Time flies. I have now been hospitalized for 40 days. I cannot help but recall the 40 days that Jesus spent in the desert where He was tempted (Matthew 4:1-11). I will admit that my experience is totally different from that of our Lord Jesus. I was never in hunger during this entire experience of temptation. Yet, as I reflect through God's Word, I have received these three teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." As I mentioned this already, I am now even more certain to say it again. I believe that without the encouragement of God's word, I would not be alive today.
2. Christ was taken by the devil to the highest point of the temple. Using Scripture, the devil then tempted Jesus to display His powers as the Son of God. Instead, Christ does not abuse the Father's calling on His life, quotes God's word to condemn the devil, and then does not sin or pursue the idea of selfishly showing Himself off. During my hospital stay, God revealed to me that I live not for myself, but I live for Christ. Despite the pain and agony, I still must continue building the body of Christ. I cannot just focus on myself.
3. Lastly, the devil took Christ to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. It was there that the devil tempted Jesus Christ to bow down and worship him. Though the devil did not ask me "face-to-face" to do the same thing; nevertheless, each time the doctor came with my progress report, the devil used it to test my faith in God. In fact, every time the doctor came with a report I was discouraged. God is teaching me that He is the Sovereign God who controls everything. The doctor, on the other hand, is only able to offer an estimation of the situation based on his professional opinion. God, the Creator of all living things, is the God who wholly controls lives. So, I have learned that I should not be affected by these progress reports. In contrast, I should rely and trust my Lord who controls the life of all living creatures.
My stay in the hospital has not been entertaining or enjoyable, yet God has allowed for me to experience His word. This is a blessing that words cannot begin to describe. "40 days" has been a milestone for this hospital stay of mine. I have greatly experienced God's words during my moments of pain. I also firmly believe that God's words are not just revealed during our seasons of pain and anguish but they also emerge during our seasons of peace and tranquility. May we treasure each day, may we open our hearts to follow the precious guidance of God's word and may we continue daily the journey of our lives.
Rev. Kelvin Li
May 23, 2008