Saturday, May 31, 2014

A Robe of Righteousness

It was recently brought to my attention that it's been several months since I've posted anything so I thought it was time to take a break from the other writing I've been doing to capture a thought or two here. The first idea that came to mind was of a recent doctor visit I had been putting off. I know it's common to put off the doctor - there are a million excuses for us to justify how it's really not that bad or there just isn't time, so you're probably not judging me...yet.

The warmer weather forced my hand because I basically refuse to wear closed toe shoes from April through October (even when it's snowing outside which it did several times in both April AND May)! I got tired of explaining what was wrong with my right foot, which has been swollen and had a rash across the top and through my toes on and off for the better part of...a year.

There I admitted it. And keep your lectures to yourself because I finally went to the dermatologist. Plus, in my defense, I DID see a regular doctor last year and got treatment. It just didn't work.

It had been awhile since I'd been to a dermatologist so I just picked the one my Dad has been seeing. Seems logical since I inherited his Irish skin instead of my mother's beautiful olive color complexion. I had casually mentioned I might have them do a scan for spots and moles since I'm of that age when you are supposed to be worried about skin cancer. My plan was to arrange for that on a follow up visit. It had taken me nearly a year to get there for the foot. I was pacing myself.

When the doctor came in I remembered my Dad telling me he is Russian and thought I would break the ice by actually speaking some. I studied the language for four years in high school and I have a good six or seven phrases left in my pocket some 30 years later. He was pleasantly surprised by my ability and proceeded to answer my questions with many words no longer in my vocabulary. Fortunately he reverted to English to explain how an assistant was going to take a sample of my rash to test it and not to be worried, the scraping shouldn't hurt. It actually felt like a good scratch for my itch. Then he told me while we were waiting for the results I might as well have a full body check for moles and patches. He explained that someone would be by to drop off a robe momentarily and then left the room before witnessing my eye roll. The voices in my head went into hyper-drive.

Not the robe! I've gained a ton of weight and this fit Slavic man is going to see how out of shape I am. And, wait...oh no! What underwear did I put on today? Oh this can't be happening. I bet the robe won't even cover me...

On and on it went. I dutifully changed and then realized I did not have to be the victim of a horribly embarrassing experience so I prayed for peace and started talking to God about how I didn't want to wear the robe. Then I remembered how Jesus had to wear a robe, but his was way worse than the one they had brought me. They gave him a scarlet robe and a crown of thorns and mocked him on his way to the cross. Then I thought of Hebrews 4:15 and how Jesus is our great High Priest who can sympathize with us in our weaknesses because he was tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sin. Nobody has compassion for you like someone who has walked in your shoes. Instead of being embarrassed about wearing the robe, I was now focused on the humiliation my savior had endured for my sake. I immediately felt better. The Bible talks about sharing in Christ's sufferings and I thought "If I can't deal with one doctor helping to keep me healthy by taking a quick glance beneath a flimsy robe, then I am far too self-conscious and need to get over myself."

Imagine my relief when a female doctor came in and explained she would be doing the full body check.

It was over in a few short minutes and she found nothing of concern. More relief washed over me.

I left with a new ointment for my foot rash that has been working well so far and an overwhelming gratitude for the Lord's patience, presence and power in my life.

"I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels." Isaiah 61:10