There is a blending of the natural and the spiritual going on in my life these days. When I get to the heart of the matter, all this blending is for one purpose only: to become unblended. Separated, singular, and set apart for Christ alone.
Today, on a quiet Sunday morning, I was reading in I Corinthians 15. I like the Apostle Paul; we have things in common. No, I wasn’t going around killing Christians for the merriment of it! But like Paul, I too received a Holy Spirit wake-up call, my blind eyes were opened, and I saw my Redeemer with new sight. And I saw me. I have been becoming unblended ever since…
Back to I Corinthians 15 – Paul, being the teacher that he is, caught my attention with his words in verse 46: “The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.” Do you know how many times the LORD uses things in the natural to be evidence for what He is carrying out in the realm of the Spirit? (No guesstimate necessary…I’m quite sure we couldn’t even begin to number the times!) Case in point:
It’s been three weeks since I began my chemotherapy treatments. Tomorrow morning the second of four chemo rounds will be administered on its tri-weekly schedule. Not for a second do I forget that the drugs going into my body rhyme with ‘poison,’ though blended by my oncologist with a precision that makes me really thankful he excelled in chemistry. In a natural sense, he is practicing the art of the apothecary, blending within stringent guidelines the exact dosage I am to receive to chase down and kill any errant cancer cell wannabe’s lurking elsewhere in my five foot three frame.
Yet at the same time, I am acutely aware there is a spiritual counterpart to the physical treatments my body is undergoing. In biblical times, the apothecary’s art was conducted by one known as ‘the perfumer.’ He blended and prepared specially selected spices into aromatic ointments, or an unguent – a soothing, healing salve. The most sacred of such ointments was the holy anointing oil described in Exodus 30:25 KJV – And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil.
It was to be used for anointing the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Testimony, all the named articles within, as well as the High Priest, Aaron (Moses’ brother) and his sons so they might minister to the LORD, consecrated and purified in the office of the priest.
The One who gave the detailed recipe back in the age of The Exodus is still performing the work of ‘The Perfumer’ today. I am dependent on Him to counteract the effects of the chemo drugs. And there is settled in me a trust that He is doing just that. What I am going through has first passed through His hands, and His hands are healing hands that bind up, revive, renew, restore, and regenerate. There is a knowing deep inside that, for me, my going through chemotherapy is a natural depiction of an inner re-networking of so many things – spirit, soul, and body. I’m being reformed. What can I say? I’m in the best Hands possible, and so, by the way, is my oncologist.
When I knew my hair was going to be shaved off last Wednesday (several days before I studied the Exodus passage tonight), I asked the Lord to massage my head with His oil of joy, to rub it in good, to anoint me with such excess that it would run down from the top of my bald head to the soles of my feet, and flow over everything in between.
In the natural, I am still in the ‘take away’ mode of this journey. Body bit by soul bit I am being reduced and things I once had are now gone. But the beautiful part is that things I once did not have I now do. They are the priceless things that only can be gained from sitting in the secret place with the Most High. It is there in His shadow that all things are made new as the oil of the Spirit begins to run into all the cracks and crevices – soothing, healing, and consecrating me for His use and function.
It’s what all ‘Wellsprings’ need in order to be ‘well springs.’
As for you, dear Wellspring…might it be time to invite the art of the apothecary into those areas in need of His healing ointment? ‘The Perfumer’ is only a heartfelt, spoken invitation away.
Anointed and appointed to bear much fruit…
By the way, I can say with assurance as the Psalmist did, “You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” (Psalm 23:5) The ‘big shave’ was actually a time of laughter and photo taking. Only my wonderful Perfumer could orchestrate such an occasion!