Monday, October 5, 2015


Medical tests, screenings, and procedures.

Gotta hate 'em…

Gotta…well…gotta hate 'em.

There are times when I feel like my body is a cara little dinged up, scratched here and there, creaking and squeaking, running on empty, with fading paint and a seriously sagging bumper, and (quite often) in desperate need of some work on the chassis.

Hence, the need for periodic tests, screenings, and procedures.

And some medical stuff requires prep work ahead of time.

Like drinking foul-tasting concoctions that make you glow in the dark, or injecting radioactive stuff, or consuming inordinate amounts of water, or fasting (are you ever hungrier??), or having various body parts poked, prodded, or probed.

And, without a doubt, there will be some form of undressing involved.


OK, so I remember having a CAT scan several years ago, which required drinking some awful stuff that I was told would taste like cranberry juice. (Why do they always say that?  NOTHING you have to drink EVER tastes like anything palatable.  It's like saying they've flavored motor oil with a little bit of vanilla – "It'll taste like an ice cream sundae…")

Then, after placing me in the CAT scan "donut" thing, I had to have an injection of contrast dye.  A very kind nurse hooked me up to an automatic injection system, and warned me that I might feel "a little bit warm" as the dye entered my circulation.

Uh huh.

I felt the warmth fire begin to flood my veins at the same exact time that my stomach completely flipped.

Without warning…well, you know what happened.

My boys love this story.  They still tell the tale of Mom "baptizing" a machine worth several hundred thousand dollars, which was – in their terms – epic.

So, last week I had a fun little romp in Medical Land.

I did not have my best time.

Fortunately, all things turned out well…but it got me thinking.

(After all, what else are you going to do while waiting to be p, p or p??)

Sometimes the prep work is harder than the procedure.  

It takes time, it's tiring, it can make you uncomfortable, sometimes it hurts, and mostly, you just can't wait for it all to be over.

I think it's a lot like life.

We know there's something else coming – an afterlife, an eternal destiny.

And so, in many ways, this life is but a prelude, an intro, a preface.

This life is but prep work for the real thing.

And it can take time, it's tiring, it can make us uncomfortable, sometimes it hurts…and some days, you just can't wait for it all to be over.

But, just exactly what is God trying to accomplish during our journeys through this earthly life?

For if God does not waste anything (He doesn't), and if He has a purpose in everything (He does), then He is definitely up to something.

Here's what I think:

1) He's allowing us to participate in the sufferings of Christ

At first glance, I'm sorta like, that's OK…I'm good.

But I'm convinced that there's a deeper purpose to our suffering, especially when we are persecuted for the Lord's sake.  Therefore, we should count it as a privilege to suffer for the name of Jesus.  For in some way that we'll never fully understand now, I believe that this suffering prepares us for future joy, and future glory.

From Charles Ellicott's commentary:

"Such a recognition of the meaning of suffering, such a rejoicing in suffering now, is a sure means to rejoicing in glory also hereafter."

"…be very glad – for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world." (1 Peter 4:13, NLT)

2) He's making us look like His Son

Again, don't you sometimes wish God was OK with us *sorta* looking like Jesus?  That *pretty good reflections* were good enough?

Because the alternative is God working on us, reshaping us, pruning off the dead stuff, and polishing the rough edges.


But God, though He does not condemn us for our sin if we believe in His Son, also does not leave us in a state of "good enough."  He desires to continue His work of transformation and renewal, always working toward the perfection of His righteousness in us.

We won't see the completion of His work on this side of heaven, for sin will always tarnish, but the refining process will change us for the better, and better, and finally, for the best.

"And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:18, NIV)

3) He's providing time for us to reach others

This world has a ticking clock…

And in my opinion, it's rapidly approaching midnight.

We are told in God's Word that the world will end one day.  And though we do not know the exact time, we can recognize the beginnings…

Jesus said: "All these are but the beginning of the birth pains."
(Matthew 24:8, ESV)

I believe that we are seeing the labor pains of the beginning of the end.

And so, time is short, and people are still lost – but God is giving His people time to reach them for His sake.

We have the knowledge of the Truth that will save people – the truth that will help them, in this life and the next.  And it is incumbent that we do our very best, with the Lord's help, to spread His tidings of good news and great joy.

"The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient…not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." 
(2 Peter 3:9, NASB)

4) He's giving us opportunities to earn rewards

Does it seem counterintuitive to you that we work for rewards?

The Bible is clear that we cannot earn our way to Heaven.  We can never do enough, or be enough, or strive enough, or perform enough to leap across the great divide that sin brings between God and us.

We are admonished against a works-based salvation.

I get that.

But what's so wonderful to me is that God does indeed promise rewards.

And I personally think it's OK to go after them!

This life offers unlimited opportunities to *store up our treasures* in Heaven. There is absolutely nothing wrong in looking forward to receiving the Crown of Life.

And there is something wonder-full in thinking about the reward of our Master saying, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

"Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven." 
(Matthew 5:12, KJV)

5) He's weaning us from this temporal life

It's hard to let go of this life.

After all, it's all we've ever known.

I don't know about you, but the enemy really taunts me with the fear of death.

I know where I'm going – but the father of lies is a master at insidiously wiggling anxiety into my thoughts and emotions.

Death – the Big Unknown.

And it is scary – Jesus Himself had quite a battle facing it in His own life. (Remember sweating like drops of blood?)

And yet, God would have us do exactly that – face death.

Face it with confident hope and blessed assurance.  Face it bravely with a conqueror's heart.  Face it with hallowed anticipation.  Face it with the One who died to save us, and rose again to purchase the guarantee that we will never truly die.

Weaning us from this life requires surrender.  It requires a relinquishment of our need to control.  It requires that we let go.  For if we cling to this life, we will lose it.

But if we give it up, for the sake of the One who sacrificed everything for us, we'll find it…

…and keep it forever.

"I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far…" 
(Philippians 1:23, NIV)

6) He's placing a yearning and longing in our hearts

I think C. S. Lewis said it perfectly:

"If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world." (Mere Christianity)

This life is full of hardship.

This life is not for sissies.

And those of us who know there is something better on the other side, will often find ourselves longing for release.

Haven't you all had those moments when it seemed like life stood still?  When it seemed that every perfect emotion was captured?  When you found yourself captivated by a sense of timeless purity?  Moments when peace was tangible, and you felt transcendent?

Haven't you found those moments to be excruciatingly fleeting?

And haven't you wished that you could hold on to them forever?

We can't – not yet – and that is why we yearn.

In his book, The Journey of Desire, John Eldredge sums it up this way:

"Should the king in exile pretend he is happy there?

Should he not seek his own country?

His miseries are his ally; they urge him on.  Let them grow, if need be.  But do not forsake the secret of life; do not despise those kingly desires."

God created us with a deep longing for Himself.

He has given us a restless state of heart that can never be completely satisfied with earthly things or people.

And we spend our earthly journeys living in the exquisite tension of *in-between.*

That's OK.

We're supposed to feel that way…for we are but pilgrims, on our way home.

"…He has planted eternity in the human heart…" (Ecclesiastes 3:11, NLT)

7) He's preparing us for eternal service

The Bible isn't clear on the details of what we'll be doing in eternity.

I used to worry that I'd be bored.

I mean, really, how much harp-playing is enough?!

But, how silly to think this way.

God is so creative, so multi-faceted, so omniscient, so wise, so unfathomable – how could we possibly think that He could ever be boring??

And why would He ever subject us to infinite boredom?

I believe that we will worship Him in every way possible – unhindered, finally, by the shackles of sin.

Might He also have work for us to do?

Fulfilling, joyful, easy, productive, satisfying, worship-full work?

I wonder sometimes…

Will He continue our spiritual gifts from this life?

Will the singers sing, and the musicians play, and the writers write, and the painters paint, and the teachers teach…and on and on and on?!

Whatever He's got up His sleeve, we can count on one thing – it'll be even better than what we can think or imagine.

And it will all be for and to the glory of God!!

"…and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve and worship Him [with great awe and joy and loving devotion]…" (Revelation 22:3, AMP)

So yeah, this life is prep work.

It takes time, it's tiring, it can make us uncomfortable, sometimes it hurts, and mostly, we just can't wait for it all to be over.

But, though it's not always pleasant, this earthly *prep work* is accomplishing good things, better things, best things – forever things.

And so, we'll persevere…

All their life in this world
and all their adventures
had only been the cover and the title page...
Now at last they were beginning
Chapter One
of the Great Story
which no one on earth has read,
which goes on forever,
in which every chapter
is better than the one before.

C. S. Lewis
"The Last Battle"

"Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." 
(Psalm 90:12, NIV)

"'If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it.'" (Matthew 10:39, NLT)

"So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.  For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever."  (2 Corinthians 4:18, NLT)

"For to me, to live is Christ [He is my source of joy, my reason to live] and to die is gain [for I will be with Him in eternity]." (Philippians 1:20, AMP)

"So we do not lose heart.  Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day." (2 Corinthians 4:16, ESV)

"If a man dies, will he live again?  All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come." (Job 14:14, NIV)

"I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life." (1 John 5:13, NLT)

"'Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.'" 
(John 6:47, ESV)

"…Christ has been raised from the dead.  He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died." (1 Corinthians 15:20, NLT)

"As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth.  Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God; whom I myself shall behold, and whom my eyes will see and not another.            

My heart faints within me!" (Job 19:25-27, NASB)

How's your *prep work* going?!

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BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. Yep gotta love those procedures before the procedure. And you gotta love the life we live in prep for what is coming. Makes it all the more richer to wait for.

  2. Sharon, I had to laugh at your comment about how much harp playing is enough. All the prep work is not fun but indeed it services so many practical purposes for us otherwise once we accepted Christ he would just wish us on to Heaven.

  3. Glad to hear your recent testing came out okay, Sharon. Yep, lots of prep for some of them, but necessary if one wants to get a clear picture of what is going on in the body. Yep, lots of prep for our spiritual lives too; I'm just glad that the Lord has given us a wonderful resource in the Bible to use for prepping and that he is always available to help us on our journey :)


  4. Sharon, you have such a knack for breathing humor and levity into the most serious of topics! :) Yes, life is one big prep for the hereafter, and it's not always easy or pleasant. But knowing God is using our hardships to perfect us and make us more like Christ is a blessing I hang on to.
    Love and blessings to you!

  5. I do not like preparing for these things either...sorry, but had to laugh at your CAT scan story... I know it's not really funny at all! Ah...but it makes for great memories for your boys! Hope all that you are prepping for has turned out OK. I can always count on your posts to relate well to my own life...and teach a great truth as well. Oh...and we can't forget about entertaining :) Enjoy your week ahead, my friend!

  6. Hi Sharon! Leave it to you to find the lesson in prep for what sounds like a colonoscopy. Ugh! Double ugh!! You're right though, often the prep is worse than the procedure.
    God is getting us ready when we suffer and abide in Him. I know I'll need the grace to get through what He has planned. Thanks be to Him who makes sure I'll make it thorough my test with flying colors, as I am so happy you did!
    Love this today. So relatable!

  7. Sometimes the prep work is harder than the procedure.

    It takes time, it's tiring, it can make you uncomfortable, sometimes it hurts, and mostly, you just can't wait for it all to be over.

    I think it's a lot like life.

    That will preach sister...

  8. So glad to hear that all is well with you, Sharon! This is an awesome message you've shared here beautiful friend! Happy to visit with you today! Hope you'll stop by and join my blog hop as well! Peace and many blessings to you, Love! :-)

  9. I'm glad things turned out well for you, but sorry you had to go through it. Ugh.....I'm in total understanding with all the pokes, probes, and procedures. Another ugh. Wishing you joy and peace, Sharon.

  10. Vanilla flavored motor oil. Heh. I'm not a good sufferer. I'm more insufferable. Not pretty at all. 😊😊

  11. Medical stuff pretty much stinks. And, like you said, a lot of it is the prep work! I love the analogy to life, though! God has a purpose in all our sufferings. He is prepping us for something very important!
    Blessings and smiles,


  12. So, so good. I've said to my husband lately, "It's all maintenance after 50!"
    But you've given me some positive input to counteract all the change and decay! Blessings to you, and thanks for your uplifting words!

  13. Hello Sharon! I always enjoy your posts. Yep, this life is just the prep work, and it gets old and tiring. Such truth there! But He is preparing us for His kingdom! Yay! Visiting today from Testimony Tuesday.

  14. I was reminded about the work Adam and Eve did in the garden prior to their messing up. In heaven, there will be work of various kinds. Those with crowns will rule and have authority, while others will be gate keepers. In preparation now, we must remain faithful and obedient to where ever and what ever God leads us to do. My hubby is having to undergo tests at times, and at present has a staph infection that was needing some procedures - - - and if looking somewhat better. As for me, they take my blood pressure and temp and unless I complain, that is about it for me. Gov. Brown of California just signed the bill "Let the old folks die," actually they gave it a pretty name, and included anyone with terminal disease. Our life is in God's hands, and he has the number on the day we will meet him. Keep looking up, for our redemption draws Nye. Thanks for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

  15. LOVE this post, sweet friend. Dad often used to tell me that this life is a dressing room for the next, and Mom would say, "Only one life, 'twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last." As we "prep" for our eternal home in Heaven, I am so very grateful to be walking this Christian journey with you! Sending you much love and many hugs across the miles. :)

  16. You nailed this, Sharon. The depth and description and wisdom about the connection between the physical and the spirit are profound. It's a process and one that I think those of us that are shown a little more grace get to see and grasp as the soul cage grows weary.

    Wonderful and encouraging, sister. What's ahead is better than what lingers behind.

  17. Sometimes the prep does seem endless, doesn't it? And when you can't think you can do one more thing, there it comes. Your words and perspective bring such hope and I love how God seemingly endlessly speaks through you in the daily parts of life. You are a joy - a reflection of Him, doing the hard work.

  18. Sharon, loved reading your reflection. Thank you for sharing and being so transparent. I admire your leadership through words. Blessings

  19. Sharon,
    Thank you for sharing some very deep and challenging truths...and yes, prep work does seem to go on forever but it won't be in light of eternity...Thank you for sharing your hard won wisdom and faith...and blessing us with your perspective.

  20. Sharon, Having been through a few of those preps, and unfortunately, possibly facing a couple more in the near future, I liked how you used it is an analogy for our life here on earth as prep before Heaven, and the Scripture verses you used to show that so perfectly.

    I was especially struck by your statement that we are "being weaned from this world".

    Thanks for sharing such an edifying post!

  21. Wow, Sharon! There is so much to chew on here. I am going to bookmark and come back and read again when I have some time this weekend. (And I had a CAT scan 2 weeks ago! We will need to exchange war stories. Praying for you.)


  22. That's a beautiful way to look at suffering. I have to admit that I'm guilty at wallowing on the pain sometimes but yes, this is really wise and true.

  23. Prep work...interesting way to look at the tough stuff we go through. And some people go through so much more than others that I often wonder why they don't just buckle. But somehow they become an inspiration to me. Hugs Sharon and wishes for a beautiful weekend.

  24. Good attitude to have. Thanks for sharing at Thursday Favorite Things.

  25. Prep work is so hard, and tiring, and expensive (in time and money) messy, uncomfortable and just plain tough but it makes us what we are. And heaven will be so worth it. Thanks for the reminder today that a better day is coming.

  26. He is indeed preparing us and you've so beautifully expounded on that truth, Sharon.Your words are convicting, encouraging and insightful. Just what I expect to find when I visit here, my friend!

  27. I'm sorry you had to endure the medical tests! It's not easy to grow older and watch our bodies ache in places it never used to. Then again, the wisdom we earn as we age - that may be worth the price. I'd never go backwards because I didn't know much when I was in my 20's and 30's :)

  28. For as long as I can remember, I have hated needles. While in my growing up age I have gotten better at tolerating them, still not my fave. So I too compare the hard stuff of this life as sitting around waiting to get a shot-- it's like they are just sitting around us, waving the needle around, TALKING about the procedure--and *usually* the anticipation of the experience is worse than the experience itself.

    Sort of off topic... But I identify.

    And I love your analogy: flavoring motor oil with vanilla will taste like a sundae. Yes, my friend, all the things yes. <3 Love you and continue to pray over you/your sticky note on my prayer closet wall!

  29. What I truly enjoy about visiting your little home here is that you are literally sharing the lessons you are learning and always leading us, filling us, with more of His Word through it. Like a little conversation with you, teaching and guiding in grace. I usually find myself laughing or smiling by your transparency, Sharon. It is refreshing. I am super sorry you had to endure some uncomfortable things. I remember that fire that goes through the veins and even the flip flop of the contents of my insides. .... And what is with those narrow tables that even a toothpick can't fit onto??? :)

    Praying for you as you await the results and thanking God for your generous dose of humor through it.

  30. Your awesome Sharon. What a great analogy!

  31. You have such a beautiful way of weaving stories with biblical truth! Thank you so much for sharing at Waiting on...Wednesday! Hope to see you back this week!

  32. What a interesting and compelling thought! So cool!

    I love how you tell these everyday stories and they turn into faith-building, life-equipping, insightful promptings! Love it!

    I'm glad your test worked out well and thank you for sharing this perspective that sometimes the prep work is the hardest part.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely day.

  33. Love it, great post! Thanks for sharing with us at #JoyHopeLive!

  34. I hope everything turns out okay! It's comforting to know that God is going before you in all things!


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

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