When I began this 31 day series of blog posts this month, I made a list of ideas for the 31 posts. I’ve used many of the ideas so far. But what has surprised me a bit is the direction that some of my posts have taken. I hadn’t really planned on writing some of them, they just sort of … happened, kind of like how life happens. When life happens, as it surely has been happening, then I write about it. Like “relevant“, for example (yesterday’s post), and also today’s post, which is called “Open”.

“Open” wasn’t on my original list. The word never occurred to me, until today. But, it is what I think I should write about today.

This morning I awoke about 4 a.m. to catch a 7 a.m. fight to another city 850 miles away. My father was not well, so I had to be “open” to the idea of, first, him not doing so well, and second, considering how I was going to be involved. I decided to come and visit.

Yesterday, he had a heart cath, and they found an 80% blockage in an artery on the left side of his heart. The doctors put in a stent and a balloon, and now the artery is open, allowing blood to flow freely. He was discharged today and is at home now. I am also here. My older son also came with me, and my brother is visiting, too. My sister left earlier today.

The clogged artery had to be “opened” to allow the blood to flow through. It turns out he has high blood pressure and will need to keep it under control. Now his heart is getting the blood supply it needs.

That is why today I am contemplating the word “open” and the ramifications of that word in my life… or, in a life.

The physical heart situation has me pondering the spiritual heart situation.

Am I open to God’s teaching, leading, working in my life? If I’m not, there is a clogged artery, and pressure is building, and love and life aren’t flowing.

Sometimes, we want to stand in the way of what God wants to do in us or in those around us. We think we know better than God, and hinder His work and purpose.

In order for His kingdom love to flow, the arteries need to be open. And friend, you and I are like arteries, which when open, are a flowing a life-force when we love people around us.

But sadly too many arteries are clogged. They need stents or surgery to open them up.

And yet, other arteries are too full of themselves to be a vessel for anything else (think “Pharisee”, “pride”, “self-righteousness”… the list could go on). Pride leads to disease (too much of the self). Unfortunately, like the Pharisees, this disease is often not recognized until it is too late, or not acknowledged at all. It’s so easy to see the spots in others’ eyes, but not in our own.

Should I wait for an “emergency” before going to God or should I already be in the midst of a conversation with Him? I’ve learned from reading Oswald Chambers that a crisis will reveal what is already in us… if the roots haven’t been growing, it will show during the difficulty.

Thus, the time to prepare for a crisis is before it happens… which, in my thinking, means we should constantly be in preparation for it. Not in a negative way, as if to be pessimistic, and with a fatalistic attitude, but simply to know that “in this life you will have trials, but take heart: I have overcome the world.”  (John 16:33) Jesus tells us that trials will  most definitely be part of our life, but we are not to live defeated and downcast by that knowledge and fact. Should we (gulp) perhaps be… “open” to them….?

Yet, on the other hand, many vessels are open, pouring forth a life-giving force. What a blessing to be in the midst of someone whose arteries are not clogged. It energizes, encourages, builds up. Just like the blood that flows through arteries in our heart and offers oxygen to all parts of the body, open arteries also can offer spiritual oxygen to others.

I know I’ve got clogs, have had blockages, and will continue to be in need of regular checkups. If we are honest, we all know we do, in some area or another. We aren’t perfect vessels. But the closer we are to the Father, and allow Him to do what may sometimes be a painful work of opening the artery, the greater His love will flow.

Being open first starts with being open before God… an honest outpouring before God. Once we are free and secure and open with Him, we can be open around others. It should be like this: if anyone bumps into us, out will splurt the Love from free-flowing arteries, connected to the Father.

Well, at least that’s one way to picture all of this.

Without full openness before God, our spiritual lives are hampered. And since our spiritual life is the center of our being, if the spiritual artery is clogged or in need of repair and attention… other parts of us will also be clogged.