If you have ever sat with someone in an Emergency room or Doctor’s office who is suffering from an abnormal pain or malady, you have very likely felt the tension and fear of the unknown, and the desire for an answer. When the illness or malady can be righted with medication, the prescription is often filled immediately. When the diagnosis demands a lifestyle change, the healing may or may not be readily pursued.
As I type today, several friends of mine have requested prayer for grandchildren, friends, sons, and daughters who are in need of a diagnosis to begin a healing process. I wait with eager anticipation to hear of the doctor’s findings. I pray and hope that the answer is not far away, and that the problem can be answered with a quick surgery or medication.
There is such a feeling of uncertainty when people face trouble with no diagnosis. When the pain or physical ailment is persistent and there is no concrete reason given for it, people begin to panic, to feel “lost”, and to search out every avenue of knowledge they can to find an answer. Just having a diagnosis would feel like a heavy load has lifted; but for many, the diagnosis brings something more.
One of our former tenants was a woman with diabetes, whose weight gain was out of control, and who was confined to a wheelchair because of it. She had been given her diagnosis, and the treatment which would demand a lifestyle change in order for her to live. I’ll never forget the story I heard about the day she opened a box of one dozen doughnuts and began eating them in front of her sister. Alarmed and worried, the sister said, “Do you really think you should be eating that considering your condition?” Without losing eye contact with her sister, our tenant reached for her insulin shot and stabbed it into her leg dramatically, pushed the serum in, and threw it to the ground. Next she picked up another doughnut and continued to eat. The message was clear: “I’ll do what I want.” She died a few months later.
When we are looking for answers to the meaning of life, it is usually because our conscience has awakened us to a malady, or a great problem. We see evil in the world around us. Some of the crimes and atrocities seem so senseless and make us ask the question, “What is wrong with people?” If we could give the world a pill and change it all, we would. The table turns however, when the malady and malfunction we notice is in our own lives. We think evil thoughts. We have angry reactions out of proportion to the thing that triggered our response. We are selfish. We want things our way. We hurt others with our words and actions.
To diagnose the world, one must first have the diagnosis of his own heart. Jesus called it “sin”. The Bible speaks to the condition of our hearts and tells us that we are in great need of a healing, and a lifestyle change. There is a turning from one way of living, to another that has to take place for the healing to make its way into the world.
9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God provided a way for us to heal, to change through His Son, Jesus. His death on the cross, and victory over the grave broke the power of sin and death for each of us. He showed us that we are lost without God, and destined to die an eternal death of separation from God if we insist on life “our way”. If we refuse to see that our hearts are bent to evil, and our desires are only self-serving, we will tumble down a path that will produce one evil after another. If, however, we accept the diagnosis that we are sick with sin, and we turn to God and ask for His forgiveness, He will not only wipe away our guilt, but He will infuse us with the power to make the lifestyle changes. When we don’t even “want” to change, He will give us the “want”. When we are weak in ourselves, God has promised His perfect strength. When we cry out to Him, He will hear us and answer us. He will even provide escapes for us when we are tempted.
8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
9 He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.
10 He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11 For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.
14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.
16 For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more.
17 But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;
We cannot be surprised when evil steals life and happiness, if we ourselves continue to “eat the doughnuts” knowing we shouldn’t. If we continue to ignore our own conscience, dull our senses, and entertain ourselves with sin, we are on the side of evil. Point the finger at terrorists and madmen if you must, but understand that you and I are just “one thought” away from being one. We need a Savior. We need a remedy. We need a change of heart.
May I invite you once again to call out to God for forgiveness, and to receive that forgiveness and change of heart through the Blood of His Son, Jesus. May I implore you to search your heart and see if you have left the path of change and recovery in search of “doughnuts”? Can I exhort you to return to the pain of your conscience which alerts you to the greater dangers you are headed for, and call out to God for your sake, and for the sake of the world?