Saturday, July 18, 2015
Shining Light in Dark Places
How is God’s Word like laparoscopic gall bladder surgery?
A friend of ours had her gall bladder full of small stones removed last month. She showed up at the office surgery suite early in the morning and had the surgery done by laparoscopy, in which a tiny incision allowed insertion of a fiber optics light source, cutting tool, and cautery device. After she slept off the short-acting anesthetic, she went home the same afternoon as the surgery, rested at home for a day, and returned to work and full activities the following day.
Back when I was a medical intern, gall bladder removal was major surgery requiring a full incision, cutting through the abdominal muscles, opening the abdominal cavity, removing the gall bladder, and complete repair of the cut muscles and skin. The gastrointestinal tract would often shut down temporarily from the trauma; bleeding could be significant; and infection could occur. The patient could expect several days or even a week in hospital, followed by recovery at home for several weeks.
Now, thanks to fiber optic and laparoscopic technology, surgeons can achieve the same result safely and effectively in a day. The focused light illuminates the darkness within the body to visualize the internal organs, and the same flexible instrument allows cutting and cauterization to remove the diseased tissue and seal off damaged blood vessels.
Of course, laparoscopic gall bladder removal is possible only if done once the problem of gall stones is first detected. If left too long, infection or blockage of the bile duct may occur, and the patient is too sick for laparoscopy to be done safely. Then the patient requires the major trauma of open surgery to clean out the pockets of infection, blockage and decay.
It reminded me that God has two main strategies for removing spiritual sickness from the lives of His children (Mark 2:17), and for saving those who are still dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1,5; Colossians 2:13). Both strategies ultimately achieve the same result, but one is relatively painless, simple and efficient, whereas the other is a long, arduous process involving considerable pain, suffering and complications.
God’s Word is designed to shine His light into the darkest recesses of our heart and soul (2 Peter 1:19). It is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path, showing us what we should do to fulfill His perfect will for our lives (Psalm 119:105,130). It is sharper than a two-edged sword, cutting out the dead tissue from the very core of our being, even our soul and spirit, and the thoughts and intentions of our heart (Hebrews 4:12).
When we trust God’s Word to save us by placing our faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6), He seals us with the Holy Spirit of promise (2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). No longer can we fall prey to powers of spiritual darkness or disease that would threaten our salvation (Romans 8:38-39).
We are blessed to have God’s Word readily available to us to reflect His light into our lives so that we can do a spiritual checkup (James 1:23-25) and examine the condition of our heart (Psalm 139:23-24). We hear it preached from the pulpit; we can listen to it on the radio or TV; and most of us have more than one Bible in our homes. But do we allow it to penetrate into our being and do its healing work (Matthew 8:8,16; Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24), or do we just let it roll off like the proverbial water off a duck’s back?
Having a medicine cabinet full of remedies for our ills does us no good unless we take them as directed. If we take God’s prescription of daily preventive use of His Word (Acts 17:11), we will recognize and confess our sins (1 John 1:9), and ask for and receive His forgiveness (Psalm 25:18; 32:1; Matthew 9:6; Acts 26:18). We will be better able to hear His still, small voice (1 Kings 19:12) directing us to good spiritual health and restoration in Him (Proverbs 3:5-8; Matthew 12:13; Mark 8:25).
But if we ignore His Word, God resorts to more drastic measures to convict us of our sins, chastise us to get us right with Him (Hebrews 12:5-8), and grab our attention with heart-stopping crises.
The same principle applies to those who are not yet saved. How much better it is to hear and accept the Gospel as a small child (Matthew 18:3-4), before our “grown-up” pride and disbelief have hardened us! That is why we must begin teaching God's Word to our children at an early age, at home as well as in church. If we are not saved as children, God may need to allow catastrophe into our adult lives so that we fall to our knees and realize that we are sinners desperately needing a Savior!
My husband and I have an unsaved friend whom we have known for years, to whom we have witnessed many times whenever God has opened the door. But his eyes always glaze over and he changes the subject. The message is simple, yet he has repeatedly refused to hear. He often complains that he is living under a dark cloud, as one disaster after another has threatened his relationships, family, livelihood and health. But he still doesn’t realize that God may be resorting to extreme tactics to get his attention.
As I like to ask my ladies’ Bible study class, would you rather listen for and obey God’s still, small voice right away, or would you rather wait until He smacks you on the side of the head with a 2 x 4? The choice is ours – we can meditate on Scripture daily and be doers, not just hearers, of the Word, or we can wait until our soul-sickness is so severe that we need radical surgery. May we offer ourselves to the illuminating, healing laser light of God’s Word today and every day!
© 2015 Laurie Collett