After stepping out of the “regular world” and immersing myself into the wild abandon of the lifestyle Jesus had, I came back really different. Maybe it was the selling of pretty much all my stuff, watching my washer and dryer get loaded up on a dolly and wheeled out. Watching my couch get carried away. Loading up my big flat screen into my car and then putting it in a friend’s car, never to be seen again. I didn’t realize that I wouldn’t purchase another tv for the next 4 years and counting. I didn’t know I was done watching “all my shows” and that I was done collecting crosses to put on the wall. I thought those things were really important. Then it was all gone and I realized they weren’t important.
I used to feel super entitled to my paycheck. I thought there was a separation between ministry and “work” and I didn’t see my job as holy. Which is a problem, because then I didn’t see my check as “provision” but as my earnings. My money. As if. As if! As if God wasn’t sustaining my every breath, my every scientific thought while I made decisions at work. As if God hadn’t breathed on me so I could have enough strength to get out of bed every day, as if He didn’t guide my car on the highway, as if He hadn’t held me together 24/7. My Sustainer. If He ever was uninvolved, I would cease my existence. I didn’t know that. I thought I was independent.
I came home from my trip and lived in abandon for a while longer. Community house with 25 roommates. Volunteering my time at a nonprofit. Learning in every way and shape possible. Living on sheer kindness and whispered prayers for paychecks.
Now I tell you, it was so worth it. I learned to see my day-to-day as holy no matter what. I learned to recognize Jesus in every situation, the Source of my contentment in the “even so” scenarios. I’m a full-time Medical Laboratory Scientist again, and I’m getting blown away by Jesus showing up at work.
I see His reminders around the hospital all the time. He’s all over it. He’s doing heavenly things in the midst of my earthly things. In the blood bank, I used to stamp with bright red letters “RELEASED” on forms for returned blood. And I saw that Jesus stamped over me with crimson as well, that very word. I used to allocate the due portions of blood to patients, and I saw that Jesus was faithfully allocating to me what was due me, according to my needs. I used to have to look in the microscope to confirm a result, to see cell by cell flowing freely so I could be sure my eyes weren’t fooling me. And Jesus looks into our hearts to the cellular level, and He sees everything so clearly. He set us free, cell by cell, and we must agree with that freedom.
As I put on gloves and a coat and pull shields to separate me from the things I am examining, I am humbled that my God does not feel the need to separate Himself from us any longer, that our problems and our failures do not make Him wince or shrink back from us. Jesus reached into our world, without gloves, without a coat, and got messy with us. He got infected with our death and our sin, and He indeed died from it on our behalf. Yet He conquered it all, so that we might not ever feel disgusting or separated. We are no longer infectious with death, but LIFE. We are no longer offensive to God’s holiness, but carriers of it. That’s crazy.
As I put tubes of blood in the centrifuge, they spin and spin for a certain amount of time, at an exact amount of revolutions per minute, and they come out separated: the plasma/serum stays at the top, which is the part of the specimen we use for our Chemistry tests. As the Lord places us in difficult situations, we emerge more sorted out. He uses the things that rise to the top. That part of us is able to receive fresh revelation. What rises to the top of you when you’re spinning? Is it a strong faith? Is it persevering joy? Is it a patient grace? Is it a wise word? He uses these things to give you holy answers to questions you’ve been asking your whole life. What rises in you when you’re centrifuged?
And the latest Jesus moment I had at work, out of many many many ones, was this morning. So, all the computers and analyzers are constantly talking to each other, relaying information. When we receive a tube of blood on a patient, someone scans it in at the front and “receives” it. It goes on record that we have it, and now the clock is ticking for us to test it and result it. This one particular test goes on a certain analyzer called the Architect. The Architect talks to the computer up front, and gets a list of all the tests that are coming its way. It makes a to-do list on the screen. You following? Okay. So this morning I had a tube in my hand that had been received. I walked up to the Architect and checked the to-do list and: uh oh. That patient was not listed! That meant that 1) the Architect didn’t talk to the front computer about this tube and 2) the Architect wouldn’t know what to do with that tube if I loaded it in. So I asked my coworker what to do, and she said in a nonchalant way “Oh, just re-receive the specimen.”
Um what? What’s re-receive?
And she said “you go back in like you are going to receive it for the first time, and you change the receiving time by one minute, just to make the computer think again. And voila, the Architect picks it up. It’s a glitch.”
And so I did, and it worked. I checked the Architect screen and there it was, the patient I had in my hand had “come across” the system after I re-received the specimen.
So what’s the holy point?
Sometimes we receive things and we have them, but part of us still doesn’t RECOGNIZE what we have. It’s a GLITCH of our earthly nature. We have something wonderful and we don’t understand it. We don’t know what to do with it. And we have to RE-RECEIVE it, as if for the first time, so that we can align ourselves with the reality of having it. Because we so have it.
I wanted to remind you today that you HAVE God’s approval. You HAVE His permission. You HAVE His love. You have TONS of grace, for yourself and for others. You have enough grace to forgive everybody who has ever wronged you, big and small. You have been forgiven for your mistakes. Yes. And you HAVE peace. Patience. Kindness. Self-control. Goodness. Faithfulness. Yes, you HAVE them. You don’t have to ask for them any longer. You have a peace and patience factory bubbling up inside your heart, called the Holy Spirit. And you have His fire and His power.
If you don’t feel like you do, you might need to re-receive it all. Re-receive the Holy Spirit. Get Him like you’re getting Him for the first time, just so that you can grasp the reality that YES, He’s all YOURS, along with all His benefits.
These are the kinds of thoughts I have at work. This is why my journey was worth it. I came back different. I stepped away so I could see Jesus. And now I see Him everywhere. You can take the girl out of the “mission field” but you can’t take the mission field out of the girl. I pray for your eyes to pop open to every little piece of Jesus around you. And if you must, I pray you go on your journey to seek Him, as far and wide as you need to go. You’ll find Him.