Did You Test Negative?

Jen’s Gem: God’s mercy endures forever.

Earlier this week, I landed at my local urgent care facility with a sore throat, body aches, and an overall “bleh” feeling in my body. After eighteen trillion swabs collected specimens for every test known to man, I left with a prescription for an antibiotic.

The rapid test results were all negative but the doctor advised to do cultures  as sometimes the quick tests are not accurate. “Go for it” was my response. I was just happy to get the medicine and be on the road to recovery.

Each day, a new test result came to my email box: negative. When I spoke with the doctor in a virtual follow up visit, she confirmed the results and noted that a pesky (and I mean pesky) sinus infection was the cause of my fever, chills, lethargy, and “bleh-ness.” The medicine I was taking would be sufficient to knock this bad boy out of my body and she urged me to finish the entire bottle of the pink horse pills.

Sometimes things are not what they seem. Sometimes lies appear as truth. While all of the tests came back negative, there was no doubt that something was going on. There was something lurking underneath that defied detection to the naked eye but yet was in full view to anyone who would be willing to look deeper.

I have to wonder if this doesn’t also apply under normal circumstances. Is someone’s smile genuine or is it to cover up deep pain? Is someone’s quietness due to being shy or are they fighting a battle we know nothing about?

Would it not serve us well to look beyond the external so that we can discover the root cause of the pain and perhaps do our part to eliminate or reduce it?

When my children were babies and were crying, I went down the list of typical causes: Do they need a new diaper? Are they hungry? Are they tired? If all of these “tests” came back negative, I had to regroup and look beyond. Perhaps they were overstimulated and simply needed some quiet time. Maybe a tag in their clothing was irritating their skin.

My point is – I did not give up. I kept seeking until I found the problem and attempted to solve it because I loved my children and didn’t want them to be in pain.

As Jesus went about His ministry, He also looked beyond the externals of the people who came to Him for healing.

When He came upon the man at the pool by Bethesda, He asked him “Do you want to be well?” A fair question since the man had been sitting by this pool of water for decades blaming his circumstances for his lack of healing. (Read the full story.)

When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well who was visibly upset about being outcast by her village, Jesus asked about her husband. The woman replied she had none and Jesus responded with “Yeah – I know. You’ve had like five and the one you are with now is not your husband. (Read the full story.)

Jesus knew how to look beyond the visible and see the invisible. For it is the invisible that is

 the root of our trials. One cannot see a broken heart but can hear the nasty words that spew out the mouths of the broken hearted. One can’t see the fear of abandonment, but can feel the neediness and insecurity of one who has been abandoned.

Throughout Jesus’ ministry, never once did He make the person feel bad or guilty for their indiscretion or ailment. In fact Jesus said, “I have not come to condemn the world, but to save it.”

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:17 NKJV)

Thank goodness for this, yes? Thank goodness for God’s mercy and forgiveness! Thank goodness for His grace. We want all of these blessings to be extended to us when we fall short, yet how often do we extend them to others? Are they not deserving?

I don’t know the root cause of the “slap that was heard around the world,” but I can tell you that there is one. Things are never as they seem on the outside. We live in a world of false negatives. When we can look beyond the test results and get to the root, healing can begin.

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45 NKJV)

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