Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (02/28/08)
TITLE: The Longest Winter
By Ed VanDeMark
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I woke with a pain in my low back. Nothing new, I’ve had low back pain since high school. Once or twice a year I head to my chiropractor. He snaps my neck and some how my back follows orders and jumps in line and I march off like a Navy drill team
On December 5th my back didn’t follow military edicts. It went AWOL. An X-Ray, a doctor visit, An MRI, another doctor visit, and a referral to a specialist later I discovered I wouldn’t be doing Christmas. In fact I wouldn’t be doing New Year’s Day and there was a good chance I wouldn’t be doing the Super Bowl. I would probably be up for chips and soda in time for the Daytona 500, but I would never be able to pretend I was 25 again.
In excruciating pain and laid out a half step from really being laid out, I felt like the coffin lid would close at any moment. A two plus month recover time felt like an eternity. I was trapped with nothing to do but pay attention to my wife’s recovery protocol and watch hour after hour of mindless TV. At first I chose the TV but soon discovered the networks talk a lot about this medicine or that medicine but Linda delivers.
When Linda went to bed and I silenced David Letterman, DIY and the travel channel, my mind worked over time. Satan’s a loud mouth. He insisted on telling me I was down for the count, that I was so bad I didn’t deserve to get well and I’d be spending eternity in his company.
I’ve been a Christian for over 30 years but the pain, the pain medicine and Hell’s farmer with the pitch fork make a lot of noise. Eventually I began to hear God’s still small voice. A blip here and another one there but in time I was able to discern his whisper in the midst of noisy my bed ridden prison term.
A number of things about faith have confused me, and I’d almost given up understanding God’s mind on these matters this side Heaven. As I lay helplessly on Satan’s noisy freeway, revelations from the Holy Spirit began to come.
Jesus was fully God and he was fully man for those 33 years he walked among us. I’ve accepted this as a fact but what it means escaped me. When the Bible says he resisted the devil, I’d say “of course he did, he’s God, he has special powers.” When the Bible said he sweat blood the night before his crucifixion, I’d say “I can understand that I’d be terrified too, it’s a natural thing for us human’s to do.” Then I would add “but Jesus is God and he knew that he would walk out of Hell because God can do anything he wants to do.” I was missing the enormity of the cross and the dimension of his gift. The revelation is that while Jesus is fully God and fully man, he set aside his privilege as God and lived 33 sinless years solely as a human being. He faced Satan head on with the same tools I face that the legions of Hell, yet unlike me he never sinned, not even once. When he raised Lazarus he used the same tools I have at my disposal. When he walked on water and when he fed the 5,000 he was successful because he prayed and obeyed. I have these options too. When he could have summoned all of Heavens angels he kept silent because he was obedient to his father. Jesus lived his perfect life on earth never exercised his privilege as God. This is the gift of Jesus. He was tempted just as we are tempted. He died as will each of us, when he could have stayed in Heaven and not been born to this earth with a death sentence hanging over him. He could have abandoned his mission at any point, yet he didn’t. He accomplished everything God sent him to do without ever stepping out of his human skin. He died as our scapegoat so that we won’t spend eternity in Satan’s company. He wrestled Satan and embarrassed him so bad that’s why that old snake is red from head to toe. He did what Adam didn’t do.
So shut up Satan. Jesus just gave me control of the remote.
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