“Would you bring the devotional?”

 

As I prepared, I was somewhat nervous, knowing that I would be in the midst of some “missionary greats” of the world. As that day in Prague approached, I had spent as much time in prayer as I had dealing with the passage. 

 

I decided to use the Truths that the Father had spoken about our tongues and their tendency to ignite with Gehenna’s flame

 

After the devotional, many references were made about our tongue as fire. As a group, we were cautious of our words. Sometimes in jest and sometimes seriously, the theme sparked many of our discussions. 

 

And I watched my tongue most carefully. After all, I wanted to be able to have spoken with authority

 

But, then I got home.

There was

 

  • a pile of laundry, 
  • a mound of email 
  • and a stack of snail mail awaiting me. 

 

My family was coming, the house was a wreck, my throat was scratchy and I had jet lag

 

And to top it off,

 

Mark was beginning to really irritate me.

 

Now remember, just weeks earlier, I had delivered a stirring devotional about a tongue with the fire of hell.

 

As I shifted my own tongue within my mouth, it sizzled just a bit and I could almost smell the smoke

 

I’d better keep my mouth shut.” 

Yeah, that was the plan….

 

Instead – I incinerated him with a sudden outburst. 

 

……….

 

Elijah was a man with a nature (Greek: “feelings or affections”) like ours…” James 5:17

 

Really? Did he have a problem with his tongue

 

Surely not. Wasn’t this the guy that not only called down fire from heaven, controlled the weather, and went to heaven in some kind of chariot

 

He was a spiritual giant, right?

 

Ummmm….maybe not – 

 

Remember when the prophets of Baal couldn’t get any fire from heaven? Elijah was on hand with a flaming wit and a smoking sarcasm:

 

Call a little louder – he is a god, after all. Maybe he’s off meditating somewhere or other, or maybe he’s gotten involved in a project, or maybe he’s on vacation. You don’t suppose he’s overslept, do you, and needs to be waked up?” (1 Kings 18:27 The Message)

 

Elijah was “the Tishbite (Hebrew: “captivity”), who was of the sojourners (Hebrew: “an emigrant, a stranger”) of Gilead (Hebrew: “a rocky region”), who had a tendency to fear  and despondency.

 

I don’t know about you, but that pretty much describes me

 

  • Former captive of sin….
  • Now Kingdom citizen wandering about the earth as a foreigner….
  • With a tendency to trip at every step…
  • With fear
  • Despair….
  • And ungodly speech….


Yet, this is the very kind of man that is considered righteous enough for prayers that work.

 

Kinda gives me hope. What about you?

 

 

.

 

“MARK! WATCH OUT!”

 

My husband jerked the steering wheel but still grazed the parked motorcycle with our car. It was the second minor driving accident in two days. 

 

Being the calm, soothing wife that I am, I asked, “What’s WRONG with you? You are driving like a mad man. Can’t you SEE????

 

His negative answer surprised me. “Not really. I’m losing my peripheral vision.”

 

Several Taiwanese doctor visits later we received the diagnosis: Keratoconus: degeneration of the cornea.

 

We learned that although most keratoconus patients are able to have vision restored with rigid contacts, Mark’s eye couldn’t hold a contact. His right eye was shaped more like a football than an orb.  

 

His cornea tissue was so thin that the inside of his eye was bulging outward, skewing his vision. Every time the optometrist placed a contact lens on Mark’s eye, his eye would spit it across the room. It is difficult to balance a convex lens on a cone shaped cornea.  

 

“So what are our options?” we asked.

 

“Cornea transplant,” was the doctor’s shocking reply. 

 

Mark’s Taiwanese doctor continued, “You don’t want to have it done here, as organ donation is rare. Buddhists believe in reincarnation and don’t want to go into the next life missing a vital organ.”

 

“I do perform some transplants, but I will be frank. The corneas that we receive are mostly ‘seconds’ from the states. Their quality is poor.” 

 

Thus began a year and a half journey. We packed up our Taichung apartment, flew back to Texas and Mark was put on an organ waiting list. The sobering fact is that someone else must pass away before a transplant can be harvested.

 

Even after Mark’s surgery was complete, there were complications. The mother tissue didn’t bond with the foreign cornea. For 16 months, Mark endured misery as his eye attempted to reject the transplant. 

 

It was a long sixteen months. We spent most of it hovering around a 15 watt light bulb.

 

Yet, as we walked together through those valley of shadows, we discovered something that the Psalmist knew thousands of years prior:

 

It’s in the valley that our Shepherd is nearest. 

 

Go back with me to Psalm 23. When King David began his prose, he spoke of his Shepherd in third person.

 

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.”

 

But when David descended into the shadows, his perspective changed. He spoke with the Lord, not just about Him.

 

“You are with me.”

 

Mark and I found this to be true not only through the transplant journey, but in each juncture where our road has narrowed and the shadows have deepened. Our conclusion?

 

Stop talking about prayer and begin talking to Him.

 

How about you? How does your conversation need to shift?