Spiritual Dysphagia

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“She’s not swallowing properly,” the speech pathologist assessed.


It was like a light bulb went off within our minds. “So that’s the reason that Mom hasn’t been eating,” my husband said.


“Yes, late stage Alzheimer’s patients often lose the swallowing reflex,” Maggie explained. “Although the swallow reflex is an automatic one, it actually is quite complex. It involves several steps that we take for granted.”


As we went home to research the problem, we found that there is actually a medical term for a difficulty in swallowing termed dysphagia. It takes about fifty pairs of nerves and muscles to successfully swallow. Problems anywhere along the process can interfere with getting what’s in your mouth inside your stomach. 


Spiritual dysphagia is a problem among believers today. Maybe this is the reason the church continues in divisiveness and prideful jockeying for position (1 Corinthians 3:2-3). 




We are happy enough to lick a spoonful of sweet Christian thoughts off our Facebook page each morning, but seem to have difficulty sitting at His banqueting table with a knife. 


Sure, I’ll swallow the Word easily enough when He goes down smooth and causes me joy and rejoicing (Jeremiah 15:16). 


But there are times when the Father feeds me that which upsets my stomach: “And he said to me, ‘Take it , and eat it; and it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey’” (Revelation 10:9). 


Not every taste of the Word is for my delight.


In fact, God’s whole purpose for feeding me with Himself, isn’t just about me personally. I am a small part of the wholeness of His larger body (Ephesians 4:4-7). 


And the food that I take in, must be swallowed and digested for the health of the whole church. Some bites may be sweet. Some may be bitter. Irregardless of the taste, “each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:7). 


Will we swallow the meal that the Father has placed before us today? Or will be hold it in our mouths and let it drool out?


While infants in Christ, we longed for the pure milk of the Word. Yet, we were never meant to remain on the bottle. No, we drank the milk so that we might “grow in respect to salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). 


Let’s push away from the kiddie table and climb up into the chair of maturity. As we begin our day, let’s put our napkin in our laps and pick up His steak knife as we open His Word. He is faithful.


“I, the Lord, am Your God…Open your mouth wide and I will fill it” (Psalm 81:10). 


“Thank You, Lord. And when You do, help me to swallow whatever my bite is.”