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Archive for the ‘God the Creator’ Category

“Light shines in the darkness for the godly (Psalm 112a).”

“I’m here as a doctor, not a mother”, says Elizabeth Lawson. She says this in reply to Dr. Robert Chase, who connects the last names of their six-year-patient and the doctor when they are introduced.

The doctors on the diagnostic team in the TV drama House look at their boss, Dr. Eric Foreman, with incredulity. However, Foreman insists that they use the woman’s expertise even though she is the mother.

Gregory House, the team head, is not on the case, but with his best friend Dr. James Wílson, whom he discovered in the last episode has cancer. Although Wilson has been trying to hide from him because he doesn’t want his friend involved in his care, House tracks him down.

When Wilson tells House that he doesn’t want him around, House replies,”I’m not here as a doctor, I’m here as a towering pillar of strength.” Wilson doesn’t believe that one of the world’s great diagnosticians can keep out of his case.

Two doctors. Two sick loved ones. Two people struggling with their roles in the relationships.

Dr. Lawson obviously loves her daughter Emily. However, Emily has a genetic illness which gives her a life expectancy of 20 years. Her mother can’t seem to come to grips with that and has spent much of Emily’s life apparently being more of her doctor than her Mom. For example, Dr. Lawson has been treating her daughter with an unapproved drug at home as a test.

The doctors don’t know what to think of Dr. Lawson’s duality. As they are observing Emily in an MRI machine, Dr. Jessica  Adams looks at her colleague Dr. Chris Taub and says,”What do you think of her mother?  She called her daughter ‘the patient’. Taub answers,”If my kids were born with an expiration date, I don’t…”. (He is interrupted by Emily’s cry from the MRI machine.)   

Even though Dr. House and Dr. Lawson claim to be dealing with the medical troubles of  their loved ones in chosen predefined roles (i.e., ” “best friend” and “doctor”), it is of course impossible to prevent leakage from the other realm of their relationship. For example,  in one instance Lawson overrules the medical team, saying,”I don’t mean to pull rank here, but I’m her mother.” Chase comments rather sarcastically that he thought she was her doctor.

House attempts to talk Wilson out of a risky procedure he prefers over the counsel of several oncologists, knowing it could kill his friend. However, when Wilson still insists upon doing it, and away from the hospital, House agrees to supervise the treatment medically at his place.

As House begins administering the high dosage of medicine which could just as easily kill Wilson as push him toward a cure, he outlines for his friend what to expect in terms of side effects.

Wilson let’s House know he is wasting his time, saying,”I know, I’m an oncologist.”

House tells him,”If you did you wouldn’t be sitting here”, and proceeds with a list of other side effects.  He has crossed over from the land of friendship to the world of being a medical doctor. Still, Wilson is determined to have the treatment.

Although it is a journey, by show’s end the doctors have assumed the roles they were meant to have. Dr. Lawson removes herself from the medical debates of the House team and becomes the girls mother. When Emily is cured, Lawson talks of going to the aquarium with her estranged husband and  her daughter.

House, having gotten Wilson through the ordeal of his chemical treatment, reverts to form. He leaves silly pictures of Wilson during the procedure on the latte’rs laptop in his office,accompanied by equally ridiculous music. Wilson bursts out laughing hysterically.  His best friend has come through.

Understanding our identity and our role is a crucial thing in life. It is abolutely essential to live a life in God.

Today I listened to a talk by Christian pastor and speaker Jonathan Welton, who talks of how getting an understanding of who he is in Christ delivered him from a 10-year battle with lust.  Welton notes how grasping the power of God’s grace to give him self control and reign in life delivered him (Titus 2:11-14; Romand 5:17).

More importantly Welton also notes how Christ showed him his identity in relation to the beauty of women. Instead of being a predator, a role regularly assigned to men these days according to Welton, he understood God had called him to be a protector of women and their loveliness.

A few months ago I put on my prayer list a request that God would tell me how He sees me. Gradually, He has done that as I read the Scriptures. Here is what He has said so far:
 
1) )I am His child (He is my Father). He bends down to listen to me (Psalm 116:1,2) 2) I am His sheep whom He guides, protects and comforts (He is my shepherd)-Psalm 23 3) I am His marvelous creation (He is my Creator).Psalm 139:13,14  4) I am the main character in a book He is writing (Psalm 139:16).

Gaining an understanding of how God sees me, and my role and His role, has made me grasp how valuable I am to him: I am immensely so.  Welton today enhanced my comprehension of this when he said that that the message of the Gospel is that we are worth dying for.

As we struggle through life we learn about ourselves. The fictional Dr. Wilson learned something in his struggle to get through the administration of potentially lethal medicine with horrible side effects. He learned that he was not particularly empathetic beforehand.

His friend House has pain from a leg injury that is always there. He constantly takes pain pills to alleviate it.  After his chemical treatment, he tells House,”So the way I felt, you feel that, what, most of the time? It really does suck being you, doesn’t it?”

Wilson also comprehended how weak his attempts had been in attempting to comfort his own cancer patients in the past. He now understands, having wrestled in House’s apartment with the thought of dying of a disease he treats for other. He now gets  how pathetic his comments  to patients were. He always told them to avoid trying to figure out what their cancer meant.

Wilson’s journey and ours are of the same kind. It’s painful to get to the truth of who we truly are. There are times we have to face up to and set aside old judgments about our identity which we have developed over time, sometimes decades.

I recently told my pastor that I can’t figure out why it has taken me a lifetime to understand the things I know now about God. I believe I said something specifically about the length of time spent learning who I am in His eyes.

Somehow  I think this long process might have something to do with God’s desire for me to grasp who He is. Jesus Himself went through the same struggles I have had to and will continue to face my whole life (Hebrews 4:15).

 I am called to follow in His footsteps, experiencing the same kinds of things He did. As I do, I get an an understanding of Jesus’s heart, and that although He is God, He is also truly human.

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“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out  before a single day had passed (Psalm 139:13-16).”

Yesterday I had an epiphany.

I was looking over some personality test material I had given my students to do earlier in the week. I figured this was as good a time as any to check up on myself, too.

I have done done a lot of analysis of my skills and abilities, passions, values and yes, personality traits the last few years. The purpose (with a nod to career coach Dan Miller) has been to determine what kind of work I would most love to do.

As I’ll be switching jobs in a few month, I thought it relevant to give myself a check up. Not to mention also that for a teacher it doesn’t hurt to do the material you pass out to your students. Doing so gives you some kind of feel for what they will be doing for you.

As I looked over the quadrants showing the personality dimensions most applicable to me, something stood out I had never noticed before. The action plans for the two personality dimensions I straddle say that, to be more effective, I need to:

*validate self worth  

* respect people’s worth as much as their accomplishments.

The recovery programs based on Alcoholics Anonymous tell you that you should do a ruthless moral inventory. Somehow this week I have been doing a lot of that and not particularly liking what I see. I haven’t felt very good about myself as a result.

It has been pretty anguishing to review my character defects. I have come to some realization of how this man has made some major mistakes in terms of being a husband, father and work colleague.

Of late my sins have come back to bite me. I think the author of Galatians was spot on when he wrote, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked, for whatever a man shows he shall also reap (Galatians 6:7).” 

 (Of course, he would be on target whether this truth was part of my experience or not. After all, he is writing the inspired Word of God!)

As I have been immersing myself in my “Life Recovery Bible” this year, I have tended to focus on the first four of the twelve steps. They involve admitting that you have an unmanageable life and turning it over to God. Step four is the one involving the moral inventory.

Now, working on my character isn’t new to me. I’ve been at it my whole life, having become a Christian as a teenager. The problem is that I seem to be struggling with the same old stuff decades later. It’s pretty discouraging.

I just watched an episode of the TV medical drama “House” in which a marriage seminar leader suddenly has health problems on stage and goes under the care of  Dr. House and his team. Part of the treatment is giving the leader, a fellow named Joe, testosterone.

It seems Joe was kicked in the groin a few times a few years before during a bar fight. This lowered his testosterone significantly.

As the low testoerone fits into the medical mix, the doctors treat Joe with testerone shots. As he continues with the treatment, Joe begins to revert back the pre-fight version of himself.

Before the kicks in the groin, Joe was a corporate coach. He was cutthroat and ruthless. 

However, after the bar fight, Joe became a sensitive man. He moved from corporate coaching to trying to help men relate better to women.

In the process he attracted a mate who liked this version of Joe. His wife Marlene is horrified as she watches him revert to the brute he used to be.

The source of Joe’s condition is finally determined and the continued use of testosterone treatments advocated. Joe, despite warnings from one of  House’s doctors that a low testosterone level poses major health problems, declines having them administered anymore.

Joe decides that the lower testosterone will keep his marriage intact. Besides, he tells the doctor, he is a better man without them.

Frankly, I think the whole storyline is pretty absurd and was probably meant to be when it was written.  In reality, all men will tell you a kick in the groin is no laughing matter.

For example, I just read a story in the news in which a woman grabbed a man with whom she was in an argument over a parking space in the man’s most vulnerable spot. The man died as a result.

It doesn’t surprise me that a TV show or even real people for that matter would suggest that someone like Joe stay in a less-than-male state. In this day and age men are under assault, and for good reason, as we don’t exactly have a good track record when it comes to relating to women, or anyone else for that matter.

However, the Bible seems to say that chemical or physical acts don’t make for real change. Indeed, there were people back in New Testament days that said that if you were going to be a real Christian, you needed an operation that affected the same area where Joe was injured.

It was said that if you were going to be a true believer, you had to follow the old way of circumcision. However, the author of Galatians, in the same chapter in which he reminded that we reap what we sow, said that this procedure did nothing to produce real change in a person’s condition. He wrote:

“Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation (Galations 6:15).”

As I contemplated my own condition yesterday I went on to look more closely at steps six and seven of the 12 steps in my “Life Recovery” Bible” . These items move on from the moral inventory to tell me that I should be willing to have God remove my defects of character and also ask Him to do it.

I can’t stay stuck at the “ruthless moral inventory”. All this does is to produce depression and no real healing.

The truth is that God thinks pretty highly of me despite my sins. This realization yesterday shocked me, and also helped me to understand that I do not have to stay stuck in self-hatred.

In fact, to do so will continue to affect my relationships negatively. How can I possibly honor and value other people when I can’t even stand myself?

 He made me and has even written a book in which I am the main character. As an always aspiring author, this just blows my mind. 

My epiphany was that God sees me as hugely valuable to Him. It was also that He has the same view of my wife, kids, friends, acquaintances, colleagues and every one else I come into contact with.

This illuminating discovery changes everything. I see myself and others quite differently today, and want to see this insight from God translated into my character.

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