HE PULLED THE RUBBER PLUG and sadly watched as the water swirled in tiny cyclone fashion through the hole in the bottom of the hot tub. Memories flashed through his mind of nights spent soaking under the stars. Cool mist sprinkles falling lightly upon his cheeks. Eyes closed. Body relaxed. The musky smell of burnt leaves hanging in the air above his nostrils. The warmth of the water as it encircled his body, calming the twitching nerves in his legs. After his surgery, there would be no more midnight soaks. No more pulsating caresses upon his skin. No more warm water retreats before going to bed. There would be no more hot tub. Period. It was like saying goodbye to an old friend.
For the past several months, the hot tub has been my husband’s late night companion after umpiring or refereeing. With his kidneys functioning around 10%, it didn’t take much for his legs and feet to cramp. He would soak as many as two or three times through the night hoping the twitching would stop so he could go back to sleep. Often times, I never heard him get out of bed.
This week, however, my husband will have a catheter inserted into his abdomen in preparation to start dialysis. Once the catheter is in place, he is no longer able to use hot tubs, swimming pools, or swim in lakes.
And so it goes, life changes and adaptations are made. The key to it all is how we handle the changes. We can look to them with sadness, regret, or anger. Or we can decide that God has a better plan for us.
My husband’s kidneys have been bad for several years. He has held dialysis off as long as possible with medications and a restricted diet. But lately, his declining physical strength has taken its toll on his body. With dialysis emanate, my husband looks forward to becoming strong again and eating foods he once enjoyed.
Once dialysis starts, his body will be pumped with fluid that will pull the impurities out of his blood that his kidneys are unable filter. Then the toxic fluid will be drained and replaced with clean fluid. This will be a daily process for the rest of his life, or until he receives a kidney transplant.
As I think about the process of dialysis, I think about sin. In some ways, sin is like the accumulated wastes that fester inside my husband’s body. With his kidney’s not functioning properly, the poisons stay within, until he seeks a higher power to help him rid his body of the impurities. He cannot do it on his own. With professional help and a special fluid, my husband will be able to regain his health and strength. He will become well again. And with regained health, comes a new outlook on life.
In the same way, many of us tend to hold onto our sins as long as possible, until eventually we cannot hold out any longer. We hit bottom. We crash. When we realize we can’t purge the sin that lies so deeply embedded within our souls, we have only one place we can go. To the foot of the cross. It was on that cross where the Great Physician, Jesus Christ, allowed Himself to be drained of life through the shedding of His blood. When we kneel at the cross, seeking forgiveness and repentance for our sins, He takes them from us. He empties us of the poisons and toxins that are destroying our bodies. He then fills us with His love and goodness making us whole again. Jesus fills us with new life. Eternal life.
I have to wonder…Why do we wait until we are miserable before we decide to let go? If we only felt the freedom, strength, and vitality that awaits us on the other side, wouldn’t we ask for help much sooner? Like my husband, who has held out as long as possible before starting dialysis, a new life awaits him once the process begins. A life he might have had a few months earlier. A life of strength. Freedom from pain. A life where his mind is not focused on his illness. A life that brings him joy.
The process for my husband begins with strength. The strength to take the next step. A step toward healing and wellness. For sinners, the next step, also, begins with strength. The strength to step toward the cross. If you have not taken that step, let me encourage you. Don’t wait. Pull the plug. Drain the dirty, toxic slime from your soul, and fill your body with the water of new life. Life everlasting. Life that only the Great Physician can give.
“but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14, ESV)
Prayer: Dear Lord, Help us to recognize the things in our lives leading us to spiritual death. Let us call upon Your son, Jesus Christ – the Great Physician, for forgiveness and healing. Thank You for Your continual pursuit of us. Even when we hold out, You never turn Your back on us. When we eventually collapse at Your feet, You reach out Your healing hand, pull us out of the muck, and restore us back to health. Thank you, Father. In Jesus’ precious name I pray, Amen.
Photo courtesy of Morguefile and ferguweb.