Joseph Herrin (1-17-2011)
Brothers and sisters write to me at times to share some very difficult trial they are passing through. I seek to encourage them at all times to trust Yahweh and look to Him to guide them. Last night my heavenly Father proved once more His faithfulness to me in a time of pressing personal need.
My daughter Kristin called me last night about 6 P.M.. I was at the grocery store at the time. She told me she was experiencing strange things in her body. She reported intense pain appearing suddenly in the lower right of her back. She said that she was finding it difficult to breathe, and was having spasms of pain throughout her entire abdominal area.
I mentioned to her that the area she described the pain to be originating sounded like the general area of the right kidney. Someone had suggested to her that she might have a ruptured appendix. I prayed with her on the telephone, asking the Father to provide guidance and relief from the pain.
You can imagine my concern as a father upon hearing that my daughter is experiencing intense and debilitating pain of an unknown origin. I desire earnestly the welfare of my family members, and I realize that their ultimate welfare is not defined merely by physical deliverance. There is always the spiritual being to be considered.
There is nothing that can enter into the life of a child of God apart from the Father. Seeing that He has all power and authority, and we are His children, would He not stand as a wall between us and anything that would seek to cause us true and lasting harm? Satan had to obtain permission to sift Peter. Satan cannot touch any child of God unless Yahweh grants permission to do so. When Yahweh allows sickness, injury, pain, sorrow, or loss into our lives, He always has the ultimate good of His sons and daughters in mind. Isaiah tells us that Yahweh was pleased to crush His own Son, putting Him to grief, but through Yahshua’s endurance of the same He has obtained all power and authority. Yahshua has gained for Himself a seed, and has received the name above every other name.
When I encounter some distress, especially that which is severe and urgent, there are certain thoughts that wage war in my mind. On the one hand I desire to discern clearly what the Father is doing, and to know His will in the matter that I might follow, and advise others to follow, the course that will lead to life. At the same time, having experienced much criticism and condemnation from those within the body of Christ and without for following the leading of the Spirit in the past in regard to similar matters, there is fear that rises up within me. I fear that putting obedience to God’s revealed will above human wisdom will lead to grievous loss, even as it did years earlier when my wife and son departed from me. The weight of the world’s judgment bears down upon me and wars against the peace I would have in a complete surrender to the will of Yahweh.
In my own eyes, death is not as great a tragedy as a life of disobedience. I would rather die while walking in faith and trusting in Yahweh than to live a life where my conscience condemned me and fellowship with the Father is disrupted. Seeing that I would judge this way for my own life, I must also judge the same for those I love.
Let me be clear here. I do not teach that faith and trust in Yahweh implies that the only healing that comes from the Father is that accomplished by some miracle, or which can be directly attributed to the Father. The faith I am speaking of is that which is defined as knowing His will and doing it. It is just as much an act of faith to “take a little wine for your stomach and frequent infirmities,” if this is what the Father reveals we are to do, as it is to be healed after being anointed and prayed for. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. We must always be discerning of the Father’s will if we are to stand in faith.
For a fuller explanation of this subject I recommend the writing titled Understanding Faith and Healing.
In a time of urgent need, my mind entered into warfare. On the one hand I saw the need to discern the Father’s will in this matter that I might know what to advise my daughter, and know how her healing might be received. On the other hand, I realized that her need was urgent, and doing nothing could result in unnecessary bodily harm.
After praying with my daughter I finished my shopping and headed back to my motorhome. I was praying as I drove, and my attention was arrested when I passed a church sign that read “Trust in God.” Immediately I began to exclaim out loud, “Father, I do trust you. My eyes are upon You. I am looking to You to guide and to heal.”
I was reminded of an experience that occurred about 7 years earlier in the same community in which my daughter now lives. A friend’s wife (Barbara) had come over to pick peaches with my wife. They went to a local orchard and the peach trees had just been sprayed with pesticide. They were still dripping wet, but the owner assured them it would be okay to pick the peaches.
When they arrived back at our home, Barbara was beginning to feel odd. She was lightheaded, and her breathing was becoming affected. She did not know the cause, and my wife had her lie down. I sensed that the matter could become serious, and I began to express to the Father my dependence upon Him. I told Him that I did not know what to do. I asked Him to guide, and to send forth whatever was needed for this sister in Christ to be healed.
A couple minutes later the doorbell rang. It was a woman from the local church. She came in and met my wife, and then went into the bedroom with her to check on Barbara. This woman, having seen this happen before, immediately recognized that Barbara was having an allergic reaction to the pesticide. The woman had a Benadryl in her purse, and gave it to Barbara. Within half an hour Barbara was back up and feeling much better.
This experience was on my mind after my daughter called, for I once more recognized that the need was urgent and I did not know what to do. I confessed to the Father that He knew what was going on with Kristin, and I asked Him to reveal it.
About 20 minutes after her first call, Kristin phoned me again. She said the pain was really bad, and she had vomited. A young woman from next door had come over to be with her, and the girl’s mother was on the way. Kristin said she didn’t know what she should do, but that the family there would possibly take her to the Emergency Room. I told her again to be led of the Spirit and follow the peace she had in her heart. When she hung up I noted the length of time we had talked was 1:53.
This number brought to mind the Father’s work among His children in this hour. The parable of the 153 large fish pulled up by the disciples and brought to Christ has been one that Yahweh has spoken much through in recent times.
Christ was on the shore and had a fire built. He instructed the disciples to bring some of the fish, which He added to those already in the fire. This was the third appearance of Christ after His resurrection, and the last before His ascension. It serves as a parable of Yahshua’s working among His people in these last days.
Christ must put His people through the fire. This is for their purification. There was some question regarding Christ’s identity at this event, and this too is part of the parable. When people see Christ placing His people into fiery experiences in this last hour many will question whether it is really Christ doing this work. I perceived that the Lord was leading my daughter to some further work that would serve as a fiery experience in her life.
Those who have read my blogs or heard the messages I spoke this past summer regarding my daughter’s life, know that I am well-pleased with her devotion to Christ. She has been willing to suffer for His sake, and has a heart to please Him. When Christ finds such a one, He will often subject them to experiences that seem completely contrary to that which human reason would expect. Rather than rewarding them with material comfort and blessings, He will subject them to further suffering and difficulties. This is in order that the branch that is fruitful might become even more fruitful.
“Every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit.”
I continued to pray and my daughter called me about ten minutes later. She said her neighbors were taking her to the Emergency Room, and I told her I would meet her there. She told me she still did not know what the Father’s will was, and was not confident that she should be seen at the hospital.
When I arrived there, Kristin and the couple who had brought her were standing in the parking lot. I walked over, and Kristin said she was not ready to go inside the hospital. She said she wanted to walk around some. I walked with her while the couple returned to sit in their SUV as it was cold outside.
Kristin said the pain had gotten so bad at one point that she could not even form a thought in her mind. She said she considered that she might die, and really did not care. She only wanted the pain to stop. She said it had eased up while on the drive to the hospital. Between phone calls I had looked at the symptoms of a ruptured appendix online, and it didn’t appear that this was Kristin’s problem. We prayed as we walked, asking the Father to reveal what was happening and what His will was. Kristin was still experiencing back pain. She said it was similar to having a pulled muscle in the back. It was constant, but the spasms and pressure in her stomach area had gone away.
We returned to where the couple were who had brought her. This man and his wife are leaders at the church Kristin attends, and have a sincere devotion to Christ. The man also stated that her symptoms didn’t sound like appendicitis, for her pain came on quite suddenly, and there were other differences. I mentioned that it seemed to be the general area of her kidney, upon which the woman stated that it might be a kidney stone.
As we were discussing the possibility of it being a kidney stone, my phone rang. It was the Randy Furman from Arizona. It struck me as unusual that he would call at that time of day, for it was not his custom to do so. I told Randy where I was at and told him I would appreciate his prayers for my daughter. When I described what she was experiencing, he said it sounded just like what his wife Kathy experienced when she had kidney stones. I asked him to elaborate, and he said he would put his wife on the phone. Kathy described the exact symptoms that Kristin had, and I asked her to speak with my daughter on the phone.
I marveled at the Father’s grace. He led this brother to call at that precise time when we needed understanding of what Kristin was experiencing. As He did for Barbara, Yahweh once more sent someone with knowledge who had experience in this matter. Our prayers for guidance in a pressing matter were answered.
Kathy shared that her usual course for dealing with kidney stones was to take pain killers and drink lots of fluids. Kristin also had a witness of God ordering things for the Furman’s to call at that moment. Randy told me that it was odd, for he was outside working when he felt led to go inside and phone me. The only thing we spoke about was Kristin’s dilemma. He then prayed with me and we hung up.
For the next while I was filled with gratitude for the Father’s grace, and was saying to Him, “Thank you Father for showing us what was occurring in my daughter’s body. Thank you for your grace in watching over us.”
Kristin decided to return home and spent the night with her neighbors. As of this morning she is still in considerable pain, and has been unable to drink water and keep it down due to nausea. I ask those who are led to do so to please pray for her. My own prayers for her have been three-fold. That the Father might heal her body. That He might reveal to Kristin whether treatment should be sought to assist the passing of the kidney stone. That she would discern the spiritual import of this experience.
This last petition to the Father is something many Christians would little consider. I am confident that our lives and experiences are ordered by the Father. He would speak to us through many things that we would miss if we are inattentive to the ways He communicates. By way of example, I want to share with you some of the things I shared with my daughter concerning the kidneys.
The Bible refers to the people of God as the BODY of Christ. Paul speaks of various members being eyes, ears, hands, etc.. This metaphor is widely employed throughout the Scriptures.
Individually, our bodies are also given as parables. We read often of “the heart of man,” but it is not the physical organ that is meant. Rather it is a part of man’s soul that is being referred to. In the same way the kidneys are spoken of in the Bible, though some have not discerned this due to the way it is at times rendered in our English Bibles.
Kidneys (Renal System – The Reins)
Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.
Even as the heart is an organ of the human body, so are the reins. The kidneys are part of the “renal system.” The word renal comes from a root word meaning reins. This is because the two tubes extending from the kidneys look like the reins of a horse.
Due to this association with reins, the kidneys have come to symbolize the mind of man in a similar way to the heart being associated with the desires and emotions of man. Reins are used to alter the direction of a horse, or other animal. Similarly, our mind is what steers us.
The following verse reveals this understanding of the reins being a metaphor for the human mind. First listed is the KJV which gives a more literal rendering of the word for “reins.”
Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root: they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far from their reins.
Some newer translations, perceiving that a majority of readers would not understand what the ancients intended when they wrote of the human renal system, have rendered the Hebrew word for the kidneys as “mind.” Among them are the New American Standard Bible, and the New King James translation of the Scriptures.
Thou hast planted them, they have also taken root; They grow, they have even produced fruit. Thou art near to their lips but far from their mind.
Another passage that reveals how the ancients associated the kidneys with the mind is found in a Psalm of Asaph. After discoursing on the wicked, and how they seemingly prosper, he writes:
Thus my heart was grieved, and I was vexed in my mind (reins).
Would not the emotions of man be downcast, and his mind be vexed, if he were to conclude that there is no benefit to choosing righteous living over wickedness in this world? A more literal rendering of the above verse actually alludes to the pain of kidney stones.
Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.
Jeremiah also was evidently familiar with this pain.
He hath bent his bow, and set me as a mark for the arrow. He hath caused the arrows of his quiver to enter into my reins (kidneys).
Jeremiah’s complaint was very bitter, as is the pain caused by kidney stones. It was like a searing torment in his mind. When Jeremiah’s mind was filled with thoughts of his difficulties, his actions were affected. He tried to no longer preach the warnings of Yahweh, but the word of God was like a fire shut up in his bones. Similarly, the thoughts of our minds directly influence our actions. Like the reins of a horse, they direct us this way and that.
Horse and Reins
Our minds are created to be directed by God even as the reins of a horse are used to direct it. It may seem odd to us that the ancients associated the mind with the kidneys, when we associate it with the brain today. Look at the image above and picture Yahweh holding the reins of your life. This is how the ancients viewed things. Therefore they associated man’s mind with the kidneys, rather than the brain.
The occurrence of kidney stones can be decreased through drinking an abundance of liquid, especially water. As the kidneys symbolize the mind, there is a parable found in this. The Bible speaks of being “washed by the water of the word.” The mind of man needs this washing, that it might be renewed and “spiritually minded.”
Kidney stones can indicate a dietary imbalance. This correlates over to the mind and what we feed it. Even as Jeremiah was focused upon his difficulties and dwelt upon self-pity, so too can man focus upon thoughts that will bring the mind much pain and discomfort.
On the other hand, the mind can give itself to too much pleasure and enjoyment. It can be attracted to things which artificially stimulate it. In the same way the physical body can consume too much refined flour, chocolate, or coffee, resulting in the formation of kidney stones.
When a person finds themselves afflicted in their body, the message the Father has for them will differ from one individual to another. It is necessary to hear the voice of the Spirit.
As you seek the Father to understand the experiences of your life, look always to His Spirit to guide you in the path of understanding.
Thank you for lifting up my daughter in prayer. My heart is burdened for her and your prayers are a comfort.
Update: I spoke to Kristin at 5:55 p.m.. She told me she had not had any more vomiting since the morning and was drinking lemon lime gatorade. Unknown to her, selecting this particular drink may have been a providential thing and one of the best choices she could have made. I was calling her to pass along information from a sister in Christ that had shared that the citrate in lemon juice would help soften kidney stones so they would break apart and pass. Looking on the Internet, I found a video from a Urologist who stated that they recommend lemonade to their patients with kidney stones as it softens them 300%.
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