May 14, 2016

Matters of the heart . . .

This has been a weird couple of weeks. For a few years, medications have controlled my heart to keep it from going into A-fib, but for reasons unknown, the palpitations started again. I called the local heart clinic and was dismayed that the nurse on the other end of the phone ‘diagnosed’ my situation over the phone. She told me what she thought was needed, a ‘solution’ directed toward a symptom. I complied, but was not surprised that it didn’t work.

A few days later, I dug out our stethoscope. My heart beat was very erratic, an extreme not felt in my pulse. We went to the ER. Fearing blood clots, they wouldn’t do anything so put me on a blood thinner for 3-4 weeks.

From that nurse to the twelve people who saw me in the ER, all information was conflicting and confusing. Today, I looked online for clarity. Sites like the Mayo clinic tell far more than the average medical person will tell a patient. I wanted some answers, but didn’t want to self-diagnose my physical situation. Just as I need the experts for that, I also need God’s expertise to accurately pin-point my spiritual condition. Today they seemed to be crashing into one another.  

Paul had lots of trials, perhaps including some unnamed physical condition. He wrote what God was showing him during those troublesome times. While most people would see these things as something the devil was doing to ruin them, but this man saw his situation as something God was allowing for a very good reason . . .

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (2 Corinthians 4:8–11)

His afflictions were manifesting the life of Christ who dwelt in him. This is a witness to the power of God in taking care of His people.

I’m somewhat convicted by this. I became angry at the ‘one size fits all’ diagnosis of the nurse I’d talked to a couple weeks ago. She called again, this time wanting to increase one medication. She wanted my permission to phone the doctor to get authorization. Yikes. The doctor had not seen or talked to me. He had no idea whether this particular irregularity warranted more meds or would go away by itself.

My anger may have been justified. It didn’t seem wise to meekly accept a telephone diagnosis,  yet I’m not sure I was speaking at the Spirit’s leading or in His power.

Chambers emphasizes that Christians are to manifest the life of the Son of God in our daily lives. He says the disagreeable things particularly bring out whether or not we are manifesting His life. I agree. I also believe that even though Jesus was not always meek and mild, I am called to obey Him, even during irritations and the questionable behavior of others.

This time, I’m not sure I was even listening, never mind obeying. My reaction to this nurse did not seem to call attention to Jesus at all, or glorify Him.

Chambers says, “Our circumstances are the means of manifesting how wonderfully perfect and extraordinarily pure the Son of God is. The thing that ought to make the heart beat is a new way of manifesting the Son of God. It is one thing to choose the disagreeable, and another thing to go into the disagreeable by God’s engineering. If God puts you there, He is amply sufficient.”

His choice of words about making the heart beat in a new way seemed like finger-pointing. It also reminds me of this verse . . .

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26)

It is a fact of life that eventually and for whatever reason, the human heart will fail. However, God is my strength. He controls my heartbeat and every breath that I take. No matter what is happening or what trials come my way, I am to keep my “soul fit to manifest the life of the Son of God” and to “let the word of God be always living and active” in me.

With that, I again declared that my heart belongs to Him and He has every right to do with it as He pleases.

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