Despite what modern day thinking and medical practices currently show, for the Christian, pain doesn’t relieve us of our responsibility to remain active. In times of spiritual drought, emotional or physical pain, fatiguing situations and nagging problems, we must commit to still follow THE Doctor’s orders. God Almighty, the doctor of our souls, has been giving us life saving instructions since the beginning of time.
His Holy Word, the Bible doesn’t say, “Obey my commands when you’re feeling up to it.” It doesn’t comfort us with, “Read two scriptures and call me in the morning.” Nor does the Eternal, Triune God say, “Once this season of weariness is over and you’re feeling up to it, we’ll find time to reconnect again.” Nope, nada, I don’t think so!
Over the course of history, the inspired word of God has told believers, “If you love me, you will obey my commands.” (Jn. 14.15)
Lately, I’ve been encountering emotional, spiritual and interpersonal pain that has severely taxed my mind, body and soul. It’s led to nights of tears instead of sweet slumber, days of ruminating instead of relaxation and headaches that linger with no relief in sight.
This weekend, as I spent time on a plane traveling with my mother-in-law to a girls’ trip for just the two of us to celebrate her 60th birthday, sleep on the plane did not come easily.
When I tried to shut my eyes and get some rest, my thoughts traveled to my present circumstances, wondering what I should do. I prayed silently, asking God for wisdom on how I can obey him in these situations; fully aware that I have no clue how to exactly do that.
I opened my notepad on my iPhone and reread the numerous scriptures I typed out a day earlier to gain some clarity, encouragement and direction.
One verse in particular from 1 John 2 at the end of verse 5 and continuing into verse 6 reads:
“This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”
The last part especially struck me as something to ponder more deeply…
“Must walk as Jesus did.”
There was no mistake, coincidence or fluke that the Holy Spirit led John to write those hallowed words.
It actually makes complete sense. If we say we are Jesus’ followers, it’s only natural for us to then walk as he did.
I have a five year-old-daughter who absolutely LOVES to play copycat. You remember that annoyingly fun, childhood pastime everyone hates to love. The gist of it goes something like this:
At any given time, usually without warning, some kid would choose to mimic any and everyone around him. What’s crazy is it didn’t matter what those people said or did, the more extreme, the better.
Most times it got pretty interesting if the person being copied decided to do something totally gross, even if that meant sticking a finger in their nose.
The unspoken question of the hour for the self proclaimed mimic would be, are you willing to go the distance and follow their lead no matter how ridiculous the cost? Or, are you going to break your game and go on with life as usual?
The same can be asked of any believer, the only difference being we haven’t chosen our roles. It’s been etched out for us. Those of us endowed with faith in our hearts to believe the Gospel, are given the title of Christian. In fact the Bible says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith” (Eph. 2.8).
Because of this, we are literally “Christ Followers”. The five year-old translator in me would say, we are “Christ copycats”!
So, what now?
The age old call of any believer to discipleship is a willingness to follow Christ as he leads his church. Individually speaking, once we are a Christian, will we do as Eugene H. Peterson puts it and walk out “a long obedience in the same direction”?
It’s all fun and games when following Christ leads to good gifts from our Father of heavenly lights. But what about when following Christ doesn’t leave you with the same warm and tingly feeling you experienced the first day you met him?
What about the “icky” times? When you’re not feeling so well – spiritually speaking that is? What about when he calls you to give up some things? He may not bid you to copy him by sticking your finger in your nose but what about when he asks you to do something just as awkward?
It’s in these times of trial and testing that we all must look in the mirror of our souls and ask ourselves, “Am I willing to follow the Doctor’s orders?” Will we follow Jesus and walk as he did even if it doesn’t make sense? Even when everything and everyone around us is pointing anywhere but where he wants to lead?
My earnest prayer is that we can AND will cry with a resounding voice, “YES!”
For that truly is the only medicine for our pained and weary souls.
God bless you and thanks for reading. I hope to talk with you soon.