Help Me See What I Cannot See
January 20, 2020
by David Ward, DDS, PhD
“Whatever you do, work at it with all you heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24, NIV 1984).
“…whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31, CSB).
“BEEEP, BEEEEP, BEEEEP!” Partially awake and shaking from a sudden break in a deep sleep, I looked at my phone. It is 3:21 a.m. A moment passed before I realized my early alarm clock was none other than my hospital pager. “Oh no,” I said. Scared, frustrated and angry, I walked downstairs to get my pager. Along the way I tried to think positively, hoping this call can wait a few more hours until our clinic opens. Unfortunately, the message read, “Patient admitted to ER with facial injury from bicycle accident, several missing teeth, alveolus fractures and uncontrolled bleeding. Call the ED doc.” Immediately, my heart sank, and I realized one of my biggest fears of being on-call had just occurred. My wife was working, and I had no one to watch my kids. That meant I needed to wake up my kids and bring them to the hospital. To make this situation more frustrating, it was 35 degrees outside, the patient was admitted six hours prior (a more reasonable time to page) while intoxicated. I panicked. However, after a quick call to my wife, we were going to make it work.
At approximately 4:30 a.m., my kids and I met my wife at the emergency department. She already had a stressful shift due to a high-profile gunshot wound involving the death of a high-ranking narcotics officer. As our family walked into the ED, thankfully, we were greeted by a team of nurses ready to help watch our kids. However, I was still upset about the situation. Making it more frustrating was the patient’s sibling who kept asking how long this was going to take. At one moment, I wanted to tell this person that this is the patient’s fault, and that I had to bring my kids at this early hour on a school night. I wanted them to know how I felt and what I had to go through in order to be here to treat their sibling. However, none of that mattered after I finally walked into the patient’s room.
After I entered the patient’s room, I was immediately broken. The room smelled strong with the iron from the patient’s blood. It was everywhere. The patient was laying down shaking and covering his face with a towel. He was trembling and his eyes were wide open, filled with fear. I could tell the injury was significant because his speech was altered, and he kept covering his injury. It was at this moment, God spoke. His words and message arrived in a song. Specifically, it was a song by Chris McClarney called, “I’m Listening.” The lyrics I heard came from the bridge sung by Hollyn. The lyrics said, “Your ways are higher, you know just what I need, I trust you Jesus, you see what I cannot see.” Once I took a moment and asked God to help, in the kind of gentle correction that God gives, the message was clear; I was serving myself and not my Savior. This story above is what led to this message below.
As children of God, we are familiar with correction from the Lord. Correction, as uncomfortable as it may be, should be received with joy. First, correction confirms our relationship and salvation in the Lord. Specifically, in Hebrews 12:6, God “disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son” (NIV 1984). In addition, correction comes with great promises. For example, God promises that those who listen to His correction will become wise (Proverbs 15:31), and he or she will be on the path of life (Proverbs 10:17). Moreover, heeding God’s rebuke leads to an outpouring of His spirit on us (Proverbs 1:23). That is important when fulfilling God’s command to be doers of the word (James 1:19-27). All the while, when correction comes, this is part of God’s promise to transform us into the image of His son (2 Corinthians 3:18, Romans 8:29). He is the potter, and we are the clay (Isaiah 64:8). However, correction is not the message of this blog. This message is about serving God for His glory.
As I was prepping for this blog, I kept thinking about 1 Corinthians 10:31, “…do everything for the glory of God” (CSB). As I thought about the verses at the top of this blog, there is a significant cost and standard in order to be a follower of Christ. That makes sense, for an even greater price was paid by Christ. We can understand that cost a little more in Luke 14:25-34. In this passage, Jesus uses the imagery of a tower builder and a king going to war in order to convey the message that there is a cost in order to follow Christ. So, what is the cost? As Jesus teaches in verses 26-27, a disciple cannot have a worldly connection that is greater than his or her connection with Christ. As it reads in Luke 14:33, “Simply put, if you’re not willing to take what is dearest to you, whether plans or people, and kiss it good-bye, you can’t be my disciple” (MSG). In other words, Christ comes first above all else. In addition to this cost, there is also a commission.
In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus commands His disciples to, “…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…” (NIV 1984). Therefore, once someone accepts Christ and becomes a follower, he or she is instructed to help lead others to do the same. My question has always been, “How?” Asking that question reminds me of a sermon Ravi Zacharias gave. In that sermon, Ravi discussed sharing the gospel and introducing people to Christ. The greatest takeaway I had from that sermon answered my question. Ultimately, as Ravi teaches, we are all creatures of feelings. Therefore, in his talk, there is a great importance and need for people to experience (feel) the love of Christ. It is through these experiences that people’s hearts and minds can be opened. That brings me to my final point that we, the children of God, are the gateway to that experience.
Apostle Paul makes a precious statement in 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 that God “made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us” (NIV 1984). This is one of many verses that state Christ lives within us and works through us. Furthermore, in combination with other verses that teach His believers that they are His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), to be doers of the word (James 1:22), that what a man treasures in his heart that he will speak (Matthew 6:21), to go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20) and that we are the body of Christ with our own unique role (Romans 12:3-7), it becomes evident that we are to live in a manner that continues the work of Christ by allowing Him to work through us. Therefore, whatever we do, it should be the love of Christ that is seen in us. This is stated in John 13:35, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (NIV 1984).
As believers in Christ, we all share a common cost, a commission and a unique role to help lead others to Christ. As the Word of God states, we all have a unique role to help accomplish God’s will. Moreover, by the evidence given from the original 12 disciples, this task will not always be easy. Nevertheless, the times are coming when God will put us in situations that He needs us to be His ambassador, to be His words and His hands. Therefore, in a word of encouragement, when the time comes and it is not easy, ask God to “help me see what I cannot see.” God will help us in the work for His glory.