First, let me say right off, writing this #SeasonOfLight series is not quite going the way I had originally envisioned. Which is just fine by me. These live blog posts motivate me to think and write in the moment. Which is probably the most helpful thing I can do right now, instead of trying to be Joe Theology professor.Â
First, A Word About Epiphany
I had planned on writing some preliminary information about the day of Epiphany which is observed every January 6. Epiphany is not very well known, especially in non-liturgical churches. But it was kind of a big deal in the ancient church. The name comes from the Koine Greek word epiphaneia, meaning â€œrevealingâ€ , â€œmanifestationâ€, or â€œstriking appearance.â€
The idea is to recognize as a â€œeureka!â€ or â€œah-ha!â€ moment when the true identity and mission of Jesus Christ was unveiled. It makes sense in the church calendar to follow the life of Christ after heâ€™s born as innocent baby to see how he â€œmanifestsâ€ by acting as the divine Son of God.
Unfortunately, itâ€™s bad news.
Now thatâ€™s out-of-the-way, time for todayâ€™s â€œletâ€™s keep it realâ€ segment.
So about eight weeks ago I had a bad fall and broke my arm completely shattering the left humerus. Hereâ€™s my before picture, isnâ€™t it awesome?
I had hospitalization and surgery and they inserted a rod to stabilize it so that it could heal and grow back together. Hereâ€™s the after photo:
Yesterday I had a follow-up appointment with the doctor, we took new x-rays, and the report is not good. The bones are not growing back together, which is what should happen naturally. Itâ€™s called a â€œnon-unionâ€ and the consequences â€¦ I donâ€™t want to go there.
Since the beginning of November Iâ€™ve basically been in constant pain, itâ€™s hard to sleep and I cannot use my left arm.
Of course, I canâ€™t play guitar, which for a guy who has seen himself for years as a rock â€™nâ€™ roll-praise-and-worship-dude totally stinks. But I also have a lot of difficulty doing things like typing on the computer, or getting dressed or shaving. And I canâ€™t do a lot of simple things we take for granted like opening a jar or closing the door. Stuff like that. Pain and disability, awesome combination.
I could go on and on but I donâ€™t want to bore you with TMI.
Now what I have just penned in the previous couple of paragraphs is what the Psalmist would call â€œwhining and complainingâ€. Theologians might call it lamenting.
Thereâ€™s plenty of lamenting in the Scriptures, especially in the Psalms. But thereâ€™s not much room at all for lament in todayâ€™s church worship practices. Which is a pity â€¦ but another subject for another time.
Lamenting, and grieving loss, is completely Biblical and natural. We have to learn how to deal with it in healthy ways.
Something I read this morning really ministered to my soul, check this out.
Run To God!
Make sure you turn to him and not to somebody else or to something that can medicate your pain. In times of trouble, establish some firm boundaries for yourself. God will never leave you, but you can turn away from him, repeatedly. In your distress and disillusionment, you can resort to old addictions or unhealthy patterns. Lots of times, people go back to the sources of comfort they knew before they came to Christ. They opt for alcohol, drugs, illicit relationships, pornography, or gambling. They fall back into gossip, blame, shame, strongholds of poverty, or defensiveness. It will be different for every person.
Goll, James (2015-12-25). Finding Hope: Rediscovering Life after Tragedy (Kindle Locations 395-399). BroadStreet Publishing Group LLC. Kindle Edition.
So Iâ€™m just gonna process some of this out loud right now. Yesterday left me feeling angry and scared. And these words so addressed where Iâ€™m at right now.
â€œIn your distress and disillusionment, you can resort to old addictions or unhealthy patternsâ€
For sure, for me the temptation is definitely there.
Something sad and disturbing Ive seen over the years isÂ good people, men and women of God, who totally lost their way and wrecked their lives because they were disappointed with God, or some life issue, and could not deal with it in a healthy way.
Life is hard, then you die.
Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your perspective, I have accumulated more than a few scars along lifeâ€™s highway. And through learning this the hard way, my guiding resolution has been to do what is healthy.
Nothing else makes sense.
Itâ€™s not easy. I blow it, more often than I would like to admit. But we sin, we fall down, we get back up, and we go back to God. As James Goll said it – Run To God!
At the end of the day, youâ€™re going to end up either in the pit of despair, or resolved to hope in God. I even wrote a song about it back in the day – inspired by James Goll no less – called â€œNo Easy Answersâ€.
The Lord Hears Your Prayer
So in todayâ€™s Daily Audio Bible reading we come across Psalm 5. In fact, all of the readings today and Brian Hardinâ€™s commentary totally resonated with whatâ€™s going on in my life.
Iâ€™ll leave you with that. See you tomorrow.
For the choir, composed by David.
O Lord, hear me as I pray;
pay attention to my groaning.
Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God,
for I pray to no one but you.
Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord.
Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.
About Season Of Light
I am writing a devotional series called â€œSeason of Lightâ€ (#SeasonOfLife) during the beginning of 2016, focusing on the 40 day season of Epiphany (from January 6 â€“ February 10). Weâ€™ll explore the major biblical themes ofÂ the beginning of Jesus ministry, and Iâ€™ll comment as the Holy Spirit inspires. This is for the purpose of growing in our relationship with the Lord. My desire â€“ my hope and prayer for you â€“ is that yourÂ heart may expand and your spirit grow brighter as we seek to be filled with the knowledge and presence of God. So, I invite you to join me on the â€œSeason of Lightâ€ journey!
Often Iâ€™ll be inspired by a scripture from the Daily Audio Bible readings and use that as a writing prompt. Hereâ€™s theÂ DAB readings for January 5: