504 Java Profile

504 Java Profile
Two of my favorite things

Saturday, December 24, 2011

On Medical Heroes

I have already posted my thankfulness for my knee surgeon, Dr. Scott Montgomery who trained with one of my all time heroes, medical and otherwise, Dr. Mike Brunet.  I continue to be blown away by the advances in medical technology that allowed a skilled doctor using a small camera to thread a new (well, new to me) ACL into my damaged knee. Under the direction of a physical therapist named Guido (I am not making this up), the "hurts so good" of stretching and bending and exercising has brought strength and mobility.  He has advanced my progress more than I could imagine.  Ice is my friend.

As I have iced my knee, I have been reading a book by one of my other medical heroes.  Several years ago, I read Fearfully and Wonderfully Made by Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey.  The point of that book was to consider the value of pain through the lens of Dr. Brand's work with leprosy patients.  Leprosy robs the body of the ability to feel pain and even when the disease is stopped, the patients have no nerve warning in their hands and feet to tell them that they are doing something dangerous.  The book I am reading now is He Satisfies my Soul and is a reprint of an earlier book, God's Forever Feast.

The collection of devotional chapters has gotten my attention in several ways. It is a collection of journal-type thoughts from Dr.Brand during his medical career in India and at the Carville Institute in Louisiana.  In the first chapter, he writes of a fishing trip that almost went terribly wrong. Dr. Brand's family was hiking with another family with no plan for food other than the trout they would catch from the river.  The fish were not biting and brunch time turned into lunch time and then into dinner time with no fish.  Finally, the sunburned fathers began to catch the trout and the hungry children were fed.  But not before grace.

Dr. Brand writes,

I mentioned that the children could hardly wait to sing grace before biting down on their trout on dry bread, but wait they did and if parents had forgotten, the little ones would have reminded us to sing. We had a series of musical graces that each of our families used to sing before every meal. It seemed to us that they had special meaning on picnics in the countryside. There we were surrounded with the evidence of God's bounty. . . The singing postponed the eating by just a few minutes, but I have no doubt that it enhanced the flavor or what we ate. It brought wholeness into each meal. The fare at our meals was not only an array of wholesome foods for our nourishment, but it also gave us a chance to be together and it was an invitation to our Lord to take His place at the head of the table. . .This grace gently reminds us God is the source of all that we need. He is the one who sustains and nourishes us, both physically and spiritually.

I pray that as you gather family and say grace over bountiful meals, that you will linger for a moment to assure that the Lord is in His place at the head of the table. I know I will.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

On My Knees

I have a few days at home due to a "procedure" on my knee. I had a pretty complete makeover on my right knee as a result of a mishap 25 years ago on a ski slope. I am grateful for a gifted surgeon who replaced my ACL, repaired the meniscus, and cleaned up the cartilage. My knee will be better.

I heard the usual jokes about how I hurt my knee. The reason I didn't get it repaired almost three decades ago was the doctor advised me to wait for better technology "since I wasn't ever going to be a competitive athlete." The doctor back then was right on both accounts. Better technology has arrived and I have never been a competitive athlete.

I also heard the joke that my knee wore out due to my prayer life. I only wish that one was true.

I have had some down time. Some "knee above my heart" time. And some "still" time. I am one of those who really doesn't like pain meds. So, I have noticed a thing about pain. It is often (for me) mediated by stillness. If I can get really still and shut out all the noise, my body seems to relax enough for the pain to kind of drift away--or at least become tolerable. I also noticed that when I shut off the noise, my thoughts turn towards my Creator. It might be that is what makes the pain go away. I admit that prayer is sometimes something I do on the way to something.

I remember when I started running that it became a protracted prayer time--which was good. I hardly noticed that it became a replacement for stillness--which was bad. Prayer is so many things. It is adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplication. It is praise, petition, penance. It is conversation, contrition, consolation. It is stillness. It is shutting all things off and losing the notion of time. It is getting lost in the presence of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit Who has redeemed me. It is being with the One who has answered my pleas regarding my son, my daughter, my wife, my marriage, my ministry. It is stillness and peace and quiet and not being in a hurry.  It is a time of its own and not a time while driving, while running, while waiting for a meeting to start (or end ). :)

The obvious verse that is in my mind is Ps.46:10, "Be still and know that I am God." I also like the NASB version, "Cease striving and know that I am God."

I am thankful that it took a broken knee to remind me of the stillness that I can find when I am on my knees.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

On Shepherds

My friend of 30 years is Clay Corvin--our Vice President for Business Admin at the Seminary. More importantly he is a shepherd for me as a friend, a husband to Carol and a poet. He encouraged me to post this one that I wrote.  How ironic that he has been an earthly shepherd to so many of us. He is in the middle. . .


A Calling to protect
A Commissioning to guide
A Consecration to nurture

A Voice that comforts from a face turned toward
A Voice that leads from a face turned away

A Resolve that breaks legs for wanderers
A Compassion that carries the prodigal lamb on his neck

A Description of a man after God’s own heart
A Designation for the Qumran boy who found the scroll

A Pariah banned from the Temple
A King who wanted to build the Temple
A Messiah who cleansed the Temple

A Paradox of acceptance
A Despised occupation
A Metaphor for the King

A Savior Shepherd Who has prepared the eternal sheep fold.