The Pharmacist and the Physician

True story. It was in a church committee meeting several years ago that we took time to seek the Spirit’s guidance on a matter through Scripture and prayer. When it came time to share our thoughts, a doctor on the committee looked at his scrawled notes and, a bit baffled, confessed, “I can’t read my own writing!” Seated next to him was one in the pharmaceutical profession. He calmly reached over, took the physician’s notepad, and said, “Here, let the pharmacist read it.” And he did! He read the doctor’s chicken scratch verbatim! Talk about perpetuating a stereotype!

The prophet Jeremiah once mused, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”1 We know of our sin, and some of it we know all too well—it has been too painful and discouraging for us not to. Just when we think we’ve seen the worst of it, however, or that we’ve overcome the most of it, we realize otherwise. For though our hearts are our own, we can neither entirely read them nor fully comprehend them. What temptations sneak up on you, for instance, and tantalize a hidden chamber of your soul? But God can search our hearts, and He does know our minds,2 and this is for our own good. Why? Because, as Paul writes, “the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, the Spirit himself intercedes for us . . . in accordance with the will of God.”3 So also, through the Word of God, the Spirit God speaks understanding into the deepest reaches of our soul “to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right.”4 He turns a tough diagnosis into a great prognosis.

There are times when we cannot read our own hearts, and there are other times when we choose not to for fear of what we will find. But like a physician, “the Lord looks at the heart”5 and like the pharmacist, he reveals it to us in a way we can absorb, understand and commence with our healing. We can entrust ourselves to God entirely, for He is all about our wellbeing.

Father, You love us perfectly. Forgive us when we are oblivious to our sin or when we are afraid to face it. Jesus has paid for all of our sin, so we are perfectly safe in facing any of it, knowing You are transforming us into something unimaginably better. Lead us in this confidence and joy today. In Christ we pray. Amen.

1 Jeremiah 17:9
2 Jeremiah 17:10
3 Romans 8:26-27
4 2 Timothy 3:16 TLB
5 1 Samuel 16:7

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