Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Vivid Illustration

You think it will work?
May 17, 2011

The answer to that question, asked in the much loved movie Princess Bride, was, "It will take a miracle."

Happy to be alive
Catherine continues to make great strides toward physical recovery in her retreat from the threshold of death.  Her feet have been attended to, with the jiggers removed, and they are being treated with a cream that will assist the healing process.  She was very low on blood at the time she entered the clinic because these critters suck a person's blood. However, her critical physical condition may be the consequence of a destructive life style and consider minor in comparison.

With primary volunteer caregiver - Sera
As mentioned in a previous blog, Masese, from where we rescued Catherine, is filled with alcoholism and drug use.  Catherine was among those who lived life drunk.  This may account for her laying in the dry dirt were jiggers live, waiting to attach themselves to a human on which to feed.  Her body is recovering so well now.  She wants to eat all the time, loves seeing her son, talks almost constantly, does not want to go back to Masese, and has no idea where she will go when discharged.  She is not able to stand on her own, walk, or take a shower ... .some of the challenges she has to overcome to be on her own.  She doesn't have a place to go yet, but will soon be discharged if she continues to make progress like she has.  Catherine has no memory of being sick, of being unconscious, of making any trip to either the hospital or the clinic.  She had to be told she was rescued by some divine agents of grace.  She cried when told some of the details.

It would be a shame to see her return to a life of drunkenness and drugs ... addictions which led to not only a close call with death, but the loss of her amazing son, Joshua, to whom she gave her mothering rights to Sera of Sera's Caring Place.  Can she make the transition?  Will she go through a spiritual transformation that will leave her pointed in a new and life giving direction?  It will take a miracle.
Catherine & Joshua

It's a good thing that Jesus majors in miracles.

The second verse of Romans 12 goes something like this:

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

The word transformed may also be translated "renovated."  There are at least four major characteristics of a renovation ... confirmed by anyone who has overseen or attempted to renovate a part of their home.

  1. Renovation is ALWAYS messy.  The removal of the old results in a lot of mess.
  2. Renovation will always cost MORE than you thought it would.  The anticipation of costs are almost always underestimated.
  3. Renovation will always take MORE time than you thought it would.  Delay after delay after delay for adjustments will make some renovations to drag on and on.
  4. The results of a renovation are spectacular.  Before and after distinctions are so vivid.
Catherine's rescue from death and her recovery has been messy to the max!  We had no idea at the time that her healing would also require a change of heart, mindset, and living environment.  This change will take much longer than getting her body back to normal.  We didn't know how long the stay in the clinic would be, but we the hospital bill for her and her son, Joshua, is over a million shillings right now (equivalent to $421 at today's exchange rate) and Sera, Pam, and I have only paid 300,000 of that so far.  Sera doesn't know where it will come from.  I believe the Lord will provide.

As a side note, I'm going through a personal renovation as well.  Catherine's renovation seems like sort of a parallel and vivid illustration for me.  And, yes, it bears the marks of most renovations.  The results are going to breath taking.

It's common for western Christianity to begin with Jesus and soon move on to follow his teachings and live by His ethics.  While the book of Proverbs is full of helpful and wise life principles, and the teachings of Jesus and the apostles are clear about right and wrong and God's design for life ... the bottom line is that Jesus asked us to follow HIM ... not his teachings.  All other religions follow the teachings or ethics of their leaders, but Jesus asked us to follow HIM.

It's an easy thing to fall into ... making a life long study of the Word of God not to connect with the living Word, but to find the "how to live life" principles and exhortations.  Soon Jesus gets left behind as though we could somehow move beyond Him to something greater.  Hmmm.

For years I have made the Bible a destination.  In reality, the Bible is a compass that points us to Jesus. The written Word is a map that leads us to the living Word.  [Jesus Manifesto, Sweet & Viola, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2010, p. 138]

I'm being renovated, but the dismantling of my human effort to practice the principles of the Word of God (what a failure that has been!) has been messy.  The things I have held on to so tightly as achievements have been devalued to zero.  The layers of veneer of my confidence in my understandings and values are taking a LONG time to get peeled off.  But, I'm falling in love with Jesus and, I believe, the change will be spectacular.

Can I make the transition?  Will I go through a spiritual transformation that will leave me pointed in a new and life giving direction?  It will take a miracle.
Just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him.  Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him.  Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught and you will overflow with thankfulness.  (Colossians 2:6-7)

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