Jesus – the Cure for Spiritual Stenosis
In a couple of weeks, I’m having surgery for spinal stenosis. Therefore, as most of us do, I googled it. It’s a narrowing of the spinal channel pinching the spinal cord and other nerves. It can be caused by a number of things like arthritis and bone spurs. And yes, it results in a lot of pain.
And it has also caused a major disruption in my life. Just like that, pain management fills much of the day. A recliner has become the center of my universe. Trips must be canceled. You get the picture.
But physical stenosis is nothing compared to spiritual stenosis. Spiritual stenosis is when guilt and shame clamp down on a person causing them excruciating pain. It’s when sin and guilt bother people so much that it dominates their lives.
And it’s a condition we are all born with. “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). It’s the reason why there are so many different types of religions in the world. Each one is offering a “cure”.
When you google spinal stenosis, you are immediately confronted by ads and articles for a number of different cures. Exercise, laser treatments, shots, alternative medicine – the list goes on. I didn’t explore all of them. I don’t know what ones are better than others. You can find proponents for each and every one of them.
When it comes to spiritual stenosis, however - although there are a lot of voices claiming they have the cure - there is definitely only one cure: Jesus. Only Jesus can free people from the guilt which paralyzes and tortures them. Because he alone addressed the root problem. He alone removed the bone spurs of sin that were causing so much pain. He alone opened up the channel of our relationship with God. He alone drowned our sins in the depths of the seas and separated us from them as far as the east is from the west.
I had this same surgery about 20 years ago. I vividly remember waking up from it and immediately feeling relief. It was one of the best feelings in the world. The pressure was gone!
Jesus gives instant relief also. He doesn’t put us on probation to see if we are worthy of his love. He doesn’t test us to determine if we are deserving. He forgives us. Period.
And he does this inflicting no pain on us. To get relief from spinal stenosis, I have to be cut. I have to be operated on. I will need to recover from the pain of surgery. But Jesus, our spiritual doctor, instead of inflicting pain on us to help us, experienced excruciating pain for us to heal us.
As Christmas draws ever nearer, my prayer is that each of us can see clearly through all the trappings and tinsel of Christmas – to see our wonderful doctor, Jesus. To see the tremendous operation he accomplished. And then to experience anew the tremendous relief of your guilt removed and your relationship with God restored.