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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My MRI appointment and Contemplative Prayer

   What I learned while I was in a MRI machine this morning

"Man, I'm glad I'm not claustrophobic."
"Oh boy, maybe I am claustrophobic."
   While I was in a MRI machine this morning at Smith Northview Hospital, with the MRI doing its best impression of a bad "European disco-tech drum machine" pulsating through my ears for over forty-five minutes; I was trying to be still before the Lord and listen to His voice. While I was in the MRI machine and trying my best not to move or look at the small space above my head, I spent my time being still before God. But I asked myself; did it take a hurt lower back, 45 days of denial, and then a MRI appointment 48 hours later, to get me to the place of being quiet and still before God… unfortunately it did. You see, I am a person who loves to move, to be on the move, and sitting still, unless it involves watching Jack Bauer on "24" or Liz Lemon on "30 Rock," it does not appeal to me to sit still. I remember reading an article by Jim Baker, the television evangelist who was sent to prison, that during his stay in jail he spent an entire day with his son on the prison grounds. Before leaving, Jim's son told him that he had just spent the best day with his dad. Jim realized that it took God putting him in prison, to see what was really important in his life.
   I realized that I had been neglecting being still before God. Being still before the Lord to me is different than my normal prayer time. It is being calm, reflective and quieting myself before the Lord and listening to what God wants to tell me. Sometimes God will speak to us when we are still before Him and at other times He will just surround us with His presence.
   "Be still and know that I am God" Psalm 46:10
   What I felt God tell me when I was still before Him was that I cannot earn my way to heaven. I don't believe that one can enter into heaven by doing good things for the Lord, but I was, in my own way, still trying to earn my way to heaven. Salvation is a gift, a free gift. And due to the price of that gift, God's Son Jesus Christ dying on a cross for you and me, I cannot earn it. In fact, I can never begin to repay any part of it; it's too great a price. The price that was paid was an exchange of each person's sins for our salvation and restored relationship with our Father. To begin to think that we can ever earn that within ourselves is foolish and lessens the price that Jesus paid for us. I'm not saying that we need to stop doing well for others; I'm saying that salvation in and of itself is a free gift that must be willingly accepted by us, with no reservations and a thankful heart.


Mystic_Mom said...

Wonderful post, and a very good reminder about God's grace and being able to be still with Him. Bright blessings and prayers for your back.

The Signs Daily said...

I can totally relate to this post. I have a ruptured disk in my neck (and quite possibly my lower back, though, haven't set the MRI appointment yet.. you know why :) )

Like you though, I spent the time contemplating my faith in Jesus, my witness to Him, and where I was going with all of it. Like you, it took a pretty serious injury for me to slow down, and take time to reflect on God as provider, comforter, and healer.

Awesome post my brother. I hope from here on out it doesn't take an MRI for you to find your quiet time.

Martha J. M. Orlando said...

Bill, we have a plaque on our wall at home that says, "Be Still and Know That I Am". One of my favorite songs by Steven Curtis Chapman is "Be Still and Know". Do I always take this opportunity? Unfortunately, not.

Yes, in gleaning inspiration for my daily devotionals, I enter the readings, praying to hear God select the one upon which I should meditate and write; he is ever faithful in this, but you are right - it's not the same as becoming perfectly still and allowing Him to enter us and fill us with His love and grace.

It's difficult to go through any injury and recovery, but I pray you are on your way to healing and that these moments with the Lord you so aptly described in this post will ever stay in your heart.


Jessica M said...

Great post Bill :) Seems like God put you in that MRI for more than one reason! I have found so many fresh insights while just dwelling in God's presence, but sometimes it's so true that life and our own attachments to everything other than simplyopening ourselves up to God's reality in silence, takes precedence in our lives. We live in such a multi-tasking, busy, fast paced society is sometimes hard to even think about slowing down to breathe in the breath of God and be filled with His amazing presence. Glad you got the chance for that today...though hopefully next time it won't be in an MRI ;)

I will pray that the results are favorable and your back is healed.


Debra said...

Be still and know that I am God
Be still and know that I am
Be still and know
Be still
When I think of myself as a human being and not a human doing, I am able to just rest in him.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”
It sounds like you may need a time of rest and renewal.
I’m praying for a full and speedy recovery for you Bill.
~ Blessings

Lisa said...

Yep - sometimes it takes great circumstances before we are still in His presence!!! I'm learning this one too!