We are not only entering into the springtime of 2015, but for some of us it is the springtime of our entire life. Jesus taught us in the parable of the sower that the farmer will have to deal with problems that the enemy sets as snares in order to protect good seed in good soil. One such problem is friends that appear asymptomatic, but carry the disease of doubt that may infect you and try to destroy the faith that will cause your seed to grow.
In the early 1900’s there lived an Irish immigrant woman who carried a dangerous disease in her body, but she herself was never sick with the disease. History has named this woman, “Typhoid Mary,” and she worked as a cook for many of the wealthy families in New York City. The first family she worked for came down with typhoid fever and some of the family members died from it. She subsequently lost her job but she never realized it was because of her that they died. She immediately got another cooking job with a very wealthy family ~ and again the same thing happened. This time three members of the family succumbed to the disease.
This woman continued to move around from house to house and when people died she just moved to a new residence, still not realizing she was carrying a very deadly disease. So many people were dying in New York City from this typhoid fever outbreak that the head of the New York City health department started doing research and began to trace back when the outbreak first occurred. He found out that in every family where people died there was one common denominator ~ this Irishwoman was their cook. Doctors then questioned the woman about her part in all these deaths.
“That is ridiculous!” she replied. “I’ve never been sick and I’m not sick now. How could I have caused the disease?” She would not submit to any test and continued to cook for families that soon became sick. When the members died she just quit and found another job. Finally, so many people died that the New York health department arrested her and put her in quarantine. After they jailed her they discovered she had typhoid fever living in her gallbladder. But the woman still maintained it was not her problem. After she was incarcerated for three years she agreed to always wash her hands and not to work ever again as a cook.
But soon after being released Typhoid Mary changed her name and resumed her job as a cook. Sure enough, she did not wash her hands and people began to die again. What gave the investigators a clue was that people were dying in the neighborhood of the city that had no history of typhoid fever. Now suddenly this new epidemic was happening. When they again caught the woman she was placed in permanent quarantine and lived there till the end of her life.
This example shows us how dangerous doubt really is. It is a disease that completely destroys your ability to receive miracles and blessings from God. It is so dangerous that it actually worked against Jesus Christ Himself when He was ministering in a local neighborhood in His hometown. Jesus had been invited to stand up in the synagogue and read from the Scriptures. It was the prophecy of Isaiah talking about Him and what He was going to do for Israel: “God’s Spirit is on Me; He’s chosen Me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, sent Me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to set the burdened and battered free, to announce, ‘This is God’s year to act!’”
The Scripture then goes on to say that Christ “closed the book, gave it to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all of them that were in the synagogue were fastened on Him and He began to say unto them, ‘This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.’ And all bear Him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth.” At this historic moment, while Jesus stood before His entire hometown, had they been filled with faith and miracles there’s no telling what could’ve happened! But just then a person with just a little bit of doubt said these words, “Is not this Joseph’s son?”
Suddenly the typhoid fever of poisonous doubt filled the hearts of the people of that town. After just a few moments, “They were filled with wrath, and rose up, thrust Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of a hill where upon their city was built, that they might cast Him down headlong. But He passed through the midst of them went His way.” This is one of the most shocking examples of how dangerous a friend can be that carries the spirit and ideas of doubt, and how its infection can spread as quickly as a mass electrocution in poisoning you and your friends hearts from their ability to carry innocent child-like faith.
Being asymptomatic is carrying disease but never catching it yourself. You might know someone who never experiences the symptoms of doubt yet they poison you and people you love. Remember, this works through doubt that is given to you through their communication. They made use phrases like, “I’m just playing the devil’s advocate it,” or “You’ve got to look at both sides of the issue to be balanced.”
Please listen very carefully to what I am saying. We all need counsel. But it must come from those people who love us, who care for us, and have attained wisdom from living in the realm of faith for most of their lives. There’s a big difference when somebody constantly has the disease of doubt. It is time for you to lose this kind of dangerous friendship.
Jonah was friendly, but became dangerous to the point of being deadly. He had an asymptomatic condition that was caused by his disobedience to the word of the Lord. He had joined himself to a ship that was full of innocent travelers going to their appropriate destinations, when suddenly they found themselves in a deadly stormy sea. The ship was going to sink and all of the lives onboard were going to be lost!
When the crewmembers cast a lot and discovered that Jonah was the problem, they threw him into the sea, the ship was saved, and everyone was able to continue successfully on their journey. The next part of the story shows us what a gentleman God is, because He prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah so he wouldn’t drown.
The whale ended up transporting Jonah to his original destination. When he got there not only was the disease of disobedience gone, but he also became the savior of the city of Nineveh.
Sometimes you have to cast your friendship into the sea and never see them again. But God will catch them and put them in the proper pathway so they will be in His perfect will fulfilling their destiny in life. So letting go of some friends that are diseased with doubt might even save them.
The important message that you and I must receive is simply this. If a friend brings doubt to you, let them go. Be kind, but still let them go. If we are going to trust God for miracles that we all desperately need, we must also trust Him to provide the fish to save the people that you must throw overboard and out of your life. This requires a real active faith.
It also takes strong courage mixed with kindness and gentleness. I remember when the mayor of San Francisco was dealing with very hostile protesters. He simply instructed the police officers to put their steel hands in velvet gloves as they dealt with the people inciting violence. This example shows how you and I must deal with dangerous friendships ~ steel hands inside velvet gloves.
Pastor Richard Gazowsky