Tests, Tests, Tests

     testsMost of my family, friends and church people know that my wife lounged around in a hospital bed for a week. It has been a pretty hard way to start the year. One of the features of your stay was testing. She had blood tests. xrays, breathing, EKGs, ultrasounds, and CAT scans that I am aware of. {She is probably a quart low and has a gentle glow in the dark.} The results of all those tests? "Uh, maybe she has . . ." Maybe! Really! That is your best. We have seen a dozen (literally) different doctors, each with their favorite test, and their best guess. And the guesses are not the same. It is not that they are bad doctors, it is the nature of testing.

Medical testing is not an exact science to be sure. There are numbers, yes. But then there is the interpretation of the numbers. What do they mean? What do they indicate? Experience, what we see with our eyes, patient history, how one feels, and a whole bunch more goes into deciding what the test is telling us. When all is said and done, perscriptions were written, based on what interpretation was made. Thus we have had half a dozen antibiotics, two different antinausea meds, and several steroids, not to mention a variety of creams. Add to that ice bags and we survivied the week. I say "we" but "she" would be more approriate.

As I think about my walk, our walk, there is a similarity in how we handle God's Word, and the information it provides us. Because the Bible is made up of story, poem, parable, prophecy, and history, it takes interpreting. Parts are written to specific people for specific reasons and we must decide what, if any, part of that might apply to us. Sometime our life experience affects our interpretation. As an example, most of us want to identify with the Prodical Son in Jesus' parable. In reality, most of us are more like the elder brother than we would ever want to admit. So as a believer, I am left with best guesses. They can be very good guesses. When I was young and raising my children parts of God's Word were very meaningful and vital. Now that I am older, different parts are touching my life and guiding my path.

This all leads me to two conclusions. First, as I make my journey I need to write my life lessons in pencil. I am often entertain by political discussion around election time. "Flip-Flop" is interesting to me. I know I have change my mind and position on a number of issues over the years. Why can't a politician? And if he or she does, does that disquality them, or make them more qualified? I think the latter (so long and the flop to my point of view). I want and need to be open to God's teaching me new understandings of His ways and Word. Heaven forbid, I might have been wrong when I was 29.

The second conclusion is that I need to allow others the freedom of their own interpretation. Just because someone doesn't come to the same conclusion as I do, does not mean that I have to dismiss them or hate them. There are some key things that are critical to Christian faith. Without them, it is not Christian. I am never sure what to call it, but it cannot be Christian. That list is not as large as we, as I, sometimes like to think it is. I know what I believe (today) and why I believe it (now), but that does not make me the expert. There is only one infallible and that is God, not me. I may not agree, or appreciate another interpretation, but I need to withhold judgment. And lest you think I am a "whatever you want to think" kind of guy, I am not. I am more than willing to explain what I think and why I think it, with the goal of changing your mind and not just informing you.

So here we go through our jouney, testing. Testing what I believe against what someone else believes, against time, against myself. And in the end, I hope and pray that I have more right than wrong. I have no doubt that I have some of it wrong. But again, I hope and pray I have most of it right. One day we shall see. And that is the only tester that really matters.

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