A blog by Josh Humbert
I can be a hypocrite about sickness. See, when the wife starts to feel bad for any reason, I’ll push her to go get it checked out by the doctor. “They know best/Don’t wait!/Hey, it probably is something small, but just go in so it can get taken care of.” Any type of saying there is, I’ll throw it out there in hopes of seeing her get better as quick as possible.
But when it’s me feeling sick? Uh, no. I wait and will refuse to go to the doctor or follow any of the advice I give to her. I rationalize it because I rarely even get sick to begin with. For instance, I live in San Antonio, TX aka, the Allergy Capital of the World and I don’t suffer any allergy problems. At all. I just don’t get sick. And in the rare occasion I do get sick…..boy, I heal up quick. Wolverine and his admantium ain’t got nothing on me; I get back on my feet in a hurry.
So, I stick with my justifications that you just heard and I ignore all the sounds advice I would give to others. Nice little hypocrisy there.
And that’s probably why I ended up almost passing out after taking 4 little steps on Friday morning. I had felt bad since Wednesday afternoon and knew something wasn’t right. Wife kept telling me to go in and get checked as my temperature wasn’t going down and other symptoms were showing up. Who? ME?? Me go in to the doctor? Uh no. I’ll heal. I’ll get through this. Just you wait and see!
So when I woke up on Friday, I took 4 steps to get from my bed to restroom and I was drenched in sweat. Like 4th quarter type sweat. And I was seriously about to pass out. I’m talking an early checkout at the Consciousness Hotel here. I’m talking “fighting the sadness” here. I slumped to floor and texted my wife that I was now definitely ready to go to the doctor. Hypocrisy is foolish.
Let me take it a step further: I can be a hypocrite about my walk with God.
The doctor diagnosed me with Pneumonia and for most of Thursday through Sunday, I was laid out in bed trying to get rid of constant fever and headache and breathing issues. So what I did I do to pass the time??
–Read my Bible to draw strength from God’s Word (nope)
–Read biographies of Christians who really suffered so as to change my focus off me and my little sickness (nope)
–Text friends encouragement notes (nope)
–Watch sermon podcasts (nope)
Nah, see, what I did was flip on the iPad and queue up some shows on the Netflix. Why? Because I “didn’t feel” like doing some of those good things above. I excused it away with thoughts like, “well, my head is pretty foggy anyway” or “doubt I could concentrate much right now” or “I just feel ‘bleeeeh'” and any other number of excuses. I just totally ignored my God, my King, my Savior all through those days.
But if we were to flip the script? If I have a buddy who may be sick would I encourage them to embrace those good disciplines even in that time? You bet. “You can’t let your feelings dictate your faith.” Or maybe, “God is there even now, He longs to spend time with you.” All those type of answers I may give to a friend. But here I was ignoring every bit of it and excusing it all away. Nice little hypocrisy there.
And that’s probably why I ended totally shocked by God’s grace toward me.
Sunday morning I woke at 5am to stay on schedule with my medicine for the fever. Just swallow the pill and then back to sleep. Or so I thought…
As I lay there in bed, in the last hours of quiet darkness before the morning comes, God began assembling a sermon in my mind. What I mean is; I had a strong sense of His presence and some very clear thoughts on some concepts, Scriptures, and illustrations I had kept in my mind for a while but could never figure out how to assimilate them. All of a sudden, I had great clarity and literally an entire sermon was coming together in the whiteboard of my mind.
“This concept would go here in the sermon”…. “oh, this illustration will go right here and a good transition sentence away from it will be this”….. “the closing thought will be this”…… On and on and on it went over several hours. One thought led right to another. This wasn’t mere brainstorming. This was like…the brainstorming, the assimilation, the refinement, the structure, the completion…EVERYTHING all at once, but in such a coherent way. Real-time sermon creation or something.
And let me tell you, that is NOT how I write sermons typically! First off, I don’t write at 5am!! Next, I usually want Biblegateway.com open, some other resource sites open, my Evernote open, and all my stuff setup like I normally would have it. And as a “younger” guy, my prep time takes quite a bit. I like to be thorough and really know and be able to communicate the truth of God’s Holy Word, so I take time to chop it up and get it right.
But this? All the process so fluid? I didn’t even write anything down. Everything so orderly and quick? AT 5am?!! All this after I’d been ignoring God instead of spending time with Him?
And then I realized how sweet the last 2 hours had been. The fellowship with God as I thought through these things. The clarity He supplied. How good was that!
All I had done was ignore Him the past several days. All I had done was live as a hypocrite. And yet, all He had done was break through with His grace. I was so unworthy of such a couple of hours of richly being in God’s presence like that. But in His steadfast love, He turned me back toward Him. I got a fresh taste of His sweet grace.
You want to know the irony of it all? God has a great sense of humor. Let me tell you how it ended. That message that came together–the title of it (for now) is “When God Calls An Audible” and it’s all about when God makes one of those big changes you didn’t see coming. And I gotta tell ya, I’m so fired up to preach this thing now. I am READY. This word is in me.
But as I’m laying there, reflecting on how God good has been, the irony and humor sink in. Here I was working through this message about God calling an audible……..I hadn’t even noticed, but He had just called one with me too. God had just called an audible with me.
I had chosen to concern myself with other things, to spend my time on pretty trivial stuff. I had chosen to turn away from God and excuse away my hypocrisy. And yet, God said, “we’re changing that, Josh. We’re changing that right now. Wake up, it’s 5am, we’re going to write a sermon together. I am going to meet you here in these quiet hours and you will know once again how awesome and loving I am. We’re changing the play-call. You wanted to chase idols, I’m bringing you back to the Living God. Get ready, cuz here comes My grace!”
I see what You did there, God. You changed the play on me too. And I am so glad He did.
I arose Sunday still too sick for church but I sat down for breakfast with my Bible and my Evernote journal ready. I spent time with my God in His holy Word. It was a good, good time. He is a good, good God.
My reading plan just happened to have me in Zephaniah that day. The text I journaled that morning was from chapter 3, verse 17 and it goes like this:
“The Lord your God is in your midst,
A Victorious Warrior.
He will exult over you with joy,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”
God is the Victorious Warrior. He had triumphed once again over my stubborn heart and brought me back to Him in His kind, gracious ways. I can be a hypocrite, no doubt….and also, I can receive His grace that changes me and melts my heart once again for my King.
Praise God, for His audibles are always for the good for those that love Him.
Thanks for reading.
As always, comments/thoughts/messages are welcomed.