal, “Heart – examine myself.” But how do I do that? Just as with a medical exam, isn’t the temperature of my heart necessary for my spiritual exam? And why examine my heart at all? For what purpose has the appointment been made with the Great Physician? Well, to be honest, the desire for myself is the same desire I had for my son with each of his visits…. healing. I want to be healed.

Physically, I’m okay, other than this sore throat. I have no complaint – no need of a medical doctor. But nonetheless, I do have need of healing. Because the truth is, my heart is not quite right. Unlike bodily (a fever being a bad thing), spiritually, our hearts should be feverish. In fact, we should be on fire for God. So, basically, it’s as if the heart itself is the spiritual thermometer. And right now, I believe the mercury of my heart is registering too low. Do you know what God says about that? In the book of Revelation, John wrote to the church of Laodicea about temperature. “These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: ‘I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth.'” Revelation 3:14-16. Lukewarm… that sounds about right. Because I don’t think I’m cold. I’m certainly not without feeling. When I hear something terrible, my heart is moved. I even cry when I hear how someone is suffering or in need. However, what do I do next? When I hear about someone suffering, do I act? Or am I complacent? Yep, I am beginning to see… lukewarm. That is my spiritual temperature. That must be the reason for this exam. Because my temperature is too low, that indicates there’s a problem.

My symptoms? Let’s see… bitterness, wrath, anger. Yes, I’ve had those symptoms. How long? Well, I’m quite certain it’s been ten years, no, wait… more like sixteen years. Yes, that’s right, my temperature is lukewarm, and my symptoms are bitterness, wrath, anger (and more). So what does this mean? Is there hope? Can I be cured? Can I be healed? What can the Great Physician prescribe for my ailments? What will alleviate my pain? And so He tells me. Or should I say, He reminds me. Because some verses come to mind that I’ve read more than a time or two. And His prescription is found in Isaiah 58:6-8. This is the medicine God has chosen for me… for my healing:

“Is this not the fast that I have chosen: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; when you see the naked, that you cover him, and not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the morning, your healing shall spring forth speedily, and your righteousness shall go before you…”

Wait a minute… this medicine God has selected has nothing to do with me and my symptoms. It seems to have everything to do with everyone else… aside from me. This is what will heal me? I believe the Great Physician says yes. I believe the key to my healing is to take my eyes off of of me, for once, and just look around. I’m supposed to share with those in need, help the poor and feed the hungry. And when I look beyond me, I will see there is great need. Yes, I need healing, but there are those very near to me who need healing, and so much more. You know, I recently wrote about new life springing forth from this heart of mine. But now I see something else will spring forth, too. When I look beyond me and see the dire need of others, this lukewarm heart of mine should heat up. And when my heart temperature begins to rise, I should be moved to action (beyond this complacency). And when I stop focusing on myself, and put others’ needs before mine, my healing shall spring forth. It’s what the Doctor ordered.