I went to a chiropractor for the first time. I woke up with a neck that decided it wasn't going to turn anymore. And when I tried to fight against its will, I lost.
I don’t want to complain or whine... most of my friends have been through this and worse. But it's my first time. And you know how the "first time" can seem intense.
Throughout the day I could barely look down or turn my head to the right. Depending on how I moved my arms, I got a shooting pain that stopped me in my tracks. The doc said it should get better; to call if it’s worse; and I met with him again two days later.
I realized throughout the day that it was a trial meant to humble me. God and I both knew I had ignored His "quiet voice" the previous day, I just wasn't bringing it up in prayer.
Do you ever have those moments where you try to pretend that everything is fine because you're not committing major sins?
Here's how it started: The morning before, I felt the urge to fast and pray. It was a normal Tuesday, but I really needed to seek God's face about some things. But instead, I ended up renting a movie to watch after the kids went to bed. To make it worse, I stayed up even later than that watching comedy (clean) and political videos online. What a waste of time! These are not bad activities within themselves... but I knew Jesus was asking me to fast and pray, and I decided to ignore the prompting. I was what the Bible refers to as, "stiff-necked" - pun intended.
So I prayed in pain, realizing that I had some fessing up to do. I gave into the entertainment and food idols I’ve been flirting with since I was a kid. I don’t know why I constantly find myself going back to those empty buckets with holes at the bottom… I already know better.
I know the difference between right and wrong, most of the time. But certain moments/days/seasons I feel extra tempted. Extra tired. Extra selfish. I've learned from older saints that I shouldn't waste time focusing on the temptations themselves, but ask God, "What is the root of this? Where am I not trusting you? Why am I not going to You instead?"
I'm glad He doesn't give up on me. I tell Him: "I'm really young in that area... always feeling like an infant. Would you fill me with Your Spirit, and transform my heart? I am a child. I am helpless. Would you help me? I know You're better than anything the world has to offer. Help me be honest... I can't do it without You."
Amazingly, He wants to answer those questions WITH me. Even though I don't always know what to ask for, I am always grateful that He meets me in those moments, desiring to "process" my pain and addictions with me. He does not shame me or guilt me. He ministers to a contrite heart. He never turns away the repentant sinner.
My interactions with Him reminds me, “If He couldn't work with a sinner or saint needing grace, He wouldn't have anybody to work with.” That's not an excuse, just the truth.
It took a sore neck and chiropractic appointment to open my eyes. But I’m glad He gave it to me. I know it’s because He loves me.
I look forward to this Sunday. [Nathan’s note: Don’t forget to set your clocks forward an hour on Saturday night! Or, you know, count on your phone to do it for you.] We’ll be talking about temptations and the power of pleasure.
I’ll see you there,