Although I came home from the hospital on November 5, my ten-day stay weakened me so much that I am just beginning to regain my ability to type. My diagnosis was initially anemia and malnutrition, but during my stay I developed a blood infection. I returned home with a Hickman port, which allows visiting nurses to give me daily IV antibiotics.
But let’s not make this article another update on my health, okay? I do appreciate your prayers during my absence, and I want to assure you that I am doing better. At the same time, I prefer to focus this post on something the Lord taught me while I was in that hospital bed.
Lying in that hospital bed, I felt vulnerable. Some nurses made the effort to understand my speech (a speech defect is a scary thing); others couldn’t be bothered. Some argued when I told them that their usual protocol didn’t work with my particular disability. The emotional toll of fear and frustration added to the exhaustion of the anemia.
And most of my room mates kept their TV on all night. As a result, I hardly slept that entire ten days.
So I absolutely hated being hospitalized! I struggled to pray with the maturity of Paul, instead imitating King David’s many demanding psalms begging for immediate release from the trial. Yes, I was all too aware of my spiritual immaturity, sisters — and I quite honestly didn’t care as much that as I should have. I just wanted to be home with John!
As I pleaded with God to get me out of that place, I noticed myself wanting to speak in tongues. That desire puzzled me, since I renounced my Charismatic theology and practices 30 years ago. What, I wondered, suddenly made me yearn to speak in tongues?
Analyzing my urge to speak in tongues distracted me somewhat from my self-pity. That was probably a good thing.
I thought back to my 18 years as a Charism remembering how I used tongues in my prayer life. True, I usually included tongues in my nightly prayer time, but I especially used them when I really wanted God to move on my behalf. It seems now that I thought speaking in tongues would change His will to conform to mine. Thus, the returning feeling that God would respond to me if I spoke in tongues offered a beguiling hope that I could convince the Lord to send me home.
Maybe some Charismatics don’t use tongues in such a manipulative way. I suspect otherwise, but I don’t know their hearts. I only know that I certainly did use tongues for such selfish purposes. And that realization shocked me!
It shouldn’t have.
The more I thought about using tongues to manipulate God, the more I related the practice to magic incantations. By using the secret language presumably conferred on me by the “Spirit,” I fancied that I could maneuver God into giving me what I wanted. What a terrible perversion of submission to Him as Lord!
Thankfully, the temptation to speak in tongues was mitigated by the fact that, after 30 years, I’ve forgotten my supposed prayer language. Praise God for His provision! Obviously, He released me to return home in His timing.
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