Three weeks ago from today I had what was very possibly the greatest day in my spiritual life. Then that evening I began passing a kidney stone.
I went from higher than Cloud 9 to the ER in one day.
The joy of the presence of God to the frustration of excruciating pain. A taste of Heaven to a little stone from Hell.
Now many of you face much more difficulty than my little 4 mm stone, so please don’t let my pathetic fishing for sympathy blind you to what I am hope to convey.
I can not put into words the height of the spiritual experience I had that day three weeks ago. I will spare you the details and try to get to my point, but many things had culminated into that day. It was what I had been praying and longing to experience. I had been working hard to be more disciplined and to bathe everything in prayer. After several weeks of working towards these things, I had a day full of the presence of God and divine appointments. It was amazing.
Kidney stones are nothing new for me. Usually when I have a bout with them life halts momentarily. So I knew what laid ahead of me, but my concern was not for the stone or pain, but it was for the possible spiritual derailment that could occur. I knew I would struggle with the discipline and pursuit that had intersected with God’s grace on that awesome day. I had progressed up the proverbial spiritual mountain, and now I would lose footing. I would slip. I might have to return to base camp.
Honestly, I had never thought like this, but reflecting later I realized I have had moments like this throughout my life and never noticed. I would make spiritual progress in my life whether that was a rededication of my life, a commitment to a certain ministry, starting in a particular Bible Study, gaining momentum with my quiet time, spending more time in prayer, or whatever it may have been — I would grow in my faith and the practice of that faith only to have that growth derailed by something.
I’m sure previous kidney stones had derailed me, but they haven’t been the only thing. My spiritual progress has been derailed by colds, busyness, vacation, high work load, specific projects, family tragedy, school work, laziness, hunting season, sin, fear, lack of faith, lack of discipline, discouragement, and I could go on forever.
Sure enough, with my kidney stone, I struggled to maintain my pursuit. Some of it might be justifiable, but most of it was from being a wimp or lazy. Although I did do what I hoped I wouldn’t, at least this time I was aware it was happening. At least this time I have fought not to lose ground. Typically I have made strides in my Spiritual walk, then something would happen in life, and I would abandon my pursuit. Time would go by and I would not even realize what happened.
So enough about me…I don’t imagine I am the only one who faces spiritual derailment. In looking back at your life have you had your spiritual growth derailed? Have you lost ground from your spiritual climb and not bothered to regain that ground?
It may be impossible to avoid spiritual derailing events. Actually, it is such events that probably are meant to build up our faith. But when faced with one, I hope you would do what I have not done so many times which is to recognize the possible derailment and fight for the spiritual ground you have gained. Don’t give up that hill without a fight.