The Narrow (Painful) Road

I’ve been back on my feet this week.  Sort of.  But it certainly feels as though I accomplished more when I was sick!  I guess when reading is your daily task, and you are forced into a seated (or horizontal!) position, it isn’t so hard to do.  It’s when I’m mobile that I get distracted.

I was happy to be able to get back to the chiropractor a few times; love that man….   This particular chiropractor is quite unique though; different from my past experiences with this profession.  First, and as I have discovered when I watch new patients enter, difficult to comprehend; there are NO appointments. Doctor is in every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 9:30 am – 12:30pm and then again from 3 o’clock to 6 o’clock.  You simply show up and Terri Ann or Kay acknowledge your existence, pull your chart, and place you in a sort of first-come, first-serve invisible line.  The highlight of many a day is my study of human psyche on the patients that wait at the door at 3:00 pm.  Oops, that would include me.

Anyway, another odd little detail is that, although I am there for back/neck problems, the Doctor rarely touches my back.  There is no manipulating, no neck cracking (woohoo!), no pushing or prodding.  Nope, instead there is this wonderful table –much like the massage chairs used at a Pedicure.  You lie on your back and the table rolls beneath your body.  Unfortunately, and I have yet to kick Kay when she does this, but the machine gets turned off after only 2 short minutes.

Slightly MORE unusual is that Dr. Bowker is also an acupuncturist.  Interesting philosophy.  However since most of my medical experiences have been less that fruitful I thought, “hey, what the heck, I will give it a try.”  He doesn’t chant or anything weird anyway.

So Tuesday I go in his office and he asks, “is it okay to use this needle?”  He has never actually asked that before, he usually just pricks my skin without a word.  So I say yes and he takes my right hand and POP! in goes the needle.  Now here’s the rub.  And I mean RUB.  When he is determining where to push the needle in he presses until he finds the area that hurts.  HURTS!  And THEN he sticks a needle in it.  AS IF that wasn’t bad enough, and again—he has never done this before—he starts twisting the needle.  Back/forth, back forth/ OW, OW, OW OW!  I’m now at the point of biting my lip to prevent the tears; who wants to be a wimp and cry from a 1” straight pin?  Finally, and thankfully, he removes the needle.  I literally had to ask for a note so that I could be excused from activities for the rest of the day; my hand would not operate!

He tells me this will help my sinus infection (of which he was aware I had) and I should start noticing a difference quite soon.  I guess sometimes, in order to get better, we will have to endure some pain.

That is what reading Holiness was like this week.

You see, I am all about sanctification.  I took this class on sanctification so that I could grow in my understanding of it and share it in thee most effective way.  I accept as true that salvation (justification) is free and unearned in any way by man.  But I believe there are “gospel obligations”; that those who belong to Christ Jesus “crucify the flesh.” (Gal 5:24) So imagine my surprise when I found in my reading words that actually convicted me; the already convinced! (the vastness of my sin nature is astounding)

When first “Dr.” Ryle asks “is it okay to use this needle,” I say, “sure! I already believe what you are about to say.”  He then presses until he finds the spot that hurts and in this case, it is the chapter entitled “The Cost.”

Poke.  He hits the spot.

“The cost of being a true Christian is what a man must be ready to give up if he wishes to be saved.  It is the amount of sacrifice a man must submit to if he intends to serve Christ.”  Notice “Dr.” Ryle mentions the cost of salvation, but he also mentions the cost of serving!

Back/Forth, OW!

“What does it cost? I grant freely that it costs little to be a mere outward Christian.  A man has only got to attend a place of worship twice on Sunday, and to be tolerably moral during the week, and he has gone as far as thousands around him ever go in religion.  All this is cheap and easy work:  it entails no self-denial or self-sacrifice.  If this is saving Christianity, and will take us to heaven when we die, we must alter the description of the way of life and write, ‘Wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to heaven!”*

Back/Forth/Back/Forth, OW!

“He must cast away all pride and high thoughts, and conceit of his own goodness…. He must be willing to give up all trust in his own morality, respectability, praying, Bible reading, church going, and sacrament receiving and to trust nothing but Christ Jesus.  Now this sounds hard to some.  I do not wonder.  ‘Sir,’ said a godly ploughman, ‘it is harder to deny proud self than sinful self.  But it is absolutely necessary.’ To be a true Christian it will cost a man his self-righteousness.”

That wasn’t a statement to the unconverted.

Back/Forth/Back/Forth/Back/Forth, OW!

“For another thing it will cast a man his sins.  He must be willing to give up every habit and practice which is wrong in God’s sight.  He must set his face against it, quarrel with it, break off from it, fight with it, crucify it and labor to keep it under, whatever the world around him may say or think.  There must be no separate truce with any special sin which he loves.  He must count all sins as his deadly enemies and hate every false way….Our sins are often as dear to us as our children: we love them, hug them, cleave to them and delight in them.  To part with them is as hard as cutting off a right hand or plucking out a right eye.  But it must be done… He and sin must quarrel, if he and God are to be friends…Christ is willing to receive any sinners.  But he will not receive them if they will stick to their sins.”

Back/Forth/Back/Forth/Back/Forth/Back/Forth, OW!

There is more, but after biting my lip really hard I couldn’t actually stop the tears. It will have to wait for the next post…

* “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” (Matt 7:14)

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