Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Refueling



Isaiah 23:1–24:23, Luke 8:16–56, Job 5:17–27

While Jesus was on His way to the house of Jarius, a woman in the crowd touched the hem of His garment hoping to be healed. Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me? . . . Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.”

For a long time I’ve wondered how He knew that, but I’m beginning to understand the answer. Jesus did everything in the power of the Holy Spirit, yet this is not always an easy experience. When the Holy Spirit uses a Christian, we can feel drained, weak, and very much in need of refueling. This is one reason why many pastors take Monday as their day of rest. Sunday is a busy day, but any ministry empowered by the Holy Spirit takes a physical toll.

For Jesus, it may not have been as extreme as it is for us, or it could have been worse. In any case, He was aware of a difference when “power” went out of Him to heal that woman.

I can also see an additional pattern; when the Holy Spirit uses me, I feel tired, but also may experience stronger than usual temptations. Prayer before ministry is vital; yet prayer afterward is also vital. Some might say that sense of lost power is normal for everyone, a human experience. Maybe so, yet the pattern I notice has nothing to do with how much sleep I’ve had or the amount of physical energy expended.

I write this today because when in ‘drained and tempted’ mode, I tend to look in the Scriptures for what I need to hear rather than a more literal interpretation. For instance, from Isaiah, I took personally the following verses, even though he used words more extreme than my current experience:

“The earth shall be utterly empty and utterly plundered; for the Lord has spoken this word. The earth mourns and withers; the world languishes and withers; the highest people of the earth languish. The earth lies defiled under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant.” (Isaiah 24:3–5)

This is a prophecy about God’s judgment on the earth, but sometimes I feel withered, defiled, and guilty of some wrongs, usually blurry and I cannot name anything. When that happens, I know this is the work of the liar, not the Holy Spirit.
On the other hand, all of the passage from Job blessed me today. Even though these words were spoken to a man who was NOT being reproved, and even though I do not always sense God reproving me (but often sense Satan accusing), these words are give me great comfort and encouragement:

“Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal. He will deliver you from six troubles; in seven no evil shall touch you. In famine he will redeem you from death, and in war from the power of the sword. You shall be hidden from the lash of the tongue, and shall not fear destruction when it comes. At destruction and famine you shall laugh, and shall not fear the beasts of the earth. For you shall be in league with the stones of the field, and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with you. You shall know that your tent is at peace, and you shall inspect your fold and miss nothing. You shall know also that your offspring shall be many, and your descendants as the grass of the earth. You shall come to your grave in ripe old age, like a sheaf gathered up in its season. Behold, this we have searched out; it is true. Hear, and know it for your good.” (Job 5:17–27) Amen!

In Luke, the woman who touched Jesus wanted to be anonymous, but when she realized He was aware of what she had done, she fell down at His feet and told Him and the crowd what she had done and that she had been immediately healed. Jesus said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

Those words bless me, for because of Jesus, faith also makes me well — and fills my heart with peace.

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