For years now, anytime I get a chest cold or a cough, I have moments of panic. I flash back to age 19 and being hospitalized for pneumonia. That sickly cough and the flavor of sickness. It makes me panic. I cry out “No, no, no Lord! Not again. Make it go away!”
Just recently I got over a particularly stubborn bug with a cough that wouldn’t let me go, and it had me thinking about when I had pneumonia. I had been sick for a couple of weeks when I finally went to the doctor. I was diagnosed and sent home to rest, but when I woke up the next morning I was struggling to breathe. My mom rushed me to the clinic down the road, and after a few looks at me, the ambulance was called.
Now for those of you lucky enough to have never been in an ambulance (or unlucky enough to have never seen a medical/crime show), there are two medics: one driving you to the hospital and one in the back with the patient. The second medic, the one in the back, their sole purpose is to take care of you. They are trained to keep you alive.
So here I am, strapped to a bed and loaded into the back of the ambulance. My guy got me all settled in, and told me that he was going to start working on my paperwork. He communicated that if I needed anything to just ask him. Now, I’m going to blame the rest of this story on my sickness muddled brain.
I was laying there and I started to struggle to breathe. I could feel something starting to block my airway. I could still breathe but it hurt, and I was uncomfortable. I remember looking over at my medic and thinking, “I don’t want to bother him. He looks busy. I’ll just wait until I get to the hospital. If he asks if I’m alright, I’ll ask him to move me but I don’t want to be a bother.” Seriously! This man’s sole purpose in life (while he’s with me) is to make sure that I am in the best possible condition he can manage, and I didn’t want to bother him.
As I was thinking about my unwise decision regarding my paramedic and my bout of pneumonia, I came up with some parallels to our faith walk.
1. God is my ever-present, soul paramedic. Like my ambulance paramedic, He is right here with me, ready and willing to ease my burdens. Jesus invites you and I plainly, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Whether my burden is sin related, and all I need to do is reach out to God for forgiveness, or if my burden is situational, and I need to reach out to Him for help and guidance, He is right here with me. When life throws us in the back of an ambulance, He is right beside us, yet pride, shame or disbelief in the severity of the situation can keep us from reaching out to Him.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
2. My faith family are my spiritual paramedics. We all have people in our lives that we can turn to for help, yet we try to do life on our own. When we don’t allow people in and don’t let them help with our struggles, big or small, we are missing a beautiful opportunity for healing and depth of friendship. When we fall into the trap of “I don’t want to be a burden” we miss out on God-designed wisdom and help from others.
Exodus 17:8-16 provides an excellent example of how much we need others to help us carry our burdens. Moses chose to ask for help from Aaron and Hur. His arms needed to be in the air for the Israelites to win the battle and he couldn’t do it on his own. He needed them to help him support the burden God had given him. It makes me wonder how often I try to carry my burdens myself when there are others placed around me, intended by God to be sources of His grace.
3. Sin is my sickly cough (or worse). I need to treat my sin the same way I treat any new chest cold I get. The second the Holy Spirit draws attention to the sickly evidence of sin in my life, I need to cry out “No, no, no Lord! Not again! Take it away!” I need to take Psalm 51:10 seriously and pray, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." I need to be conscious of what has historically trapped me. I need to look reality in the face and know where I am easily susceptible to be taken in again so that I can fight in the future.
I need to take Psalm 51:10 seriously and pray Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Our physical health is very similar to our spiritual health. I, for one, do far better with my physical health when I have someone walking alongside me: meal planning with me, cooking healthy foods, asking to go on a hike rather than watching a movie. The same is true with my spiritual health. I need community walking alongside me. Encouraging me to be in Scripture. Doing Bible studies with me. Keeping me engaged in my local church. This requires me reaching out to the people in my life and asking them to help me. I’ve got to open my Bible so that I can see God’s work in my life and feel His poking and prodding to grow more like Him. I need the Great Physician and my brothers and sisters in Christ to keep me out of the ambulance.
by: Nikki Watermolen