Recently, I have started getting a new medicine to help fight lupus. I go to a place where they hook me up to an IV and give me my medicine. This place isn't a hospital or doctor's office. It's an office building with many rooms filled with recliners, and people with all types of diseases come for the same reason as myself. Being in a room with four other people, not to mention doctors and nurses constantly walking around checking on everyone, suffice it to say there's a good deal of talking going on.
The funny thing is that no one was wearing a sign saying, "I'm a Christian." Yet you couldn't be in the room for five minutes without sensing the joy that filled the air. There was laughter and wonderful conversations the whole time I was there. I could sense I was in the room with my brothers and sisters in Christ, and we soon started discussing all the wonderful ways we have seen God throughout the course of our illnesses. But the longer we talked, the more obvious it became that an occupant of one the chairs didn't know the joy of having a personal relationship with Jesus. She was angry and bitter. To be honest, I've never met someone as bitter this woman was, and I found myself praying for her as the morning went on. She had no joy or peace. Even when she laughed, she had an edge to her voice. It was as if a horrible poison had filled her from within and was boiling over.
As I watched the events of the morning unfold, I was reminded of the sixth Beatitude. In it Christ said, "You are blessed when you get your inside world - your mind and heart - put right. Then you can see God in the outside world." (Matthew 5:8). The room this morning was filled with this truth. Most of the people in the room had their hearts and minds right with God, and because of it, they were able to see God through their greatest pain and deepest needs. But not so with this one woman. Her heart and mind wasn't right with God, and as a result, she was angry and bitter. She couldn't see God, nor did she want to see God. She wanted to curse Him for allowing her to be sick.
As I left the room, the woman was still fussing and complaining about all the woes of her life to anyone who would listen, while the other occupants of the room kindly listened and tried to point her to Christ. I pray this woman sees her need to have a relationship with God. Without it, she will only become even more bitter. And I am reminded how important it is to have my heart and mind right with God. It is the only way I'll ever be able to see God through the pain, and in turn, be filled with a joy and peace so deep that it overflows onto everyone I meet.
"Many people say, “We can’t find goodness anywhere. The light of Your face has left us, LORD!” But You have filled my heart with more joy than when their wheat and wine are everywhere! I will lie down and fall asleep in peace because You alone, LORD, let me live in safety." ~ Psalm 4:6-8 (Common English Bible)
(c) September 21, 2011