Night Whispers - February 4

Night Whispers Devotional

February 04th

Dream word – FOCUE

John 8:29

“And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” NKJV

A man with his wholeness wholly attending

I am re-reading again, one of my favourite books of all time, which is, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and other clinical tales, by Oliver Sacks. Apart from being a genius of a man and a most engaging writer, I have consistently found his clinical neurological analyses to contain profound spiritual and pastoral content.

In part four of his book entitled The World of The Simple, in section 22, he recounts the story of Martin A, a 61 year old “idiot savant” or known more appropriately today as an “autistic savant” who was admitted late in life to Sack’s hospital, with Parkinson’s disease. Whilst in infancy, Martin also had near fatal meningitis causing retardation, impulsiveness, seizures and some spasticity on one side. Nevertheless, because Martin’s father was a famous singer at New York’s Metropolitan opera, Martin consequently had amazing musical gifts, musical sensibilities and an eidetic, photographic, vivid and total recall, musical memory!

When Martin entered the hospital he regressed into the form of a dirty, belligerent and snotty child. Consequently no one liked him and his nurses knew that he was in fact killing himself, as something seemed to be gnawing away inside of him, even eating him to death. Eventually Martin blurted out the reason for his sad and forthcoming demise saying, “I’ve got to sing, I can’t live without it, and it’s not just the music, I can’t pray without it. Music to Bach, was the apparatus of worship. I’ve never spent a Sunday without going to church, without singing in the choir. I first went there with my father when I was old enough to walk, and I continued going after his death. I’ve got to go! It’ll kill me if I don’t.”

Sacks ensured that Martin was at church, singing in the choir every Sunday thereafter. Sacks writes that Martin “Became a different man...recovered himself, recollected himself, became real again. The pseudo persons–the stigmatised, the snotty, spitting boy, disappeared; as did the irritating, emotionless, impersonal eidetic. The real person re-appeared, a dignified, decent man, respected and valued now by other residents. But the marvel, the real marvel, was to see Martin when he was actually singing, or in communion with music-listening with an intentness that verged on rapture - ‘a man in his wholeness wholly attending.’ Martin was, in a word, transformed. All that was defective or pathological fell away, and one saw only absorption and animation, wholeness and health.”

Oh to have the ability, the capacity, the opportunity, to be “people in our wholeness, wholly attending.” There is a glimpse of heaven in that phrase. There is a sniff of what is to come, the enjoyment and focus of being, without any destructive distractions. The pain we see in those we love, evil expressed in the world in our world, need, want, unfulfilled desire, the daily mocking of often years of particular prayers still remaining unanswered, yes, it is these kind of destructive distractions, that rob most Christians of their focused wholeness. Is a savant sickness the only way for us to become so enraptured?

I think we need a “fool for Christ,”  kind of servant sickness to help us in our focus. Let us discover the Father's desire for us, in gifting, in providential opportunity, in sacrifice and satisfaction. Let us then pursue it with all our might and in the so doing pursue Him our Lord, as His most willing servants. He must become our focus, our pleasure, our delight. I am convinced that it is only when we have such a servant’s sickness, that we shall become a people in their wholeness, wholly attending. It’s worth contemplating. It’s worth trying. Don’t you think?

Listen: “No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things.” - 2 Timothy 2:4-7 NKJV

Pray: Father, remove far from me all my busy work and help me to be truly focused, even a man, in his wholeness, wholly attending. In Jesus name I ask it, amen!

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