As the Doctor was about to remove the catheter that had been my closest friend for a week, he said "take a deep breath now", and I flashed back to two weeks ago in the emergency room when he had inflicted great pain on me trying to find the problem. We both laughed in a few seconds as he apologized and I joked that his bedside manner may need a slight improvement.
But upon removal (you who have experienced this can totally understand) the words that came to my mind were Hallelujah and Boom Shaka-laka, not sure why the two coincided but I know I lost a few brain cells back in the day, so either way you can understand my pure joy. And of course, my somewhat strange mind reflected back to my Baptism in 1984. What an incredible day it was.
And the words "he washed my sins away" also crossed my mind and I thanked God for my spiritual salvation and for the physical healing that would be before me now. Do events in your life trigger thoughts like this? When they do, it is one of the greatest feelings in the world just to experience that pure joy. Physical relief is great, but the knowledge that at one moment God says "take a deep breath now" and when you come out of that water your sins, the most ugly moments of your life, are forgiven and there is a relief of all the weight that was on your shoulders.
That weight is the guilt that we should be punished, feel bad or lose confidence in ourselves, but yet the Lord chooses moments like that to lift us up out of the pit we have fallen into, place our feet on His rock within His living water stream and it's over, we are free from the punishing catheter of sin.
Boom Shaka-laka.......or something like that we shout and we understand that even if in our lives we develop further thorns in our sides, a thorn of reminder, a thorn of sin, or a thorn of disappointment, the true pure meaning of these words can be understood.
My grace is sufficient for you. And this sustains us in knowing just how far we have come from the emergency room to the recovery room. Anything else set before us is now more palatable because we have come from not deserving anything to gaining everything. We must grasp this point that being a Christian doesn't guarantee a stress free life, it helps us instead to free the stress to the great physician.
Yes, God may have let us experience great pain to find the problem, but once it was found there was great rejoicing in heaven. You cannot find these words in those passages where the angels were celebrating, but I would bet they were secretly shouting.......
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.