‘For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words…the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the Will of God… ‘(Romans 8: 26-27)
Look, don’t get me wrong. Jane and I don’t want to draw too much attention to what she’s been through during the health crisis this year. I mean, there’s a place where the conversation needs to change and we ‘just get on with it’. I promise, we will soon! But each time I want to change the subject, I remember another thing we wanted to share with you. Neither of us would ever try to conform the Gospel to our experiences, (that’s to say, we do not think that the Gospel should be explained by our experiences), because we believe the Gospel is what it is in spite of our experiences. Teaching the Gospel from what happens to me or Jane would be very dangerous, believe me! However, let me say just a couple more things.
It’s a long way from March 21st until now for Jane. She’s been through total paralysis, lost all control of her normal functions, had every system controlled by her nervous system fail. Could not communicate, although we did have an ‘alphabet sheet’ that let us point to letters and she could spell her thoughts with slight eye movement. Of course, being a male, I had to write down each letter because after two letters, while getting the third, I could not remember the first two! That frustrated her so we did not use that ‘alphabet sheet’ very much. At one time Jane had 5 tubes in her mouth and down her throat but we could still make out that she had some movement going on with her lips. Much of the time it seemed like she was talking to herself. Only after she regained the ability to talk did I realize that some of the time that had to do with worship going on inside her. She tells, and only Jane can tell you, about the times she was hearing worship music in her ear. I’ll go so far as to say that she said it was only in her right ear and it was able to be ‘turned off and on like WBVN’ (her term). That story is interesting and we will go on the radio someday soon and let her share that with you.
During the deepest terror there were times when I would ask Jane if she was ok, not physically but spiritually. She always affirmed that she was still ‘intact’ in her heart even if not in her body. I kept telling her, even when all she could do was listen and not respond, ‘remember who you are (in Christ) and what we believe.’ Sometimes, I would have understood if she had wavered a bit on that. I saw so many things I hope I never see again, and so much of what she went through was painful, terrible and horribly humiliating. But, she did hold it together (much better than her husband would have been able to do had he had to go through the same things). Something occurred to me during those experiences, two somethings really. First, true Worship and our worship can be two different things. Some worship we lead. We go to someplace and join others or we simply decide in our homes or car to ‘sing unto the Lord’. However, some Worship is not us at all. The first kind, people take pleasure in. In it, we sometimes think we do it for God, as though He needed our worship to keep His head straight (weird thought really). The second, we participate in union with Christ, participate in His priestly function as the Mediator between men and women and God the Father. Hebrews 8: 1-2 says, the one true minister (Christ) of the sanctuary (our hearts) lives there, resides inside us. This same Minister makes intercession for us. The Spirit of Christ is active in us. Faith for us includes a Christ who died for us but also a Christ who lives in our hearts. A Christ that substituted Himself for us because of Sin, and a Christ that adopts us into an active family of God in an intimate relationship. At times, such as Jane’s experience, her awareness of that second kind of Worship was extreme. She was not making worship but receiving Worship. She was not taking pleasure in her expression of faith, but she became the blessed object of Christ’s own Worship Team! She will have to explain that statement in full later, but I think that’s pretty close.
We all think we can solve the world’s problem by choosing to live right. Or, we suppose if we could just change the economic condition of America, if we could just get the economic structure of the society right, everything would be ‘jolly good’. That is, we could produce ‘community/relationship in people’ just by making necessary changes to the structure of the country, or the world for that matter. If we did that we could produce that utopia that many have speculated about through history. But truly, community and relationship only comes from a Love that is produced and originates from Christ. The world’s, the country’s, the individual’s mistake is that we believe we could ever produce that kind of environment apart from the Love of God.
Relationship with Christ includes both hearing God’s call to us and His call on us. That leads to hearing His breath and following His leadership. That kind of relationship produces participation with God the Father and His Spirit. Only knowing about God, does not bring the fullness of Faith. Actively participating with His heart, having accepted Him as God, following Him as Lord for us and for others, yields a more complete ‘experience’ of Christ and God’s fuller purposes for our lives. It is twofold to appreciate the Fullness of Christ, having come to know Him and secondly to actively follow His everyday mingling in our lives.
I believe Jane heard Worship. Worship originating in Christ and toward her. She says that she could not tell if the Worship was from the angels or from the gathering of people that were praying for her. I can’t explain all that Jane has to say about that. Her words are the living words of experience. Charlie Peacock said it best in his song: (I’ll paraphrase) ‘you can only possess what you experience, Truth to be understood must be lived’. This Worship was not from Jane to God but from Christ to Jane. This was a long experience. She believes it actually began the Sunday before the admittance into the hospital. It was kind of a preparation for the coming months if you will. God is that real. We are promised: as much as we can decrease He will increase in our lives. For three long months, Jane had nothing but paralysis and pain. Oh, and one other Thing, the presence of the Worship of God in her right ear……
‘For we have such a High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty of the heavens; a minister (Grk: leitourgos – a public servant who carries on the business of the whole human race with God pertaining with redemption and destiny) of the sanctuary and the true tabernacle (habitation: us) which the Lord pitched and not man.’