Turning 50 seems to be the demarcation down the slope to humility. It begins the quest for physical and spiritual introspection. My recent experience reminds me of the humility that comes with laying one’s self bare for the cause of health. That’s right I had my first colonoscopy. There are many spiritual parallels to the experience.
1. Cleansing. Two days before the procedure I was instructed to refrain from eating anything solid. That was almost an impossibility and torturous situation during the Thanksgiving season. Only clear liquids were allowed me during this time. One day before the procedure the instructions were to drink 4 liters of fluid, specially made for cleansing out the digestive system. Flavored packs were added to make the drink more palatable, which it wasn’t. The clear diet and horrible drink did its job and by the morning of my colonoscopy I weighed 7 pounds lighter.
“Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:2) Psalm 51 talks about being washed and cleansed thoroughly. In order to be healthy Christians we need to be cleansed; we need to allow the Holy Spirit to wash over us and remove the stain of sin that hinders our walk with God. This takes time, meditation, and introspection. It doesn’t happen in the hectic pace of life, but when we take time to reflect on our lives through the lens of God’s Word. Five minutes here and there might make us feel good, but it won’t allow the Spirit time to penetrate to our very core. We need to remove ourselves from the distractions and concentrate on the nature of God and his love for us.
2. Searching. The day of my colonoscopy, the nurse prepped me with an IV, embarrassing gown, and a strong sedative. I liked the sedative. The doctor was skilled, and with surgical precision observed the length of my insides to see if there was anything that could be harmful to my health. If there were, she would be able to take care of it, cut it out, or set in motion a medical regiment that would restore me to health.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart…” (Psalm 139:23). God is the only physician who can truly search our hearts. He knows us better than we know our selves. When we prepare ourselves and then allow Him to reveal our selfish motivations and sin, then we are able to set about making right the relationships that have been broken, beginning with God.
3. Humility. Every time I got up or moved around I had to hold, precariously, the flimsy gown the hospital provided. It took mental discipline to move beyond the natural instinct to remain covered and unexposed. In the end my exposure was necessary for the doctor to do her job. I am glad that I was sedated.
“To this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit” (Isaiah 66:2). When we fight God by trying keeping ourselves covered, hiding our sin, and not being exposed, He is unable to do His healing work in our lives. God is more interested in a humble heart then working hands or running feet. Humility is laying bear before God all our sin, inadequacies, fears, failures, hopes and dreams. Humility realizes that apart from God I can never accomplish the kind of life for which I have been created.
Colonoscopies are not fun, but they serve the purpose of keeping me healthy. The discipline of meeting with God isn’t easy, but is necessary if we are going to move beyond superficial Christianity into a life deep with meaning, purpose, and health. I’m just saying…..