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The Scale at the Doctor’s Office

The Scale at the Doctor’s Office

I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered. Genesis 32:30

Even I hate the scale at the doctor’s office – and I’m a doctor. I can fool myself for a while, avoiding my scale at home. When I go to my doctor’s office though, they want to check my weight. There, in the office, the truth that I’ve been hiding from, is dragged into the light, bringing me face to face with a painful reality. I need to lose weight. To lose weight though, I must first acknowledge that reality. The stupid thing is that I want to lose weight, so maybe I should go to my doctor, face that reality, and do something about it. Change is really hard though and if I just ignore the problem, avoiding the doctor’s scale, then maybe I can avoid the pain of transformation.

I did the same thing in my addiction. I knew I needed radical change, and I knew I desperately needed God to find that change. Still, looking God in the face was terribly painful because it exposed all my flaws. I also had a good idea of how much misery it would require to find recovery. In the moment, it was just easier to continue using drugs. While using, if I could turn myself from God, then I could ignore his piercing gaze and the miserable reality that was my life. I wanted to get sober so I should have turned immediately to faith. My shame, guilt, and fear of change though, kept me from that which I needed most.

In today’s passage, Jacob met God face to face and was transformed, illustrating my point. Previously, Jacob had been a lying swindler, tricking his brother Esau and deceiving his father for selfish gain. In fear of Esau’s wrath, he ran from home, staying away for 20 years until God commanded him to go back. On the way, Jacob feared what Esau might do to him. God promised to protect him, but still, Jacob was terrified. So, one night, Jacob had it out with God, literally wrestling with him. It’s a strange story, but in the end, Jacob faced God, faced himself, and walked away a changed man. My life has been delivered.

Many of us find ourselves in that place where we’d rather not look at God. We know we need change, but, like the doctor’s office scale, we’d rather just dodge certain painful realities. So, we avoid God, and we remain stuck. If we truly desire transformation though, then we must daily seek God’s face, accepting some uncomfortable truths about ourselves. Avoiding the scale doesn’t make us healthy, it just makes us ignorant and blind.

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