|Photo by Dr Richard Murray 2008|
I entered the doctor’s office, a small cubicle lit only by an X-ray viewbox covered in chest films. In the corner sat a forlorn woman dressed plainly in black, hunched over, not lifting her eyes from her gnarled hands twisting nervously in her lap. The doctor, a handsome and distinguished man in an expensive tailored suit, offered me a chair, nodded toward the X-rays and began to explain the apparently dismal situation.
The news was not good, he said with a façade of compassion nearly undermining his professional authority. My heart was doomed to failure. But he had the solution to the problem and the cure for the disease, if I would put my trust in him. The answer was inside myself, and he could help unlock it.
What frightened me most was what he did not say. I wondered what would be the cost of his cure, in terms of time, money, pain and suffering.
Suddenly the woman in the corner sat bolt upright with a shudder. “I feel a very cold chill in this room,” she said.
With that I realized that the “doctor” was actually evil and death; that his “cure” was eternal misery and damnation; and that what he was offering was nothing but lies and hatred disguised as truth and good will.
I scrambled to my feet and ran out of the office as fast as I could, not once looking back. I tore through the tangled maze of dark hallways in search of the light, and as I ran faster, the light grew brighter and more intense. A refreshing breeze chased away the stale odor of sickness, and I felt my lungs expanding more fully and my heart beating stronger with every breath.
As I awoke from the dream I was surprised that I was not in a state of panic, as I had been with other dreams in which I was running away from danger. Instead, I was exhilarated, thrilled to be alive and running the race God had set before me.
Since the fall of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3), every person is born with a terminal heart condition – namely our sin nature. The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9), and if left to plot its own destiny, it will continually choose sinful thoughts and actions to fulfill lusts of the flesh (Galatians 5:16-17; Ephesians 2:3; 1 Peter 2:11; 4:2). This course of action may seem right to us, for we fail to realize that it leads to death and destruction (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25)
But the devil tries to convince us, with his lies cloaked in a thin veneer of truth, to follow our heart. If it feels right, it must be, he reasons. Why should we thwart desires so intense? Why would a kind, loving God not want us to have what we crave, and even what should be rightfully ours, were He not so demanding? The devil promises everything – knowledge, happiness, fame, fortune, status – but all he delivers is delusion, sorrow, shame, and poverty of spirit – and ultimately death (John 8:44).
The devil’s way is not worth the cost, for what do we stand to profit if we enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season (Hebrews 11:25). or try to gain the world and lose our soul? (Matthew 16:26; Mark 8:36)
The only Great Physician is Jesus Christ. He is the Healer of our heart (Psalm 147:3), our balm in Gilead (Jeremiah 8:22). He cleanses our dying heart from its sin sickness and lets the blood of His righteousness course through our veins (Romans 3:23-26).
He alone has defeated death and hell (2 Timothy 1:10; Hebrews 2:14-15), so that we need not fear being separated for long from our loved ones who die in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:54-56). He will never forsake us nor leave us (Hebrews 13:5) in the valley of the shadow of death, but He will safely carry us through death to live with Him forever (Psalm 23:4).
The Light of His Word (Psalm 119:105) shows us the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). Once we turn from our sin and allow Him to enter our heart through our faith in His death, burial, and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven, He gives us eternal, abundant life (John 3:16; 10:10).
If we keep our eyes fixed on Him (Matthew 14:28-31), and not wandering back to the world of the devil’s temptations (James 4:7; Genesis 13:12-13), He will give us strength, speed and stamina to run the race (1 Corinthians 9:24; Hebrews 12:1). Christ will keep our feet on the right path that leads to high and heavenly places (2 Samuel 22:34; Psalm 18:33), by way of spreading His Gospel of peace (Romans 10:15; Ephesians 6:15).
His grace is sufficient, and His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). With each detour and setback our faith grows, for He proves Himself to be faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9: 10:13).
Our hearts can be filled with joy and peace as we follow the course He has planned for us, knowing that as we cross the finish line, a great cloud of witnesses will be cheering us on (Hebrews 12:1). He Himself will wipe the sweat from our brow and every tear from our eyes (Isaiah 25:8; Revelation 7:17; 21:4) as He places the victor’s crown on our heads (James 1:12) and says, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21-23)
What a day that will be when we truly realize that Jesus has permanently defeated death and that we no longer need to run away from death, for we have run straight into His waiting arms!
© 2012 Laurie Collett