Welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. My friend, may I ask you a question today? If you will give God your right to yourself, will he make a holy experiment out of you? You know that God’s experiments always succeed. Let’s find out in today’s thought entitled: God’s Experiment.
My friend, lifes a story, welcome to This Passing Day.
One of the great wonders of medicine today is the ability of a good surgeon to find a cancer, remove it, treat the further spread of it, and put a patient back on the road to recovery. I’ve traveled that path and experienced what it’s like to have some of the best surgeons around to trust with the my cancer care. However, sometimes dealing with diseases like cancer can be unpredictable. In my case I had to deal with a temporary stoma, a small opening in my abdomen, to accommodate a temporary ileostomy, a bag to tap into the intestine while the colon heals. We were aware that there were some risks. One rare occurrence is called a prolapse. This is where the small intestine pushes out of the stoma. It’s painful and inconvenient and, as I found out, there’s really no medical treatment or device for it other than manually pushing it back in again. I dealt with this problem for weeks until I finally decided to experiment with my own method for controlling the matter. Holly and I designed a device to keep pressure on the stoma while still allowing the ileostomy to work. Since it was untested, it was 100% experimental. In order to make it work I had to abandon myself to the idea that there was nothing to lose and everything to gain. In a way it was reckless should something go wrong, but we went into it with the mindset that we had nothing to lose but the inconvenience and the pain.
When I decided to go down the path of experimentation, I did in fact give up on the right to medical security that had been founded on years of going to doctors, abiding by their instructions and using their methods for treatment and healing. My treating physician knew of no device to help me, so I was on my own. I needed to divert from a path of known to an unknown path. I became an experiment, in essence, for the doctor who encouraged my medical originality.
Here’s a thought from Oswald Chambers: “If you will give God your right to yourself, He will make a holy experiment out of you. God’s experiments always succeed. The one mark of a saint is the moral originality which springs from abandonment to Jesus Christ.” (adapted–Today in the Word, February, 1991, p. 20.)
Abandoning safe shores is a difficult thing for any of us to do. What we know and what we trust feels good. What we don’t know and must learn to trust feels foreign. When I chose to experiment with my malfunctioning stoma I was stepping out on ground rarely trod. The fact that no device existed whereby something like a prolapse could be reversed while at the same time it didn’t interfere with the normal function of the ileostomy opened the door to perhaps risky experimentation. Chambers used the right word when he referenced experiment as the mode God chooses when he calls us unto to himself and bids us to follow him. It is unfortunate that many Christians view risking the freedom of self in following Christ too great a risk. Totally abandoning self-interest in favor of Christ-interest sounds good on paper, but is it practical? Practicality often determines what risks we are willing to take. Ultimately, however, we can all say we are Christians, but that is far different from being one. Being a Christian means that we are willing to allow God to experiment with all the things that are comfortable in life, perhaps taking them all away, and replacing these with new things that conform more readily to an indwelling with Christ. My stoma stopper was original, so is a true Christian life. Take the risk. In the end, what’s there to lose, since outside of God’s experiment there’s no other better tool to experience eternal life?
We pray. Thank you Lord for offering us a relationship with Christ that is closer than a brother, offering us hope, comfort, and a completeness that no other human relationship is able to offer. Forgive us Father when we are afraid of losing ourselves in the course of finding Christ. Help us to recognize that being a Christian is unique on this earth and an experiment in courage and trust on the part of every person who desires to serve you better. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. This Passing Day. (Matt 6:34)
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