The past week has gone by in a sort of haze. I put my back out on Saturday, July 11, and have been home for the past week per doctor’s orders. Muscle relaxant, pain medication, hot pack on the strained muscles in my lower back, and rest, rest, and more rest.
To be truthful, it is discouraging. I’d finally gotten to the point where I can walk 99% of the time without a cane, walking to and from work every day and enjoying it. And then, with one small bend to clean the floor, I could hardly walk!
Thankfully, I’ve much improved. The days have gone by surprisingly quickly. I have spent them praying, reading in my Bible, reading books, and playing games on my iPad… anything I can do lying down. Too many games really…
I had been wanting to read the book The Lady in Gold by Anne-Marie O’Connor ever since I saw the movie a few months ago. I finally bought the Kindle version. As I’ve been reading, the things I’ve heard people talk about in the past about Austria finally fell into place in my mind. I admit it—I know more about ancient history than I do modern history. I was horrified as I looked at Austria’s history—Christian and Jewish—what I saw is that in both camps there was a total assimilation into a godless culture that glorified sexual experimentation and extreme artistic expression (some outright pornographic) beyond all proportion. I’m now reading about how these same people, who have survived the war, for the most part, continue in a religion of culture, not of faith. Orthodox Judaism talks about the problem of assimilation amongst the nations…
And then the thought hit me: this is what I am seeing in the church today. The church is being assimilated into modern culture like the proverbial frog in boiling water. It has been happening for a long time, but until recently it has been so subtle that we have not felt the water heat up.
As I observe the furor over legalization of homosexual marriage in America, I have begun asking myself—since when did homosexuality become the worst possible sin? I agree, legalization of the redefinition of marriage is huge—but hasn’t sin always been sin? Why is it better to be an adulterer than a homosexual? Well, I suppose when I put it that way, it’s not.
There are all kinds of crazy arguments out there. Let’s call a spade a spade. Stop trying to argue around it. The Bible does not condone adultery and it does not condone homosexuality. Modern criticism only goes so far, and then it loses itself in a morass of illogic. The truth is, people want the love and forgiveness of God and the relationship with Jesus without purity, without repentance, without the cross. They want the good news without the bad news. This is the way of the world, and it has seeped into the church.
As I’ve had these few days to stay home and think about these things, I’ve reread the book of Revelation. I realize there is a side to lukewarmness I’d never considered before. It is the side that sits back and says, “What can you do, this is the way it is?” or turns to a verse and says, “I mustn’t judge, it’s not for me to say if this is right or wrong.”
Oh, we love, we love deeply—our own way, our own sinfulness and the world. We have become lukewarm to the Word of God. When we hear it, we no longer weep with grief at our lack of holiness, we no longer yearn with great longing to be closer to our Lord and Savior. We want everyone else to repent and be revived, and do not see the huge sty sticking out of our own eyes…
Prayer is the real battle. It has been a long time since I just sat and prayed for more than 10 minutes at a time, and felt like I was truly praying. Prayer is harder work than trying to walk without my cane! Sometimes, as I’ve prayed these past few days, I’ve felt totally overwhelmed as I lifted up Israel, America, the nations, the state of the church to the Lord. But I have been slowly but surely pressing on. I may not feel like I’m getting anywhere, but feelings must never define my relationship with God. Especially now!
These are the thoughts I’ve considered as I’ve battled to use this time for real, fervent, and effectual prayer. I won’t say I’ve gotten there. That would be way too arrogant. I will say that I’m thankful for these “sick” days I’ve had home, to think, read, pray, meditate, and consider. I’m thankful for a pulled muscle that may have seemed to have undone all my physical progress, but it has served as a barometer to keep me from a greater spiritual disaster!
And I am encouraged by the amazing words of Jude vs. 24-25:
Now to Him who is able to protect you from stumbling and to make you stand in the presence of His glory, blameless and with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time, now and forever. Amen.
This is my hope—not in myself, but in HE who will indeed do it. As Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:23–24,
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely. And may your spirit, soul, and body be kept sound and blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.