Monday, September 29, 2008
Current Study: People Who Made a Difference
Today’s Topic: Spiritual Surgeons
Today’s Scripture: Luke 5:31-32 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
From a physical perspective, many of us know the difference a good surgeon has made in our lives. I have had a nearly ruptured appendix removed, two hernias repaired, and major sinus reconstruction. I know, they should have fixed the outside of the nose while they were at it, but they didn’t. None of those surgeries was pleasant, but each was necessary to restore physical health.
Today’s story of a person who made a difference comes from our own Inge Donaldson, the office administrator at our church. She and her husband, Dudley, are missionary appointees to Swaziland, and are in the final stages of fund raising. Inge needed surgery. Spiritual surgery. It wouldn’t be pleasant, but it was essential for spiritual health. Here’s her story.
The person who has made the biggest impact on my life is Dr. Henry Brandt, a Christian psychologist. He was married to a good friend of mine whom I met on the mission field. When it became apparent that I was a pretty miserable Christian (and a missionary at that!), my friend Marcey invited me to stay with her and Dr. Brandt to figure out what the problem might be. Dr. Brandt pulled no punches. He asked me right off if I was willing to make changes in my life – because if I wasn’t, then he saw no need to waste his time or mine. As he took me through the Scriptures, it didn’t take long for me to realize that my problem was sin. I had been pretending to be someone I wasn’t. Always eager to say yes to anything asked of me (isn’t that what missionaries do?), I was actually saying “no” on the inside. Outwardly I was a helpful missionary, but inside I was grumbling and complaining and not at all happy. As a skillful surgeon, Dr. Brandt used God’s Word to reveal other areas of my life that needed changing. It took some time, but gradually, as I acknowledged my sin and repented before God, I changed from a miserable Christian into a joyful one. He taught me what it means to “walk in the spirit” and he always said that circumstances do not create our spirit, they reveal our spirit. So if I get mad because I have to wait in line at the grocery store, it’s not the waiting in line that makes me angry, the waiting merely reveals the anger that’s already inside of me. He taught me that anger is only one letter away from danger and I needed to pay attention when my circumstances revealed a negative spirit in me and to deal with it right away and not let it fester. Dr. Brandt not only taught me how to live out biblical principles, he modeled it! He is the most Christ-like person I’ve ever met and I’ll be forever grateful for having known him. God used Dr. Brandt to teach me important lessons that have stuck with me and will enable me to be a better missionary this time around!
You may have a need right now for some spiritual surgery. Believe it or not, God has qualified and gifted some people near you in your life to perform it. It may be your pastor, your elder, a friend, or a family member. They are qualified because God has provided them with the surgical instrument necessary to make the proper incisions. That instrument is wisdom, and God has granted it to anyone in Christ who asks for it. Don’t try to operate on yourself. The Great Physician has equipped a staff of spiritual surgeons all around you. Make an appointment with one of them, and trust their diagnosis. You will find the healing you are longing for.