How We’re Learning
By Muriel Gregory
O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
And are acquainted with all my ways.
These verses can bring a lot of peace and these verses can also bring a lot of anxiety. What do we do with a God who knows everything about us? Isn’t that level of intimacy too much to bear at times? What about those dark places, where nobody goes?
14 years ago I was diagnosed with my first melanoma. It was successfully removed after surgery. A few years later I was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma. It was successfully removed as well. Then 4 years ago I was treated for my second melanoma. Even though it was also successfully removed, this put me in the high risk population for skin cancer.
The problem with skin cancer and specifically melanoma is that it is hard to notice. It took a trained professional the first time to recognize it. The moles look like any other moles and the growth is so minimal that it is not noticeable. Since I am very freckled, they tend to blend in with the rest of the freckle population.
Since that second diagnosis, I have had to see a dermatologist every 6 months. The visits are not painful but they are very uncomfortable. As I stand there in the buff, every inch of my body is scrutinized and studied for potential new melanomas.
Though uncomfortable those visits are necessary. Should I ever decide that I no longer want to be bothered, I risk missing a new growth and putting myself at risk.
How to Learn Through Painful Growth and Pruning:
Through the years I have found out that my walk with God can be uncomfortable. It needs to be. Sin, like a cancer, will spread when it is not removed right away. Just like my melanoma moles, sin has a tendency to blend in and it takes a professional eye to spot it out.
I have educated myself on melanoma and can recognize when a mole is suspicious. That said, I still miss some and need my dermatologist’s experience and professionalism to catch the rest. I regularly have moles removed and biopsies done. The small holes are a reminder that being uncomfortable is necessary.
My initial prayer of repentance is not a guarantee that I will no longer sin. My nature is sinful and I sin every day. I need God to keep me straight (Romans 3:23).
Attending church and serving the body are commendable. Yet they are not enough. I have religiously applied sunscreen every day since my first diagnosis and yet still developed more skin cancers. When I rely on my own strength and my own ability to check the right boxes, I can easily stray off the path that God has for me (Galatians 3:10).
You may have been a Christian for a long time or you may be a new Christian. You may be very trained in recognizing sins in your life but you will always miss some. Allow the great physician to come in and perform a check (Exodus 15:26).
Stand before Him.
The simplest way to do that is to pray Psalm 139. David declared in verses 1 and 2 that God knew him. He started his prayer with this simple acknowledgment that nothing is hidden from God.
You know that.
I know that.
So why is it so uncomfortable to allow Him to heal us?
I believe that we get cozy in our ways and our choices. They blend in with the world. The lines are blurred and it feels like home.
The truth is that God does not want us to stay there. He has so much more for us. Our walk with Him is not static.
It is always moving.
Sometimes the climb is steep.
Sometimes the pace is slow.
On this journey, I take comfort in a God who is always with me to show me the way and lighten my load from the sin that so easily entangles (Hebrews 12:1).
So will you join me on this path?
Simply earnestly pray:
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
And lead me in the way everlasting.
Have you prayed those words? Good. Now allow Him to do the work and heal you.