Lord's Day Liturgy

When You Don’t Have a Name

So far in this little series of exhortations I’ve found analogies in pinched nerves, loose joints, broken bones, blood loss, and cancer. If I haven’t talked about your line of aches and pains, it’s not because I don’t care, I’ve just focused more on some of the things I’ve had to learn about. These aren’t my only personal connections; I could have talked about torn ligaments, tonsillectomies, Costochondritis, acid reflux/fundoplication, and migraines. But one thing these all have in common is that they can be diagnosed; they have a name.

I can’t think of anyone I’ve ever talked to who was more glad to not know what was wrong with them. As in, they were having serious, painful, possibly disabling sort of symptoms that caused them to seek medical help, but were happy to hear their doctor say it was just a mystery. Chronic is one kind of bad, obscure is a second bad on top of the already bad. Remember the woman who touched Jesus’ garment who had spent all her money for twelve years on doctors who didn’t heal her (Mark 5:25-34)? Yet as bad as her hemorrhaging was, she wasn’t questioning her condition.

What do you do when you know that something is wrong but you’re not sure what is the “that”? How do you fight an enemy you can’t name? What you must not do is nothing. Trying to get an answer may be frustrating, but sitting in silent sadness is frustrating and futile.

There’s a principle of interpreting the Bible called analogia Scriptura which means “analogy of Scripture,” or interpreting the hard passages in light of the move obvious passages. Perhaps we could also apply analogia sanitatis, the “analogy of health,” let the clear parts of what makes for health help set a context for the confusing parts.

What if something is wrong in your soul? (And of course soul and body work together, but for the moment focus on the soul side.) David wrote, “Who can discern his errors?” (Psalm 19:12) And what about “hidden faults” (also verse 12)? Well, these concerns come after the celebration that the law of the LORD revives the soul and the precepts of the LORD rejoice the heart (see all of Psalm 19:7-9). Don’t forget what you do know, don’t stop doing what you can do. Confess the sins you are convicted about. Pray for wisdom. Read and reread and mediate on God’s Word. And when you still don’t have clarity, “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14).