My brother Steve tells the story of his first visit with a new doctor. He told her, “Doctor, I want to let you know that I smoke too much, drink too much, eat the wrong foods, stay up too late, and live with constant stress. But, the one thing I don’t do is drugs.”
“How can I help you today, Steve?” she asked.
Steve replied, “I’m here for the drugs.” Fortunately, he only needed an antibiotic.
I think about that story every time I need a doctor. A little over a week ago, I got sick. I prayed for the first three days that the Lord would instantly heal me. After getting worse, I moved on to Plan B. Nowadays, diagnosing your illness starts with the assumption that you have one of two things. You either have COVID or Not-COVID. It turned out that I had Not-COVID. They then want to know what are the other symptoms such as did you break an arm or do you have a cough? As luck would have it, I have that Not-COVID thing-that’s-going-around, which is particularly bad for people your age. I got drugs.
My fever lasted too long, and we had to cancel Christmas at our house this year. We usually have 20 or so people spending the day here eating and playing games from late morning till late evening.
I love to tell stories about how God swoops in and saves me or others from life’s difficulties. Well, Don, welcome back to normal life. In normal life, healing comes through physicians. There was that order in the garden of Eden telling mankind to take dominion. Jesus even mentioned the sick needing them. Every time God performs a miracle, it seems he has a reason. For example, physicians aren’t available, they don’t have the answer, or he is trying to teach us something.
I wanted something easier, but even Jesus didn’t get out of normal life. There was no teleporting between cities; He had to walk. He knew heat, cold, hunger, sweat, tiredness, temptation, and every other thing that we humans go through.
Even if you could have perfect communication with a baby in the womb, you would not be able to explain what awaits them after birth. In the womb, there is no understanding of the outside world to relate to. The best you could hope for would be to communicate: I love you, there’s a place for you, and you will like it here. Although there are many speculations, in the same way, we know very little of what awaits us after this life. Just as a baby in the womb develops what it needs after birth, we are here to first have a relationship with God and then make faith, hope, and love a working part of our being. It sounds like those are the vital things we need in life to come.
On the spiritual high, when God gives us faith, we can just lay our hand on something or someone and pray and see the fulfillment of the promise. In normal life, when faith comes, opposition and a reason not to believe come with it. Our answer is delayed, and that faith is tested. Similarly, when we make our request known to the Lord and put our hope in him, our prayers may sound like they have a hollow echo and never leave the room. We might question if God is willing, but far more often, we’ll question ourselves and our worthiness. Now, love, that’s the big one. It’s so easy on the spiritual high. In normal life, it’s often met with misunderstanding, rejection, or apathy. We can enjoy faith, hope, and love when living on a spiritual high, but we learn them in normal life.