Devotions: Medicine for the Spirit
Not too long ago, I found myself in a great deal of physical pain. I could barely walk and it hurt to stand for any length of time. I hadn't been doing anything unusual. I couldn't understand why I was feeling this way. Then I realized it was not something I had done, but something I hadn't done. I hadn't taken my medicine for two days because I kept forgetting to fill my pill box. Not long after that, I developed a splitting headache for several hours. I decided then to always keep my pills filled.
At eight o'clock mountain time, I have a ritual that I go through. Upon waking up and taking care of any time-sensitive bodily concerns (I tend to wake up thirsty), I go into the office and start OtterTunes for the day. As soon as that's done, I begin the morning medical routine. Ideally, it goes like this: Taking my glucometer, I poke my arm and test my blood sugar. I then step into my bedroom and take my morning pills. Finally, I inject myself with 40 units of lantus insulin right behind the lower... you get the idea.
During this time, I also have a different routine which I go through at the same time. First, I listen to the Fursome Foursome read the scriptures. When they are done, I say my prayers. At the end of my prayers, I have a time of meditation.
It ocurred to me recently that the two rituals aren't that far apart. My medical ritual, when I do it, cares for my body. My devotions, again, when I do them, care for my spirit. Allow me to explain.
My glucometer allows me to see what's going on inside myself. It tells me what I need to do to achieve balance, whether I need to take an extra dose of insulin or drink something sugary. Meditation is a lot like that. Now first of all, I should clarify that I am not talking about what bhuddists mean when they say "meditation". Meditation, as refered to in the bible, is not blanking your mind, but actively thinking. You pick a concept, usually something from that day's bible reading, and you think about it. Meditation also involves listening. When I meditate, I open my mind up to the Holy Spirit to see if He has anything to tell me that morning. Sometimes He does, sometimes He doesn't. Meditating on God's word allows me to see inside myself. Things that I am doing wrong are brought to my attention, and I am able to either correct them, or if I am unable, as God for His help with them. Fortunately, although my glucometer only provides a number, meditation provides much greater insight. Sometimes I find that I need to apologize to someone. Sometimes I find that I'm undervaluing myself. Sometimes, I find that I need to spend more time in my devotions. The Holy Spirit is most helpful in revealing to me what I need to know.
Pills are wondrous little things. Consider this: We are made of molecule-sized machines. When something goes wrong, we can introduce new molecule-sized machines to correct it. Suffering pain? There's a pill for that. Muscles swelling up? There's a pill for that. Losing your hair? There's a pill for that, too. The pills I take are for pain, regulation of blood sugar, blood pressure, lipids and of course my "young rat pills" to keep my mitochondria healthy. The bible is like pills in that it adds many things to our spirits which we need to function correctly. It gives us inspiration, guidance, correction, comfort, wisdom, instruction, and much more.
The morning injection is all about balance. Once I know what my needs are, I am able to introduce something into my body to bring my blood sugar back where it is supposed to be. It isn't always the same. Sometimes I need more than one dose. Sometimes I don't need any insulin at all. Sometimes I need to take things the opposite direction and go drink some juice. When I pray, I am able to take my needs to God. My needs aren't always the same. Sometimes I must confess. Sometimes I need to give thanks. Other times, I must ask for something and still others, I just want to praise. In prayer, I can do any and all of those things. When I do, God helps me with my needs. He offers me forgiveness when I confess, generosity when I thank Him, and whatever my needs of that day might be when I make supplication. Sometimes, He tells me how to solve my problems myself. Sometimes He fixes them directly. Sometimes He does nothing because nothing is needed.
Of course, you all know what happens when I don't take my medicines. As I already mentioned, I end up in whopping pain. This is because the natural condition of my body is not a healthy one. Allowed to revert to its natural state, my body suffers from fibromialgia, diabetes, high blood pressure, neuralgia, debilitating fatness, bad teeth, high taxes, you name it. My spirit is similar. It's natural state is not healthy. I need a daily dose of God to keep my spiritually healthy. If I don't get it, I end up depressed, grumpy, apathetic, easy to tempt and backslidden.
I'm happy to say that not all of us are sickly. We don't all need daily medical attention. Our spirits, however, are a different matter. We all need the daily ministrations of God to keep our spirits healthy. Without prayer, scripture and meditation, our spirits will revert to their natural state. They won't die. The salvation of Jesus Christ has seen to that. But they will end up dirty, sick and very unhappy.
The challenge for this week: One you've heard before, I'm sure. Read your bible and pray! It's pretty fundamental advice, and unfortunately, it's all too often taken for granted. Don't make the all-too-common mistake of fobbing off your devotions for whatever reason. Keep that old proverb in mind: "Seven days without prayer makes one weak."
9 BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
12 Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.
13 With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.
14 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.
16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.