I was in the house alone and turned on some worship music to listen to as I was in the kitchen cleaning. My thoughts were also occupied with the dread of having to come upstairs and finish painting the last wall in my office. If only that gallon of paint could have just gone a little further, it would have been completed the day I had done all the other painting. I even remember having the amusing thought that day, “Jesus blessed the food to feed the multitudes…I wonder if He would bless this paint so I can finish with just one gallon of paint.”
So you get the idea that my thoughts weren’t in some “holy” place as I moved around the kitchen, trying to reclaim order from its previous state of chaos.
Then, unexpectedly, my ear seemed to zero in on the lyrics of the song playing from iTunes at precisely the right second.
You were wounded for my sin and
You were bruised for all my shame
You were broken for my healing
Only by the cross I’m saved
-Darlene Zschech, Hillsong
As I listened to those words, I was sort of struck by how aware we Christians are about our sins and failures and shame and shortcomings. For a split second I wondered if it was normal or if we were getting a little carried away.
Immediately, another thought countered the first; how fortunate are those of us who have the privilege of having our eyes opened to the fact that without Jesus, we are hopeless; that only because of our awareness of our sins and failures and shame and shortcomings are we even afforded the opportunity to do something about it.
Standing there in the kitchen with only a few seconds between my earlier thoughts of a dirty kitchen and the dread of painting and this present awareness of being, well…basically, a wretch, my mind drifted backwards to a hospital stay in the summer of 2006.
I had been diagnosed with some rare form of renal failure or kidney failure. I was in stage 4, which means it was very progressed. The strange thing was, I had a few symptoms along the way, but none that seemed life threatening. In hindsight, I can see how the symptoms came on so gradually, that I really didn’t notice how tired I was or my loss of appetite.
I had lost some weight, which was obviously not going to kill me. My urine was discolored and I was tired. But I wasn’t so tired that it kept me from having a great time as I vacationed in Destin, FL a month earlier, riding Sea-Doos in the ocean with my husband and teenagers.
Don’t get me wrong, there were many times I remember thinking, “Something is wrong.” but my doctor couldn’t seem to figure it out. It ended up being a simple blood test for something completely unrelated, that revealed my kidneys were failing…and they were failing in a BIG way. By the time all the testing and biopsy was done, it was determined that I only had 26% kidney function and they weren’t giving me much hope to pull through.
Once I was admitted to the hospital, the nurses and other staff kept asking, “How do you feel? Are you ok? Are you in pain?” to which I always responded, “I’m fine…I feel fine. I’m not sick!” I was in denial about what was going on and couldn’t see it while I was going through it.
So, after being asked several times how I felt, my husband finally asked, “How is she supposed to be feeling?” The answer was a bit unsettling to say the least. The man said, “Well, we don’t really know. By the time most patients are diagnosed with what she has, it’s too late to do anything for them…they are usually bleeding out of their noses and mouths and on the verge of death…” Ummmm, alrighty then! Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but it definitely put things in perspective!
The point is, a timely diagnosis is a blessing! The old cliché, “The sooner the better.” was definitely fitting in this situation. Did it scare the “you know what” out of me? Uh…YEAH! But there was still hope for me to live, because even though it looked bad, I still had a shot at life!
Guess what? We all have a diagnosis and it’s called sin and it’s killing us. But most people don’t want to hear that because, you know, it’s offensive! “Who do you think you are telling me I have a problem with sin…” Yet most of us reach a place in our lives when we have the same vague inclination I had before my diagnosis; you know that nagging feeling that tells us “something is wrong.”
I don’t know what your existing “symptoms” are…maybe you just don’t have the peace and fulfillment you crave; just a general sense that something is missing. Maybe you’ve “got it all” but you still feel empty…or maybe you’ve just come to the place of wondering, “Is this all there is to life?” Every person’s realization of this comes in different ways with different circumstances. But rather than get to the heart of the matter, do you find that you just keep going, hoping you can fake it till you make it?
When a person gets a life threatening diagnosis from the doctor, they don’t get mad at the doctor. Most people will become submissive to the doctor’s plan with a willingness to do whatever he tells them with the hopes they can get better and although the memory of how scary it was is unpleasant, you can be thankful for the diagnosis that exposed the sickness. It’s only when you become aware of and acknowledge the sickness that you can move toward the cure.
I think it’s important to note that in the same way we are willing to listen and heed the words of a doctor with a deadly diagnosis, we need to be just as willing to listen and heed God’s word when He deals with us about sin, which is also a deadly diagnosis. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.”
Let’s just say it’s God’s way of giving us a heads up that if we continue on, doing our own thing, our way, we will end up “bleeding out…on the verge of death”.
But there’s another way…there’s a cure. So what is it? Roman’s 6:23 gives us the answer. It says, “For the wages of sin is death (diagnosis), but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord (cure). (parenthesis mine)
Maybe you know all about Jesus and you believe in Him, but you’ve never made Him the Savior and Lord of your life. There is a difference between asking Him to be your Savior and allowing Him to be your Lord. Maybe you’ve attended church but you sense there is a disconnect between knowing about Him and really knowing Him personally. You may feel Him drawing you and asking you to surrender everything to Him as you read this.
Maybe you have given your life to Him in the past, but have become distracted and taken your focus off of Him as other things have taken priority over your relationship with Jesus. But whatever the case may be, if you feel God dealing with your heart to surrender everything to Him right now, then pray this with me.
“God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I deserve the consequences of my sin. However, I am trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I believe that His death and resurrection provided for my forgiveness. I trust in Jesus and Jesus alone as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank you Lord, for saving me and forgiving me! Amen!”
As always, I welcome your comments. If you prayed that prayer or have questions, then please let me know in the comment section below 🙂