I recently experienced the rod of correction from the Lord, but it felt more like a bear hug. It was my first day home after another 5 day stint in the ICU. It had been one of the hardest weeks of my life and tested my moral fiber and spiritual maturity to the very edge. I was secluded away from my newborn preemie who couldn’t visit due to the germs of the hospital, and my mom and husband were busy caring for her without me at home.
In many respects, I had managed well. (In addition to keeping my sanity, I befriended my elderly “suite-mate”— a tiny, vocal woman who did not speak a word of English and yelled at the nurses.) But as I was settling back in at home, I heard the Holy Spirit whispering. He told me He knew how hard it had been and He was so sorry for the battle. He said He knew what it felt like to be separated from your only child at the time you wanted to be there the most.
And He said I was going to be tested again because there was one area I had fallen short in.
I had never been harsh or disrespectful to any of the hospital staff, but I had failed to love on them. I was too caught up in myself and my circumstances– and lost in survival mode– instead of being the Lord’s servant. I had forgotten that my life is not my own.
For a split second, I felt a bit defensive against the Lord’s rebuke—- I had been tested (for me) in an extreme way in an area I had no experience battling in. But the Lord gently reminded me that the nature of the battle is irrelevant. Paul had been imprisoned and severely beaten, Peter had been crucified upside down, Thomas was burned alive, Matthew was beheaded– and millions of others endured worse.
God’s question for me was— “Are you going to be the light regardless of your pain and circumstances?” I submitted, repented, and said, “Yes Lord. I will. And when you test me again, I will give everything I have to pass.”
Sure enough, 48 hours later, we were rushing back to the ER and I was readmitted to the hospital. This time, I had the Lord’s words ringing in my ears. And so despite my fear at my life-threatening condition, despite being separated from my baby again, and despite my physical discomfort– I ministered to every person I met with warmth, love, and kindness. With my new perspective it was shockingly easy– and frankly made the “flesh” part of the test much lighter. And wouldn’t you know it, God had me released, stable, and home again in under 24 hours. I passed the test.
I’ll admit— the whole experience has been deeply sobering. I knew in my head from reading the Word what God expects and desires from those who are His disciples, but now I have a knowing in my heart and by experience. I still believe whole-heartedly that God wants to bless us, heal us, and give us a life we’ll enjoy… but we need to understand that we are a team of Special Forces and the demands and expectations on us are high. They are also so very worth it when we remember that God is only trying to save His kids.
We need to make an effort to always be the light. ESPECIALLY in times and places where it is hardest. We need to remember that, more than likely, the people we interact with in those hard places need Jesus the most– and potentially experience Him through others the least.
Do you have a story of testing or a time that you had to re-take a spiritual test? Please share your stories with me in the comments! What an honor it is to be His children. How precious to be loved so dearly.