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
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Denise said...

you are a blessing.

Aritha said...

Thank you very much for writing this!

Frank E. Blasi said...

Dear Laurie,
Too bad that when I needed a new aortic valve replacement, it was done by open heart surgery rather than laparoscopy.
You write about a friend of yours who has resisted the grace of God up to the present. I too have resisted him during my teenage years, and as you say, it took something bad to make me responsive, although I would not have labelled it as a catastrophe, but maybe a blessing in disguise. It was when my first girlfriend dumped me in 1972 that I began to ponder what life was meant to be about. When I received the Gospel (as opposed to Roman Catholic teachings) by the end of that year - I was broken enough to respond.
But I believe that the biggest barrier to the truth of the Gospel is the theory of Evolution. Advocated by highly educated scientists and professionals, anyone who disagrees with the theory is labelled a nutter, eccentric, or whatever. Yet nothing destroys the credibility of the Gospel so thoroughly as this theory.
An excellent post.
By the way, I missed you last week. I hope everything is okay. God bless.

Laurie Collett said...

Thank you, Denise, and right back at you!
God bless,

Laurie Collett said...

You're very welcome, Ariella! Thanks for reading it!
Many blessings to you,

Laurie Collett said...

Dear Frank,
It's been a crazy busy summer, which is why I reposted from the archives last week -- Gifts from the Beach -- I don't know if you saw it.
You're so right, God can use adverse circumstances to get our attention. Praise God that you listened to Him in this turn of events, that, as you say, turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
It is also true that Darwin and his theory of evolution have wrought considerable damage against "acceptabiliity" of the Gospel, despite the total lack of evidence for the theory. Even Darwin eventually admitted that his evidence proved only natural selection, not one species "evolving" into another. But by then, it was too late, and even the Scofield Bible proposed the "gap theory" to try to "resolve" the Biblical account of creation with Darwin's theory. This led to a slippery slope that has many Christians questioning the truth of many key doctrines.
Thanks as always for sharing your insights, and God bless,

Brenda said...

We have the greatest physician that one could wish for, who is not only able to heal and restore our spirit (and our bodies), in this world, but gives us far more than man could ever give us - everlasting life beyond this world. It is true Laurie, that we have to continue to take the 'medicine' and not leave it in the 'medicine cabinet', for if we are only hearers of that word spoken in order to mature and strengthen us in the Lord, and not doers, then we achieve nothing. As you say, let us not ignore God's word.
God bless you Laurie for sharing.

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, Brenda! Praises to the Great Physician for His physical, mental, spiritual and eternal healing! But like good patients, we must faithfully use His prescribed treatments of studying and following His Word and prayer if we are to experience true healing.
God bless you too, Brenda, for your faithful encouragement.

a joyful noise said...

No 2 x 4's for me !! May we be willing and obedient and Quick at that.
Sorry for your friend who refuses to realize he is being hounded by God. Thanks for sharing your lovely words with us here at Tell me a Story.

Laurie Collett said...

Amen, Hazel -- no 2 X 4s! May we be swift doers of the Word and not just hearers. Thank you for your kind words and for hosting.
May you have a blessed week in Him,

Donald Fishgrab said...

Sadly, many people don't even know help is available. For them opening the bible is a little like rummaging through someone else's medicine cabinet with no idea what the different medications are for.

Laurie Collett said...

Great analogy, Donald! Whenever I give away a Bible, I include a list of "Emergency Numbers" -- Scripture citations for when you're feeling alone, afraid, sick, betrayed, etc. But the Bible seems like foolishness to those who are unsaved, until the Spirit works in their hearts and the Gospel begins to sink in.
Thanks for your comment & God bless,

S. Knowles said...

This was great Laurie, I shared it on my twitter and facebook page and google plus page too. I felt I learnt a whole lot from this post, about laparoscopic gall bladder surgery and most importantly about the power of the word of God. This post was excellent, I had it on my read later list on my browser for several days and finally got a chance to read it and I'm glad I did. I totally agree with what you said about children being taught the word of God from a young age, even Solomon said, "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, "I find no pleasure in them" Ecclesiastes 12:1

Laurie Collett said...

Thank you so much, Sateigdra, for your encouraging and uplifting words and for sharing the post! I am blessed to hear that you enjoyed it and found it helpful. May we teach the Word of God to our children and let His light shine in their lives!
God bless,