By Mike Blackaby
I’ve always hated hospitals. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad they exist, and we would be in trouble without them. But there is just not much I enjoy about the whole hospital experience. In particular, I have always been terrified of needles.
Several years ago, I was rushed to the emergency room due to some frightening physical symptoms. Waiting in the ER provided me with numerous reasons to be miserable, including the unknown state of my health, the groaning mystery patient veiled behind the curtain beside me, and the backless lavender dress they had given me in exchange for my dignity. I could hardly move because various monitors were attached to me, dripping and beeping and hissing ominously. Needless to say, my spirits were low. Very low.
But then, two BEAUTIFUL nurses entered the room. Suddenly the sun broke through the clouds and the birds began to sing! Surely these maidens were here to comfort me. One of them was already reaching for my hand. Oh, Sweet Mercy! But my bliss was short-lived, as I realized that she was holding a colossal needle! It looked like a tool of medieval warfare. Just before plunging the point deep into my flesh, she paused to ask a question.
“You aren’t afraid of needles are you?”
“Of course not!” I replied blithely. It was a bald face lie. “What’s the holdup? Let’s get this show on the road!” To my dismay, both nurses burst into laughter, but not the “you-are-so-brave-and-handsome-you-make-us-giddy” kind of giggle. Between fits of chortle, one of them said, “You can’t lie while you’re hooked up to a heart monitor!” I followed her eyes to the machine beside my bed and watched as my heartbeat recorded about 100 beats per second! My heart was giving away my secret!
That was not the first time my heart has ratted me out, nor will it be the last. Trials have a way of revealing our true character. When life gets scary, we may try to portray all the correct Christian responses: courage, faith, compassion, or whatever the situation calls for. But the Bible says that what is really in our heart will inevitably come to light and reveal our true character.
My heart aches for my generation. So many young people grow up in church, only to turn away from God by the time they graduate high school. Why is this? Perhaps adulthood presents them with some challenges they are spiritually ill-equipped to handle. When life gets hard, Sunday School answers will not help someone who does not have a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. Right now, there is a generation of Millennials being reared in Christian homes, but many of them go out into the world and crumble under the weight of the secular philosophies they encounter. These young people may be heavily ‘churched’, nurtured, well-dressed, talented and educated (and those things are all great) but the most important investment, one that often gets neglected along the way, is developing a Christ-like heart.
When the hard times come, our hearts are laid bare before God and we see who we really are. My prayer for my generation is that we will take time to invest in our hearts. If we fail to do this, we are in trouble. How about you? What does your heart reveal?
“As in water face reflects face, so a man’s heart reveals the man.” Proverbs 27:19
Mike Blackaby will be joining his grandfather, Henry, and his father Richard, at The Cove on April 20-22. Their seminar is titled: “Experiencing God Through the Generations.” We encourage you to bring multiple generations from your family. There is a special rate of $129 for youth ages 15-21 when attending this seminar with parents or grandparents. Click here to register and for more details.