Over a month ago, I hurt my back–specifically my sacro-iliac joint. God quickly healed it with some help from chiropractic. However, the aftermath was that I had digestive problems.
Previously this system was working really well, but function came almost to a standstill. In the time after the back injury, I had some scheduled trips, one to WV and one to Israel. I managed to get by, but had over a month of misery.
One sidebar was that while in Israel a virus went through our group. It gave people diarrhea and some also had vomiting. My turn came in the middle of a ceremony we attended for the opening of a new building in a Bible college. I had intense pain but none of the other symptoms. The pain was so severe that my husband was trying desperately to find a solution. Go to a hospital? Cut the trip short and go home?
I asked a great woman of great faith to pray for me, and she did right there and right then. Immediately, I felt completely well and participated in our last big celebration dinner with no problems. She also prayed that God would get to the underlying spiritual issues related to my ongoing digestive system lack of function.
Two things on the Israel trip seemed to be tied in as God began to show the spiritual problem that was underlying my physical symptoms. The first struck me in a talk that our pastor gave at Mt. Carmel. He talked of Elijah and his battle with the prophets of Baal. He spoke of the rain and dew in Israel being stopped for over 3 years. That drought struck me as being a picture of me, but I did not understand fully until later when I was prayed for at home. The second thing that hit me was the stones in Israel. For the most part, Israel is a very rocky country and there are stones at most of the significant sites of Jesus’s life. There is a stone you can touch where he was born, one where he was laid out after the crucifixion, where he was buried etc. Plus most buildings are built from stone. At the later prayer time, I understood more fully how stones tied in with my spiritual issues.
After the Israel trip, I saw a gastroenterologist who immediately did some tests. These showed no reason for the dysfunction, yet nothing changed for the better.
Finally, I asked a friend with the gift of healing and a ministry of Holy Spirit-led prayer to pray for me (along with the help of my best friend). She started the prayer time by seeing me in the Spirit as a little girl trying and trying to make the bow on a present look exactly perfect. I could not make it good enough no matter how hard I tried. This picture seemed to be tied into my family history of performance orientation, possibly an ongoing family issue for multiple generations.
As she prayed, she also saw a desert parched of water being turned into a lush garden in me. (This completed the picture of the drought in Elijah’s time which I knew was somehow related to my situation.) She then prayed for the muscles to relax in and around my low back.
After her prayer time, I prayed in repentance for my performance mindset and my continuing concern for what other people think as opposed to having the overriding goal of pleasing God alone.
After my praying friend saw the desert and lush garden picture, I saw a totally different one. I saw a massive stone which was my foundation–Jesus Christ. I had built my house of character upon that stone, but through my effort. I had determined to be kind, patient, considerate, gentle, caring, sensitive, persistent, loving of God and others, etc, etc. Of course these efforts did not work. My house of character, while built upon the foundation of Jesus was not sound. It was built by my work and not by Godʼs leading.
In my spirit, I could see God sweep his arm across and completely wipe the foundation clear. My old house of character was completely gone.
Patching up my house of character was not an option. My life must based upon hearing and obeying, not upon striving.
Of course, that night my body functions returned to normal after about 40 days of drought. What a wonderful thing!
This excerpt from Oswald Chambersʼ was in my daily email on the day of the prayer time. It seemed so applicable.
“The Christian life is stamped by ‘moral spontaneous originality,’ consequently the disciple is open to the same charge that Jesus Christ was, viz., that of inconsistency. But Jesus Christ was always consistent to God, and the Christian must be consistent to the life of the Son of God in him, not consistent to hard and fast creeds. Men pour them selves into creeds, and God has to blast them out of their prejudices before they can become devoted to Jesus Christ.”
As Christians, we are not following a dead manʼs creed, but we are including a living and interactive God into our lives. We cannot make choices and decide our characters and then ask God to bless that.
As a Christian, my house of character must be built out of living stones. My character needs to be built based upon consultation with God (prayer without ceasing), deliberate listening, then simply obeying. This may look inconsistent and discordant with the world, yet we are not called to imitate Christ but to be HIS workmanship.
Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain” Psalm 127:1
So here I am trusting the Lord to rebuild my house of character, but this time with living stones that he can rearrange and use as needed. This house may not be as I envisioned, but I am choosing to listen to and trust the architect of my faith. Then, not only am I being built with living stones but also I become an effective part of the living stone church that God has been building and using for ages past and ages yet to come.