Saturday, November 7, 2020

The Thing About Repentance....

Not too long ago I was driving and began to have a feeling of something in my eye.  When I got a chance, I stopped at a gas station and attempted to flush out whatever was causing me discomfort.  In multiple attempts with water and then saline drops, nothing would work.  After a few minutes, I decided to go back to my vehicle and try and wait it out, perhaps a few more drops of the eye drops would flush out whatever  was wreaking havoc.

Instead of relief I began to experience pain.  Neither closing my eye, nor opening it brought relief.  In fact, just the blinking my other eye wanted to do naturally seemed to cause my lame eye to scream out even louder.

When it was all said and done, (and I won't spare you the details of crying in my vehicle while I waited for my husband to come get me, nor the attempt to find a hospital that had an ER, or trying to keep a mask on while crying.  Nor will I tell you how painful it was when I finally walked, assisted, into an Urgent Care, and the physician on duty shined a light in my eye that sent my pain tolerance plummeting beneath the foundations of the earth) and my eye was finally numbed, after the doctor said, "You'll have to sit on your hands and not fight me so I can help you," I felt relief for the first time in more than two very long hours.  

Two hours is nothing, I know, relatively speaking.  I've had headaches that have lasted days, not hours.  I live with someone who has chronic pain, day in and day out.  Two hours was a piece of cake.  Until it wasn't.

I had somehow managed to get an abrasion on my cornea, a "significant" one I was told by the Urgent Care physician and the Ophthalmologist I saw the next day.  How, I do not know.  I only know it was a pain I hope to never go through again.

In the almost 24 hours it took between getting short term relief at the Urgent Care clinic and into see the actual eye doctor, I lived a life of not being able to open or close my eye comfortably and worse, not being able to tolerate light at all.  

When my husband drove me to the eye doctor, it was a bright, painfully sunny day.  I wore dark sunglasses and a towel over my head and would only allow snippets of light through for seconds at a time.  He led me to the backseat of our van (he said because it was shadier back there, but I think he didn't want to be seen driving with Cousin It in the front seat).  He led me from the van into the doctor's office, to the chair in the waiting room.  Oh yeah, remember, COVID precautions are still in full swing too so that was also a little bonus.

When he filled out my paperwork, brought the clipboard under the towel and pointed to the x where I was to sign (I am also VERY nearsighted so that was also a challenge), we waited for me to be called so the leading and guiding could begin once again.

At last the eye doctor came and gave me a drop in the eye of that beloved numbing agent and I could "see"and I could talk without crying!  

She shined those bright lights in my eye and took away the "debris" from the damage that had been done.  I was sent home with a contact lens on the eye and even though the light still bothered me some, the excruciating discomfort was gone.  I am happy to report now that my eye is back to normal and light, oh the glorious light is not only tolerated, but embraced.

So what does any of this have to do with repentance?  I'm glad you asked.

At my worst, I could neither open nor close my eye without experiencing excruciating pain and light.  Even soft lamplight in the dark could send me over the edge.  I will compare that feeling with what happens to our souls when God is gently, yet somewhat painfully prodding us to step away from a sin or sins.  The pain to stay trapped is painful.  But perhaps more painful than it is to walk away.  

The intolerance my eye had toward any movement or light is like what happens in repentance.  I was miserable with my open and I was miserable with my eye closed.  I couldn't live in either place.  Until the eye doctor removed the debris, I could not tolerate any light at all.  Her light was needed though to shine on my eye so she could SEE the debris that was causing me so much pain.  

I could only tolerate her light AFTER she numbed my eye, which caused me to relax and not fight what her hands had to do to my vulnerable eye.

Repentance, when it's working, causes pain, intolerance to light, and deep pain at seeing what only the light can reveal.  When true repentance is taking place it can be very painful.  The debris has to be exposed so it can be removed.  

Sometimes we need someone to guide us to the One who can take the debris out.  Sometimes the One who takes the debris out is the only one who guides us.  I couldn't tolerate my eye being open nor being closed.  I couldn't tolerate seeing and I couldn't tolerate not being able to see.  I couldn't tolerate the light but the light was needed to expose the debris.

The truth about repentance is the same.  When one sees the truth by the blinding, painful light of God's truth, that is when the debris (sin) can be removed.  

True repentance leaves all excuses at the door.  That's why in true repentance you can't stand to see the debris but you know you have to see the debris in order for it to be removed so you can tolerate the light.

If the light of Jesus is causing you pain, let him come in and shine his light on the debris that's causing you pain.  He is the only one who can take it out so that you can walk holding no one's hand but His.



1 John 1:5-10

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Letters to My Grands-Your Zeal

Dear Grandblessings,

   You are all gifted in some way.  You will all have special things you do in your life.  Maybe Z will be an engineer or H a teacher.  Maybe A and L will be dancers and J a comedienne.  Maybe D and C will be pastors.  I am looking forward to seeing you grow up and into God's plan and purpose for your life.

   My only "advice" would be as you develop into God's purpose is this:  Make sure God is always more important than His plan for your life.  Ask yourself often, "Who do I love more?  God or my purpose?"

   God has great plans for all of you.  Just make sure He stays in the center of them and you'll do great things with them.


Exodus 33:14-16

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Letters to My Grands-X

Dear Grandblessings,

   There aren't too many words that begin with X that you or I will use in our lifetime.  Most of the words that start with the sound of X start with E, like eXhale, eXam, or eXhausted.  

   Maybe you'll read about treasures and treasure maps and you'll see that X marks the spot.  Sometimes X is used by people who do not know how to read or write and they use X to sign their name on important documents.  

   Maybe you'll play tic tac toe and you'll be X's or maybe you'll use O's.  When we used to write letters (I know, hard to believe, right?) sometimes we signed them XOXO which meant kisses and hugs.  

   You will see many uses for the letter X as you grow.  You'll use them in school (algebra) and even in baseball and bowling.  

   X also means Christ and also the cross.  So many meanings, big and small,  for just one little letter.  


Letters to My Grand-Weeds

Dear Grandblessings,

   Weeds in a garden are like sin in your heart.  When a new garden is planted in the spring, the flowers are new and the dirt is free of weeds.  What keeps a garden beautiful is keeping ahead of the weeds.  That means checking your garden often to see if any weeds are trying to invade.  That takes time and effort.  It is much easier to let a day or two or even a week go by before checking for weeds.  When your garden is finally checked for weeds there are so many weeds it will take much longer to pull them all out then if you had done a daily check.

   That's how sin works in your heart too.  Keeping a constant look at your heart garden takes time and effort.  It's easy to neglect weeding your heart garden.  It's harder to weed a heart garden that has been neglected then to weed on a daily basis.  Sometimes it's painful and sometimes the weeds have taken root.

   As you grow up and take care of your heart garden, remember to weed regularly.  Weed out the bitterness, the anger, the fear, and especially the worry weeds.  They like to think they're in charge of everything else and they do a good job pretending they are a real flower but really they have thorns and thistles.

   Check your garden daily for weeds and it will grow to be a beautiful garden.  While you're weeding your flower garden, weed your heart garden at the same time.


Saturday, April 25, 2020

Letters to My Grands-Versatile

Dear Grandblessings,

   I picked a bigger word today.  In the simplest form it means this:  be flexible, be willing to try new things, learn new things, and be used for different things.  All of you right now have gifts that we can see even though you are still young.  Each of you are different but the same in many ways.  Don't get stuck in ruts that keep you thinking only one way about a problem or person or situation.

   Be versatile.  Be willing to look at situations from different angles than what everyone else is seeing.  Be flexible.  Don't be so rigid in doing something one way that if you're forced to do it in a new way you can do so without a lot of inner turmoil.

   Be adaptable.  Nothing stays the same.  Each of us grow and change every single day of our lives.  Be ok with change.  Change is good.  Being versatile is good.