First, A Word About Epiphany
I had planned on writing some preliminary information about the day of Epiphany which is observed every January 6. Epiphany is not very well known, especially in non-liturgical churches. But it was kind of a big deal in the ancient church. The name comes from the Koine Greek word epiphaneia, meaning “revealing” , “manifestation”, or “striking appearance.”
The idea is to recognize as a “eureka!” or “ah-ha!” moment when the true identity and mission of Jesus Christ was unveiled. It makes sense in the church calendar to follow the life of Christ after he’s born as innocent baby to see how he “manifests” by acting as the divine Son of God.
Here’s a link to good short video that gives a good sense of what Epiphany is about. Here’s another more humorous approach for my Methodist friends.
Unfortunately, it’s bad news.
Now that’s out-of-the-way, time for today’s “let’s keep it real” segment.
So about eight weeks ago I had a bad fall and broke my arm completely shattering the left humerus. Here’s my before picture, isn’t it awesome?
I had hospitalization and surgery and they inserted a rod to stabilize it so that it could heal and grow back together. Here’s the after photo:
Yesterday I had a follow-up appointment with the doctor, we took new x-rays, and the report is not good. The bones are not growing back together, which is what should happen naturally. It’s called a “non-union” and the consequences … I don’t want to go there.
Since the beginning of November I’ve basically been in constant pain, it’s hard to sleep and I cannot use my left arm.
Of course, I can’t play guitar, which for a guy who has seen himself for years as a rock ’n’ roll-praise-and-worship-dude totally stinks. But I also have a lot of difficulty doing things like typing on the computer, or getting dressed or shaving. And I can’t do a lot of simple things we take for granted like opening a jar or closing the door. Stuff like that. Pain and disability, awesome combination.
I could go on and on but I don’t want to bore you with TMI.
Now what I have just penned in the previous couple of paragraphs is what the Psalmist would call “whining and complaining”. Theologians might call it lamenting.
There’s plenty of lamenting in the Scriptures, especially in the Psalms. But there’s not much room at all for lament in today’s church worship practices. Which is a pity … but another subject for another time.
Lamenting, and grieving loss, is completely Biblical and natural. We have to learn how to deal with it in healthy ways.
So this morning I was super blessed and encouraged by a new book by my friend James Goll called Finding Hope. I highly recommend this book to all human beings, I got it on Kindle.
Something I read this morning really ministered to my soul, check this out.
Run To God!
Make sure you turn to him and not to somebody else or to something that can medicate your pain. In times of trouble, establish some firm boundaries for yourself. God will never leave you, but you can turn away from him, repeatedly. In your distress and disillusionment, you can resort to old addictions or unhealthy patterns. Lots of times, people go back to the sources of comfort they knew before they came to Christ. They opt for alcohol, drugs, illicit relationships, pornography, or gambling. They fall back into gossip, blame, shame, strongholds of poverty, or defensiveness. It will be different for every person.
Goll, James (2015-12-25). Finding Hope: Rediscovering Life after Tragedy (Kindle Locations 395-399). BroadStreet Publishing Group LLC. Kindle Edition.
So I’m just gonna process some of this out loud right now. Yesterday left me feeling angry and scared. And these words so addressed where I’m at right now.
“In your distress and disillusionment, you can resort to old addictions or unhealthy patterns”
For sure, for me the temptation is definitely there.
Something sad and disturbing Ive seen over the years is good people, men and women of God, who totally lost their way and wrecked their lives because they were disappointed with God, or some life issue, and could not deal with it in a healthy way.
Life is hard, then you die.
Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your perspective, I have accumulated more than a few scars along life’s highway. And through learning this the hard way, my guiding resolution has been to do what is healthy.
Nothing else makes sense.
It’s not easy. I blow it, more often than I would like to admit. But we sin, we fall down, we get back up, and we go back to God. As James Goll said it – Run To God!
At the end of the day, you’re going to end up either in the pit of despair, or resolved to hope in God. I even wrote a song about it back in the day – inspired by James Goll no less – called “No Easy Answers”.
The Lord Hears Your Prayer
So in today’s Daily Audio Bible reading we come across Psalm 5. In fact, all of the readings today and Brian Hardin’s commentary totally resonated with what’s going on in my life.
I’ll leave you with that. See you tomorrow.
For the choir, composed by David.
O Lord, hear me as I pray;
pay attention to my groaning.
Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God,
for I pray to no one but you.
Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord.
Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.