I have this friend in Jacmel named Dr. Ken. He's an ER doctor who has lived in Haiti for a couple of years now and recently started a really cool organization called "Surf Haiti." (Check them out here or on facebook.)
Here are a few of my favorite things about Ken--
- He has a passion for creating community among Christians. He founded Church on the Beach in Cayes Jacmel which is a spot for English-speaking people to come together weekly and worship God in an English-speaking environment. It's a place where we carry each other's burders and share our joys. I love Ken (and his wife, Diane) for opening their home to us each week. It's life-giving. I guess he's sort of my pastor these days.
- He was the ER doctor for pro-surfer Bethany Hamilton after her now infamous shark attack. (Seen the movie Soul Surfer? That is her.) And yes, I am totally bragging about being friends with a famous person. Ken that is. Not Bethany. I have never met her.
- He did emergency surgery on my friend Tammi (on a tarp on his living room floor) after she was shot during their home invasion and fished a bullet out of her shoulder.
- He's just a cool guy. He's generous, humble, gentle and fun to be around.
- He's got a lot of wisdom. He wrote the book on wisdom. You might think I am exaggerating, but he actually did write a book on wisdom. It's called Wise @ Heart. (You can buy it here in paperback or here for kindle.)
So-- where am I going with all of this?
I feel like there are some basic concepts about faith and Christianity that he explains in this book using simple medical analogies that were sort of aha! moments for me. My favorite-- meaning most convicting-- chapter so far is called "Alternatives to Wisdom." But that's not what I am going to write about. (I just wanted to make sure you all pay special attention to that chapter.)
The thing that stuck out to me the most was this-- all of us are born with a physical heart and a spiritual heart. And just like when we neglect our physical health we get sick, when we neglect our spiritual heart, we get sin-sick. He uses the analogy of heart disease, talking about how it is the most common cause of non-accidental death in America. He calls sin, "spiritual heart disease."
He talks about the amazing way our physical hearts were created and that "Despite the efforts of the best minds in medicine, man has not been able to produce an artifical "heart" that can come anywhere close to the miracle of the human heart created by God."
When I read this, my mind flashed back to this picture.
In the 4.5 years since I've been blogging, I've probably shared this picture at least 2 other times. It's Josiah right after open-heart surgery when he was 3 days old. And I am not sharing it to be shocking or graphic. I share it because I think it's the perfect example of that quote from Ken's book that I just shared.
Guys-- THIS is what it looks like when we, as humans, try to keep someone alive. It's a MESS. It's bloody and it's ugly and it's graphic and it's shocking. And it's the BEST we can do. Josiah had his surgery by one of the best cardio-thoracic surgeons in the country at Duke... And this is the best he could do. (Which is not to say that he didn't do a good job or that I am not thankful.)
But my point is this-- God, on the other hand, BREATHES and life is created. He just BREATHES and life happens.
Dr. Pierce goes on to share that "Our spiritual heart, also created by God, is even more amazing. It never stops beating. It will live on in eternity lond after your physical heart has ceased to function."
Man. That struck me. I mean, sure, I believe this to be true and I have believed this for a long time. But I see people (me included) working SO HARD and striving for things that are SO temporal. Things that WILL die away. We do so much striving in the name of "beautifying" our physical bodies. (And by that I mean we work towards what society tells is us beautiful. Today. Tomorrow it might be totally different. And we will work for that too.) We put in hour after hour at work to make money to buy more things that will JUST BURN.
Dude. What the heck is wrong with us? Us trying to strive for things that will pass away is really, REALLY silly. It is not wise. We forget that we think we know what we want, and we think that we are creating a better life, but that God BREATHES and there's life. NOT just physical life-- spiritual life.
God has BEEN before there was time. God IS now. God WILL BE forever into eternity. Friends, let us breathe in HIS breath. Let us set our hearts on wisdom... on eternal, LIFE-giving things.
Man, I can't wait to finish this book so that I can re-read it and dig into the study part of it. (And I think you should probably buy it too.)