After the long drive out here to West Virginia, and some time trout fishing, it was apparent to me that I needed a little time in the famous Greenbrier spa. This place has been around since 1778 and became famous for the properties of what many people thought were healing waters. The truth is that the underground white sulphur springs, after which the town was named, provide some remarkable relief for people with arthritis and other kinds of muscular or joint problems.
There were also towns that had blue sulphur, green and several other colors as well and depending on what ailed you, doctors prescribed a certain order of treatment to “partake of the waters” and cure your particular malady. Since treatments sometimes took several weeks or longer, the resort was built and the spa areas became favorite destinations of the wealthy and privileged people, particularly from the northeast part of the country.
There are other areas of the country that have waters with similar healing properties – such as French Lick, Indiana and also the famous West Baden Springs down the road from the French Lick Resort in southern Indiana. Admittedly, I was a skeptic at first when it came to the properties of the sulphur water, but I am now a firm believer in how much a hot sulphur soak can relieve the pain in my lower back.
So Tuesday afternoon, Janet and I headed down to spend a little time at the Greenbrier Spa – I always look forward to our visits there. I know most of the attendants in the locker area and I had the good fortune to have Robbie make sure that my visit met the spa standards. I asked for some time in the hot sulphur soak to relieve my back discomfort and soon I was led back to a private room to relax and work out the kinks.
I reached down to feel the temperature of the water and let Robbie know that I didn’t think it was warm enough – I asked him to add some hot water and raise the temperature. Then, before he even had a chance to turn on the water, I stepped in and thought I was on fire. I couldn’t believe how hot the soak was. Needless to say, I asked him to forget about heating up the water – I wouldn’t be needing that.
Casually, Robbie told me that, “your hands must have lied to your feet…” I almost laughed out loud. There was something so simple yet so true about his words. That is exactly what happened. I trusted my hands to make the decision about temperature and I was wrong. Who would have thought that I couldn’t trust my own senses. The water was much hotter than I remember or thought I would enjoy. He went on to explain that our hands are exposed to more temperature variations than any part of our bodies and they become desensitized – not necessarily a good indicator of what we would really enjoy. How right he was!
Of course, you know that I am heading to a theological topic here. If you can’t even trust your own senses, your own sense of touch, what can you trust? In fact, how do I know that the yearnings I have are for God? What if I put my trust in something that falls short of the glory of God? How do I know for sure that I am choosing God instead of something evil?
The answer, as strange as it seems, is quite simple. The apostle John, way back in the first century, let people know that believing in the deity of Jesus was the test for believing the teaching of others. Satan wants to be our god, but always falls short. And, the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf when we are so disoriented or troubled that we don’t even know what to pray for. How great is that! So, pray that God would reveal Himself to you and that he would protect you from evil. You can then be assured that your trust in Jesus is well founded – and realize that Satan will try to challenge your decision at every turn. So stay committed to Jesus – He is the only way to be sure of your eternal salvation.
Our verse for this evening highlights the words of Paul to the Corinthians as he discusses tests of faith. Paul tells us, in 2 Corinthians 13:5-7, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong. Not that people will see that we have stood the test but that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed.”
My encouragement this evening is that God wants us to trust and believe in Him – even when we can’t believe our own senses. My prayer is that you will examine your faith and test yourself to make sure that you are solidly planted in the family of God – and that your faith will be hot – even hotter than the sulphur soak at the Greenbrier. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…