October 30, 2018
“For three days he was blind, and did not drink or eat anything” (Acts 9:9, NIV 1984).
Dennis is a neurologist in the Northwest with numb feet. About 15 years ago, he was in Hawaii, body surfing with boogey boards. He was using one of his kid’s broken boards. Coming in on a big wave, he nailed the beach with his head, pinching his cord against his spine. Under water he realized, “I’m paralyzed.” He was an avid swimmer and, without panic, waited for his body to float to the surface where a wave flipped him onto his back. There he could breathe and call for help. His son thought he was joking. Three days later Dennis was able to walk with assistance. He experienced excruciating pain in the hands and arms and it took two months for them to recover. He still walks carefully because of persistent loss of sensation in his feet. I asked him what he learned through that struggle. “Well, God sure got my attention.” I asked him what God had said to him and he answered, “God asked me, ‘Who are you living for—you or me?”’
What does God need to do to get your attention?
If we are God’s children, we were saved to become more like Jesus and saved to become His ambassadors to the world. For most of us this requires a whole lot of change in character and a whole lot of change in direction. God has given us spiritual disciplines to help foster that change. In his book, Conformed to His Image, Kenneth Boa explores the spiritual disciplines of solitude and silence, prayer, journaling, study and meditation, fasting and chastity, secrecy, confession, fellowship, submission and guidance, simplicity, stewardship, sacrifice, worship and celebration, service and witness. We should take the time to examine this list and discover which spiritual disciplines we should be utilizing to allow God’s Spirit better access to our lives for change. The more we practice these disciplines, the less often God will need to get our attention, but He will do so if He must.
His attention-getting may not be comfortable. As C.S. Lewis describes from his own life experiences, “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” When Dennis now remembers his arm pain and near paralysis, he hears God’s Spirit shouting out the suffering of Christ and is driven back to gratitude and service.
Once we have accepted Christ as our Savior, we are changed and we begin the road to more change. We should seek that change through the spiritual disciplines; we should listen hard for quiet whispers toward new direction. But, if we are a bit deaf or a mite bit stubborn, it might require sore necks and numb feet.
Let me seek your direction intentionally, but shake me as needed to look your way.