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THOUGHTS AS I LAY ON THE DOCTOR’S TABLE

So I’m lying on the Dr.’s table waiting for my test results. I’ve had a mammogram every year but this is the first time they’ve ever called me back to take a closer look.

Earlier, as I looked up at the ultrasound monitor with the swooshy pattern moving with the wand across my skin, I thought of John Piper’s words in, “Don’t waste your cancer”:

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Suffering really is meant to wean you from sin and strengthen your faith. If you are God-less, then suffering magnifies sin. Will you become more bitter, despairing, addictive, fearful, frenzied, avoidant, sentimental, godless in how you go about life? Will you pretend it’s business as usual? … But if you are God’s, then suffering in Christ’s hands will change you, always slowly, sometimes quickly.  You come to terms with life and death on his terms. He will gentle you, purify you, cleanse you of vanities. He will make you need him and love him. He rearranges your priorities, so first things come first more often. *

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I thought of all the things that take attention and energy in my life .  Many of those things suddenly seemed silly and mundane.

Now here’s the really strange thing. Part of me (almost) wished for this life-changing diagnosis because I knew it would shake things up for my good.  I concluded that this odd thought could only come from an awareness that the soul is separate from the physical body, and in having experienced the comfort and peace of God in difficulty.  The dichotomy of the soul being renewed, even while the body declines is a strange thing to those who may not know the peace of Christ.

It comes from 2 Corin. 4:16:

Inner outer man

The Apostle Paul (the author of 2 Corinthians) is saying here that by the dying of one, (the outward, that is, the physical body), the life of the other (the inward, that is, the spirit) is actually furthered, that the hardships become food for our soul’s growth.

I braced myself for the possibility of illness. Knowing the real need for my own spiritual renewal, knowing my lack of discipline and inconsistent pattern of prayer, I had to ask, “why not me?”

What was so special about me that God would spare me when He hasn’t done so with others? What, in our finite way of thinking, makes us blind to His purposes for His children, for that matter?

When the specialist came in and gave me a clean bill of health, my reaction was both great relief and again, an odd sense of a missed opportunity to know and glorify God more deeply, more fully, with more of that spiritual spark that comes when the props of our lives are kicked aside.

Don’t get me wrong. I had a great sense of His mercy and a wave of gratitude washed over me.

Yet I had to ask myself one more thing…why do I necessarily need a crisis to have such a fullness of His Spirit? Do I have to come to a crossroads to look at my spiritual well-being? What is keeping me from living more abundantly in fellowship with Christ?

Has anyone else had a similar experience? Have you ever come to a point that allows you to see the spiritual gain in adversity or even sensed a spiritual renewal, even in physical weakness?

*http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/taste-see-articles/dont-waste-your-cancer

WHAT TO SING AT MY FUNERAL

No, I’m not sick or even a bit queasy, it’s just that a friend of mine and I got into an off-beat conversation about what songs we would like sung at our funerals, (again, not that I expect one anytime soon)! So I thought about it a little and know of two that will make the cut. The first one is an old the classic “I Need Thee Every Hour”. I particularly like the one by Fernando Ortega:

The words were written by Annie Hawks (1835 – 1918). After writ­ing the lyr­ics, she gave them to her pas­tor, Ro­bert Low­ry, who add­ed the tune and re­frain…Some years lat­er, af­ter the death of her hus­band, Hawks wrote:

“I did not un­der­stand at first why this hymn had touched the great throb­bing heart of hu­man­i­ty. It was not un­til long af­ter, when the sha­dow fell over my way, the sha­dow of a great loss, that I un­der­stood some­thing of the com­fort­ing pow­er in the words which I had been per­mit­ted to give out to others in my hour of sweet se­ren­i­ty and peace.” (taken from Bible Study Charts).

I need Thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine can peace afford.

Refrain

I need Thee, O I need Thee;
Every hour I need Thee;
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee.

I need Thee every hour, stay Thou nearby;
Temptations lose their power when Thou art nigh.

Refrain

I need Thee every hour, in joy or pain;
Come quickly and abide, or life is in vain.

Refrain

I need Thee every hour; teach me Thy will;
And Thy rich promises in me fulfill.

Refrain

I need Thee every hour, most Holy One;
O make me Thine indeed, Thou blessèd Son.

It is a wonderful acknowledgment that every day we live, every challenge before us and every breath we take depends on God. Every mercy in every hour is of Him.

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 The second song is more contemporary. It is “Glorous Day” by Casting Crowns. Maybe you’ve heard it?

Just an excerpt:

 One day the trumpet will sound for His coming
One day the skies with His glories will shine
Wonderful day, my beloved one bringing
My Savior Jesus is mine

Living He loved me, dying He saved me
And buried He carried my sins far away
Rising He justified freely forever
One day He’s coming, oh, glorious day, oh, glorious day
Glorious day, oh, glorious day

 

I think the reason I love this song so much is that it brings me to contemplate the day when Christ will come back. I think that reading of Christ’s return and imagining the scene as it is described in the Bible is one thing, (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18), but to realize that this scene will actually play out in real life and that we will all be there blows my mind. There will be no more trouble, no more tears, no more worries. Everything will pale in light of His return. It will be a glorious day!

Maybe you don’t have to think about your own funeral to share a song that  best describes your faith and journey in this life. What songs would you pick and why?