Hmm. . . taking the Word like medicine. . . The next day’s morning routine went slower than usual. I still itched, though not as much. Dizziness forced me to sit down in between feeding Barny, brewing chamomile tea, giving Barny his morning catnip, brushing him, and morning devotions.
“Oh well, Barn,” I said as I stroked the sleek mink-colored fur along his sides, “Maybe it’s the blood pressure. Maybe it is just too low. Should I try some caffeine?”
I picked him up, held him close, and nuzzled my face into the cream-colored fur of his neck, breathing in the clean, animal smell.
“Yowww,” was his soft reply. I placed him gently on the floor and walked, slowly, to the rocker by the window.
After morning devotions, which included skimming “God’s Medicine Bottle”, I sat at the computer and resumed proof-reading “Affliction, God’s Loving Chastening.” With decades of office experience typing medical dictation, proof-reading letters, memos and reports my supervisors had written, then a few years writing minutes for the Board of County Commissioners and proofing my own minutes as well as those of other recording secretaries, and finally, after five years of evening classes, writing, editing and proofing my own emails, reports, and articles in professional journals, I could proof-read on automatic pilot, leaving my mind fairly free to think.
So, as I whacked an occasional unnecessary word here and deleted an extra space there in my little manuscript, I pondered. And I asked God, ““Lord, what does ‘taking Your Word like medicine’ mean for me, personally? How am I to do that? I paused. “Well. I know You used Your Word to heal my heart of depression and fear, so maybe the process of physical healing is similar?”
Healing began with getting the Word into my mind and heart. “Okay, Lord. I know healing started when I began doing two things. One, diligently studying your Word, for myself, in my areas of personal need, and, two, when I began memorizing those verses that You highlighted for me as I studied.
Healing through diligent study of the Word. I kept thinking about how God had changed my approach to and attitude about the Word the previous year, 2019, when so much healing had happened. Although I had studied my Bible diligently, actually frantically, as a new believer there were seasons when my passion for the Word dimmed. Periodically, for a few years at a time, I put the Word higher in my priorities but never like I had as a spiritual newborn. The last five years or so I had read and studied the Word less and less, compared to previous times. As for meditation, that had been shallow and sporadic, throughout my life.
I prayed, “Forgive me, Lord, oh forgive me! And thank You for using the depression and fear to show me that I live only by every Word that comes out of Your mouth, Lord, as You say in Deuteronomy 8:3, not by things of this world. Oh, how I regret not listening to You, Holy Spirit! Thank You for Your patience.”
“Thank You, Lord, for all those winter and spring mornings last year, when I first began sitting at the desk, taking notes, like I was in school again. It felt so lonely, with both grandchildren in school, but as I sat with You, morning sunshine slanting through the blinds, You led me to look up verses on fear and courage and peace and worry and fretting and Your love and care and provision and protection. You led me to read the whole chapters those verses were in, to look up cross references, and take notes like I was studying for a final exam. Thank You, Lord, for teaching me how to feast from the meat of the Word directly like that, rather than being fed by others. Thank You for helping me do my best to correctly handle the Word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15.)
I paused and sat very still as I pondered upon the second way His word had healed my spirit and soul of depression and anxiety, by hiding the Word in my heart. (Psalm 119:11)
Healing through Memorizing. ”You remember, Lord! With Your help, and Your Spirit giving me the desire to do it (Phillippians 2:13), we memorized verses about peace, like Isaiah 26:3, and verses where You promised to take care of and be close to Your children, like Genesis 28:15 and Isaiah 41:10. I copied the verses by hand, using the Amplified Bible, and I carried those pages of Scripture everywhere, each day, wherever I went, as one carries a lucky charm, almost frantically pulling them out while standing in line at the grocery, while riding the recumbent cycle at the gym – any time my mind was not engaged in some task or conversation – because when I pondered Your Word, I had peace. But when my mind was idle, fear and viscous self-criticism flooded in.
“It took many weeks to memorize our basic arsenal of Scriptures, but through that I know You did indeed make my mind new, Lord, because I think and feel and act differently. Keeping Your Word in my mind changed me into a new person by changing the way I think, like You tell us in Romans 12:1-3.
“I know, Lord, that keeping Your Word in my mind so many hours of the day as I worked to memorize was a big factor in Your making my mind new.” Then I thought about meditation.
Healing through Meditating. “Lord, memorizing from the Amplified was a form of meditating, wasn’t it? Or at least a good start?” I knew meditating meant to roll an idea over and over in your mind, to reflect upon it, and to ruminate upon it, to work on that piece of the Bread of Life as a cow works on its food, to mash and tear and grind and analyze, then let it rest and do it all over until it is broken down small enough so the body can absorb it. Maybe repeating verses phrase by phrase, over and over was one way of breaking down the Bread into small enough pieces so my mind could absorb it, just as a cow chewed and crushed her food until her body could absorb it!
“Wow, Lord! I was taking Your Word like medicine, just like You told Derek to do! I was giving Your Word my undivided, diligent attention, desperation did give me an open, believing heart, and I did keep Your Words in the middle of my life, all day long, as a shield against the arrows of fear and sadness and hopelessness. That was why Your Word penetrated and did its healing work!
“Was that the “secret”, Lord, of how You healed my mind and emotions of depression? Had I, unknowingly, done it right? I had studied as hard as I could to understand Your teachings, then I had been meditating on them while I memorized them, and—Wow!!– they had penetrated my heart because all that time I was “whetting and sharpening them”, just like You tell us to do in Deuteronomy 6:7.
“Did healing come because Your Word pierced the depths of my heart, because it penetrated to “. . . the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal spirit], and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature]” (Hebrews 4:12, AMPC). Derek Prince said Your Word penetrates when a surgeon’s scalpel and a counselor’s words fail. Like a surgeon’s sharp scalpel penetrates flesh and bone, is that how the sharpened sword of Your Word penetrates to where our soul and spirit meet, to our innermost being?
As I sat in my chair, hands frozen on the keyboard, hindsight said that for most of my walk with God, in regard to His command to meditate on the Word daily, I had been like the man in James who, though hearing the Word and seeing what he looks like, as in a mirror, goes away and immediately forgets. Over the years, Holy Spirit had gently reminded me that I was not meditating and had done so only briefly when a new believer. However, fully as prideful as King Saul, I had not listened to God and had persisted in my own way, reading several chapters a day, studying sporadically, and feeling that was okay or good enough.
I kept sitting quietly, tilting the chair back and forth with one foot on the floor, listening, waiting for more thoughts from the Lord. The fan whirred, cool air blew on my neck as the air conditioner ka-plunked on. Barny stood up and yawned, revealing pink gums and that tiny, pale pink, sandpaper tongue. I rubbed my thumb and index finger together, waiting in the silence.
Is this how meditation works? “Hmm,” I reflected. ”I need to look at that verse, not just repeat it in my mind.” I opened my Amplified to Hebrews 4:12,
“For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and the [immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.” (AMPC)
“Ok Lord, I sense there is something more here about penetrating our heart that I do not see yet. Let’s break that down, phrase by phrase. . . so, if we sharpen Your Word by meditating on it (Deuteronomy 6:7, AMPC), then it will separate, or split asunder as the King James puts it, our soul and spirit AND it also separates our joints and marrow, the deepest parts of our nature. Then it exposes, sifts, analyzes and judges our heart. So, Your Word penetrates to the dividing line between:
- the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit
- Your Word also penetrates between joints and marrow (which are the deepest parts of our nature),
- and Your Word exposes, sifts, analyzes, and judges the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.
So, for example, when I was deeply depressed, my soul would have been thinking “There is no hope for me. This will never change. No one can fix my messed up heart and life. God is disappointed in me because I have gotten depressed again.”
But, after weeks of reading, and speaking, and thinking what Your Word says about these things, Your Word got all the way through, divided my soul and spirit, then did those four things. Your Word, alive in my innermost being:
- exposed the darkness,
- sifted out the lies, as a gardener sifts rocks out of soil or a baker sifts lumps out of floor,
- analyzed, or examined in detail, my soul and spirit, and
- judged the thoughts and purposes in my heart.
Hmmm, how did the Word judge? A judge in a courtroom hears and examines evidence, then declares a person guilty or innocent and sets them free or sends them to jail. When I judge something I call it good or bad and then, if I have the authority, I throw out the bad and keep the good, like picking through cracked pecans or walnuts.
So! Your Word in my heart exposed, sifted, analyzed and then judged the lies the enemy had planted for what they are, and banished them by replacing them with Truth.
- Where I had thought “There is no hope for me”, the truth of Your Word in my heart judged that a lie, and Jeremiah 29:11 told me You had good plans for me, including a future and a hope.
- Where I had thought. “No one can fix my messed up heart and life,” the truth of Your Word in my heart judged that a lie, and Isaiah 41:10 told me not to be afraid because You are my God and You will strengthen and help me and hold me up.
- Where I had thought You were disappointed and mad with me because I was depressed again, Your Word in my heart judged that a lie, and Psalm 103 told me You loved me as high as the heavens are above the earth and that You had compassion on me, just as a father has compassion on his children.
I had known those verses but had not sharpened them by meditation, so they were, in my hands, a dull blade, an ineffective sword that did not penetrate to the dividing line of soul and spirit. But, diligent study, memorization, and meditation sharpened them for me personally so that they did indeed penetrate, like a scalpel, to the root of the lies that had caused depression and fear and had cut them out.
That was how the Word had healed depression and fear. Truth had set me free and as I kept the Word in my heart it had kept me free and enabled me to walk and live in truth so that gradually my habitual attitude was hopeful, peaceful, and confident that God would help me rebuild our life, and I felt deeply loved all “just” by hearing and believing the Truth.
I stared out the window a long time, simply thanking God for the healing and for helping me understand, at least partly, how the Word worked healing in the heart.
“Thank You, Lord, I understand emotional and mental healing better now, but what about physical healing? How do I take Your Word like medicine for that? And please help with this dizziness. I think it is getting worse. I love You, Lord, and I trust You. Thank You that You have done such a healing in my heart and blessed me in countless ways. Help me honor You in all things. You are so good to me, Father! I love You!”