Lent: Day Six

Today has been one of those days where you do those routine things like getting a haircut, shopping for groceries, and replacing that toaster oven that had the candle wax melt into it and now can’t be heated up without smoking and smelling like burnt candles. It has been at least partially a maintenance day.

My plan for this week had been to get my presentation done for a conference I am speaking at later next month. But it seems that things keep getting in the way and now I feel a bout of illness coming on. You may have experienced it yourself. A day or two before you actually come down with something you begin to feel a little off, a little pressured in some of your body systems. I started feeling off on Monday evening and it has progressed throughout today until I can feel a heaviness developing in my chest. When that happens I usually up my vitamin C, add echinacea to my intake, and increase my fluids, usually with some Yorba Mate tea to keep me hydrated. Often the pre-symptoms disappear and nothing happens.

Because of my focus today on preventative measures, I got to thinking how we probably have a similar early warning system in our spiritual lives. Prayer becomes difficult or something gets in the way and we let it slip by. We find ourselves more irritable than normal and we have to apologize for what we said or maybe how we said it, and not just once. We may have to fight against the desire to “take a Sunday off” and just relax and catch up on all those things that aren’t getting done. I think that things like this are spiritual early warning signs. What we need to do is up our prayer time (increased vitamin C), do a little self-examination and seek out something we may need to repent of (add some echinacea), and make sure we get our necessary dose of bible reading, possibly reading something familiar in a different translation—www.biblegateway.com is good for this (up our fluids).

Sometimes preventive maintenance works and an illness, physical or spiritual, is avoided. I am reminded of Paul’s admonition to the Corinthians about the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:17-33, especially verse 31.

But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment.

I see that verse as an example of Paul’s preventive medicine for the Christian soul, helping us to avoid a spiritual (and, in this case, physical) illness.

Tomorrow will tell if my preventative measures have worked, helping me to avoid a physical illness. I believe that the Lord uses our life experiences as a means to teach us and from this little exercise I have come to appreciate how much I need to be in tune with the pre-signals in my spiritual life, to its early warning system. After all, it is much easier to prevent than to repair and in this case the old aphorism “a stitch in time saves nine” most definitely applies.

Grace and peace to your day.