Last week I had an echocardiogram. When I arrived at the hospital the radiographer referred to the fact that I have had many echocardiograms and asked whether I would mind a trainee doing the procedure first. I agreed as it is important, to not only learn from textbooks, but to have hands on experience. As a result the investigation took longer because the mentor then took over to check everything.
During the procedure I sang, not out loud! Hymns and worship songs because it necessitates putting a lot of pressure on the body and it is painful. After singing for a while some thoughts came to me and here they are.
First of all the mentor was very supportive of the trainee. He advised him when he needed to use a different angle or move higher or lower etc. He was always encouraging. I thought of younger men and women in the church who may feel a call to one or other ministries or gifting. I would encourage them to chat with the Elders who could advise them of someone already fulfilling that ministry or using that particular gift who could mentor them and help them to mature in the ministry or gifting. The mentor would have had to begin once upon a time and would understand how to develop the trainee with kindness, patience and encouragement. We need younger men and women to be growing and maturing as we all age, without exception, and they will be needed in the future.
The second thought that came to me was the necessity of the echocardiogram. My result was good. My replacement aortic valve is working well and my mitral valve has not changed and is working reasonably. Both the mentor and the trainee were very affirming.
However the process is painful and very uncomfortable. I had to lie in one position for an hour with my back unsupported. I was asked how I was and I confirmed I was okay because I knew it was important to have this thorough checkup.
What about our spiritual heart checkup? It is true that it can be painful but very necessary. The radiographer uses an instrument to press on the heart and lungs to see deep into the heart. I pictured the Word of God, the Bible, being the instrument and Holy Spirit the radiographer guiding the instrument. As we open ourselves to the probing of the Word, which is sharper than any two edged sword, Holy Spirit will use the Word to reveal areas of need or sin in our lives, not to condemn us but to help us face up and allow Him to graciously help us change. Without the examination we can go on without recognising we have a problem. It takes humility and an understanding that the Lord loves us and His character is such that He will not cause undue pain, but like the surgeon He will cause pain to produce the peaceful, healthy result. We do not need to fear opening up our hearts to the One whose hands are nail pierced and has our names written in the palm of His hands.
When I was in St. Thomas hospital a lady was brought in feeling very frightened and distressed. She had been given an echocardiogram in Margate and rushed immediately to St. Thomas’s and operated on the next day for a triple bi-pass. Before her operation I prayed with her and she told me she had not bothered to get a checkup for some time though she thought something was wrong. My point is that if we regularly have a spiritual heart check up we can deal gradually with areas pointed out to us by Holy Spirit and not reach a situation where things we have neglected cause major trouble.
Do remember the tenderness of the Lord. A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not quench.
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