Thursday, July 24, 2014

Vain Repetitions

Back in high school I had to get this blood test where, over a few hours, the nurses drew samples of blood. In between the pokes-and-sticks I had to sit in the waiting room, with not much to do besides think about it. My mom was there and we played some card games while we waited, but all the while I was distracted by the upcoming punctures.

To try to get my mind off the inevitable, I recited to myself a verse I had picked out that morning. Over and over I recited it, trying to calm myself. My mom wasn't too eager about the verse I'd picked-- she thought it would have been better for me to pick something more... positive. But to this day I can still recite it: "He is not afraid of bad news, his heart is firm trusting in the Lord. His heart is steady, he will not be afraid," Psalm 112:7-8a. (Perhaps she was right.)

I'm not sure how much it helped. Yes, it gave me something to focus on besides the repeated tests, but, if I remember rightly, I was still pretty nervous and, well, 'afraid of bad news'. I tried reciting the verse to help me pretend this scary thing wasn't really happening at all.

So, when I had to get two cavities filled yesterday-- novacaine included-- and I started getting nervous, I picked another verse to memorize and recite to myself. This time it was Romans 1:16. I know think it starts, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the ___ of God..." but I never quite got around to finishing it.

See, before they gave me that dreaded shot, the nurse said something. It probably wouldn't have meant anything to you, just as she probably had no idea it would mean so much to me, so I'll keep that part a secret. Suffice it to say, she said 'something' that reminded me that God loves me, cares for me, and is right there with me.

And suddenly my desire to memorize and recite Romans 1:16 to help me through the moment dissolved. *poof*: gone. Suddenly, I just wanted to talk to God. The doctor and nurse left for a moment to let the numbing medicine settle, and I was left in the room with a big smile on my half- numbed face, looking out the window and praising God. And suddenly I wasn't as concerned about the whole process. I admit it, I was still a little nervous, especially when they had to give me another shot for the second filling, but immediately I ran to Yahweh and found rest.

I'd been trying to get away with turning to God's word rather than God himself. It reminds me a bit of Jeremiah 2:12-13, "Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold not water."

We don't need to use supplements when we can go straight to God.

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