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Gentle Nudges

March 24, 2020
Photo: Pixabay

…He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’” (Mark 5:30-31, NIV 1984).

I pray each morning for God to fill me with His spirit so that “The lost may be brought home to You, the broken may be made whole in You, and You may be glorified.” But, most of the day, I am not focused on the Lord, just caught up in rushing through a busy practice. Sometimes, the Lord does prompt me. He did with Shelby today. After completing his medical care, when I normally would have rushed him off for the next patient, I felt a nudge from God’s Spirit to ask Shelby an exploring question. He had mentioned he had to walk two miles to the nearest grocery store. So, I asked, “What do you do with all that time walking?”       “I take the Lord with me,” he said. He showed me his headphones and continued, “I listen to K-Love (a Christian music station).” Our conversation then moved to his brother who had died recently. Tears filled his eyes and he opened up his grief to begin the healing.

Are we aware of God’s Spirit when He nudges? He nudges us when He wants to act through us for His purposes. When I responded on this occasion, my sweet patient was able to open up his grief and connect it with his faith.

God speaks to us in many ways, mostly with Scripture, but often with gentle nudges. How many do we miss or ignore?

What does it take for us to become sensitive to His touch? Is such sensitivity for less harried people than healthcare professionals? In the Mark 5 event above, Jesus felt a bleeding woman touch His clothes in the midst of a yammering, pressing crowd—I suspect that being a busy doctor or teacher or mother of small children is no excuse to miss God’s prompting.

Jesus’ sensitivity to God’s nudges came from at least five sources.

  1. He was focused on God’s mission as the central goal for his life.
  2. He often escaped the crowds for solitary prayer.
  3. He remained in the present, even with the cross looming ahead.
  4. He was surrounded by a community dedicated to God’s kingdom.
  5. He nourished his sensitivity to God’s touch with obedience. Each time he felt God nudge, he acted. Nudges are not to be ignored.

As Oswald Chambers noted: “There are times when the Holy Spirit does touch us, times when there are “flashes struck from midnight” and we see everything clearly; and that is where the danger comes in…It is a sensible delight to feel God so near, but unless a moral decision is made, you will find it much harder next time to pay attention to the touch when it comes.”

How hard does God have to nudge me before I hear and obey? In what ways do I need to grow my sensitivity to His touch?

Dear Father,
Make me devoted to your kingdom as the chief goal of my life. Help me to push aside my day to spend time with you and push aside the future to be present for my patients. Let me not forsake my community of believers. Give me the courage to obey each time you nudge.
Amen

Al Weir, MD

About Al Weir, MD

After leaving academic medicine, Dr. Weir served in private practice at the West Clinic in Memphis, Tennessee from 1991-2005 before joining the CMDA staff as Vice President of Campus & Community Ministries where he served for three years from 2005-2008. He is presently Professor of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Program Director for the Hematology/Oncology fellowship program. He is also President of Albanian Health Fund, an educational ministry to Albania where he has been serving for 20 years. He is the author of two books: When Your Doctor Has Bad News and Practice by the Book. Dr. Weir’s work has also been published in many medical journals and other publications. Al and his wife Becky live in Memphis, Tennessee, and they have three children and three grandchildren. Dr. Weir is currently serving on CMDA's Board of Trustees.

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