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I will never forget an early spring Saturday now almost 16 years ago. Our 12-year-old son Joey—without permission and without his helmet—had jumped on his bicycle and headed down our hill. He didn’t make it very far… Slamming into a tree after losing control of the runaway bike, he was seriously injured.
I can never forget that many people—including many of my dearest brothers and sisters in church—feel as if they are careening downhill with their lives out of control facing a devastating wreck just moments away…
To all of us who are, or have been, or will be in those desperate places, I want to suggest something radically Biblical. Our deliverance is not found in a surface-level quick-fix or a little shot of Jesus—our healing is found ONLY in radical obedience to Jesus and His reign in our lives…
If Joey would have obeyed us in the first place, his accident would have never happened. The truth for all is that at least part of our pain and insanity and fear is self-inflicted… Yet guilt cripples as surely as a crash…
Did we punish Joey for his disobedience? No—the accident did, and we grieved every moment of it…
Our Heavenly Father is an infinitely better parent than any of us can ever claim to be. He does not punish us for our self-inflicted wounds, and He does not delight in our suffering. He COULD hold it over us that our disobedience got us into this mess. Instead, Jesus took on Himself the most horrific and fatal wreck of all time—totally NOT self-inflicted—so that we can find hope and healing even if a crash is imminent.
The healing obedience I am writing about is not found in us being obedient on the front-end. We can’t be—we are fallen creatures born into disobedience and destined for a wrecked life. The Obedience I am talking about comes as we decide to fully embrace Jesus and His Gospel as the answer to our disaster-prone lives.
You see, Joey didn’t need a bandage—he needed a miracle. His skull was fractured by the impact with the tree and both arms were broken. A First Church prayer team assembled at the hospital to meet us—including Trueman and Laurie Smith and Amanda West—and prayed. Miraculously, Joe’s skull “unfractured…!”
Yet, obedience calls us beyond a miracle… God is calling us to a lifestyle—not simply a touch. We don’t just need a shot of Jesus—we need to be fully immersed and soaking wet with Him! We don’t just need a bandage—we need a deep and ongoing healing—one that a casual and occasional relationship cannot bring.
Joey was obedient to the all the great care he received. Bones were reset, casts applied, antibiotics administered, and rest required. His recovery was nothing short of a second miracle. But it did not come from a little home-remedy; It came by being obedient to outside help that called him and us to radical obedience—to serious surrender to an authority offering far more than a little shot or a Band-Aid…!
You and I don’t just need a miracle—we need ongoing obedience that resets and recasts our lives in a radically new direction. The Lord is our outside Help—the miracle-maker who calls us to obedience AFTER our initial rescue (salvation). He calls us to a lifestyle of obedience. Does it hurt? Almost always—but nothing like the wrecked lives we endure and create by not being obedient day-by-day.
My friend, quit living in guilt over previous decisions you cannot reverse! And quit trying to simply bandage your hurt! There is no “home-remedy!” Instead, surrender fully into the Arms of the One who offers real ongoing healing, found only in a life of obedience to His Word, His Way, His Spirit, His Life, and His Love!