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FORWARD! A Spiritual CAT Scan

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FORWARD! A Spiritual CAT Scan

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The ordeal had begun early Friday morning with nausea and a concentrated pain in my far right abdomen. I had already missed five days of work. By late Friday afternoon, feeling increasing pain and not wanting to have a crisis on the Sabbath, I called my family doctor to see if an immediate appointment was possible. Remarkably, he took me right in.

After the routine exams, he came up with no diagnosis. I thought, okay, all my fears of some tragic disease are unwarranted—just let me go home and rest. But he insisted I go to the hospital for a CAT scan right away. By midnight, after my doctor left that phone message, I was going into surgery.

Sometimes we don't look hard enough for the problem because we really don't want to have to deal with finding a solution. But sometimes we can't see the problem because we don't use the right tools. Had the doctor not insisted, I would probably have gone home thinking it would all work out—only to suffer a crisis in the middle of the night.

Since this was my first CAT scan, I took no chances and told the technician where my pain was located. She assured me that it would cover the entire area from a perspective of more than 180 degrees. Whatever was there, the scan would find it.

Watching and listening as the machinery revved up to high speed, I thought about what a remarkable instrument this was. How could it see everything and discern what was not normal?

In pre-op, several doctors asked about my symptoms, poked my flabby abs and commented that they would not have concluded that I had appendicitis except for the incontrovertible evidence from the CAT scan. This statement made me realize the potential limitations of a traditional, hands-on external examination. Experts could have misdiagnosed my condition.

Looking back on this and looking forward to Passover, it occurs to me that we could fall into the trap of routinely examining ourselves in a cursory way and thereby miss something critical. Even though we may be experienced at self-examination, could we be misled because the most serious deficiency is covered or disguised? Or worse yet, neglected?

In following the command to examine ourselves, we might do well to consider a spiritual CAT scan—one that can, with laser accuracy, pinpoint our spiritual shortcomings and verify our need for the healing power of Christ's sacrifice. No doubt we have particular methods for examining our own spiritual condition. Perhaps we are eager to get through the basic exam and get on with our lives. Maybe we don't really want to have to deal with the most serious symptoms.

The sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our Savior, is the perfect remedy for whatever ails us. But we need to know what those spiritual maladies are so that we can repent and appreciate what Christ has done for us. We must not shrug off our symptoms and fail to confront them with both repentance and asking forgiveness.

This year as we examine ourselves, let's remember that we do not just need to acknowledge our numerous sins, whatever they may be. We also need to ask and answer the much more definitive question of our spiritual relationship with Christ overall: "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves" (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Perhaps this year a spiritual CAT scan will be just what the doctor ordered! UN