Ministry Blog

What kidney stones make us think about

Posted by Robert Jones on

I was preaching a sermon recently on a Sunday morning and I began to feel an excruciating pain in my back while I was on the stage at the church.  It was extremely difficult to concentrate, but I kept going while whispering to myself, "Just don't pass out in front of everybody."  I don't know if it was an adrenaline rush but somehow I made it to my closing prayer and grabbed a bar stool chair and gingerly sat down next to the pulpit.  I could tell that everyone was concerned for me, perhaps because I was pale and perspiring profusely.  I dismissed everyone and walked down the stairs off the platform and sheepishly told my compassionate wife, "I think I need to go to the ER."  

Wives are so intuitive and she said, "I think you have kidney stones again."  Just the words 'kidney stones' made me sick to my stomach as I remembered passing two of them seven years earlier while we were living in Modesto.  Some gracious friends helped me out the back door of the church and several members waved at me as we drove away in the car to the hospital.  My wife was trying to encourage me by saying, "Well the preacher in the movie, 'Heaven is For Real' didn't even make it through his sermon when his kidney stones started passing, so you must be really tough!

In that moment I didn't care about being tough, I didn't care who heard me moan and groan.  I didn't care if my shirt was tucked in or if I looked presentable or not.  All I cared about was focusing on the pain until I gave birth to three baby stones.  I was caught in a sort of time warp in which everything slowed down like pressing slow motion on my DVR.  At the hospital they gave me an I.V. and some powerful pain medications and I rested in the hospital bed for several hours until they had completed all their tests.

There are moments in our lives when the world stops.  Most of the time life is rushing by, and before you know it you have gray hair and your kids are walking out the door to go to college.  But the world seemed to stop when we received the news from a CHP Officer at our door in 1990 that my sister Jeni had passed away.  The world seemed to stop again when I got married and when our first child was born.  There have been many days of crisis as well as joy, and the world halted on every one one of them.  Each one is a surreal experience, in which a wide range of emotions, including the feeling of shock, overwhelmed our minds and hearts to the degree that nothing else in the world mattered.

Regardless if you believe that Jesus will come back a second time or not, there will be a world-wide moment of shock when a loud trumpet will sound from a high ranking angel.  In an instant, a dramatic transformation will take place that I imagine will be the greatest 'rush' of our existence.  Even though we will live in paradise for millions of years we will all tell our story over and over again of what we were doing when we were grabbed by the Spirit of God and literally thrust up into the clouds.  There will be many people who will still be on the ground dealing with their own version of shock as they become aware of the fact that people have disappeared!

Ironically, throughout biblical history and the history of the church there have been very few moments in which God displays His power with 'shock and awe.'  More often than not, his miracles are subtle and his power is displayed through human compassion rather than with lightening bolts.  But in the end, he will let loose with all of his power and the world will tremble.

As a young man I used to wonder what it would be like to graduate high school, get married, have babies and how long I would live before I die.  For my 10 year old son, nothing else exists in his short little life except waiting for the day he is allowed to have a cell phone.  One day he will get it then worry about something else.  All of our dreams seem distant but eventually they come.  All of our fears of crisis, the longing for special days, the wonder of any first time experience bring shock and perhaps awe.  This is life, and it's exhilarating to live it everyday.  

Yet most people dread the thought of heaven because somewhere in the history of the universe they got the idea that if we live in a perfect environment then life will be boring.  But I think we will still have surprises, moments of shock and awe, as we explore a new world and fill the universe.  Scientists tell us that it would be a huge waste of space if the only life in the galaxy is on our planet.  If we filled the earth with seven billion people in under 10,000 years, how long would it take us to make a dent in the universe after the first million years of eternity?

It's funny what kidney stones will make you think about.

~ Pastor Robert


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