Dr. David Levy’s new book Gray Matter is now available at both Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
On the surface, it is the story of a surgeon who very tastefully erases the line between the secular and sacred as he ministers to his patients’ spirit, soul and body.
However, there are two other story lines that intrigue me much more. The first is watching God’s artistry in growing Dr. Levy. Like most of the rest of us, his default legitimacy crutch was human approval. Thus when God instructed him to start violating the social contracts of the medical establishment, it caused some discomfort.
The core issue for him (and us) is whether God had his back. If we do (fill in the blank) will God come through for us?
Now I want to highlight the difference between trust and obedience. I find it difficult to trust people. However, I risk relentlessly, as I order my soul to disregard all of the danger signals coming from the situation. So even when I do not feel the emotion of trust, I will make myself vulnerable, will risk, will lean into the situation as though I trusted them.
It is an amazing experience, though, when our emotions truly are at peace — when we trust a person or God as the case may be.
I was having dinner in an elegant restaurant with a couple I had never met before. And, like the businessman I am (and a still not completely healed human) I was poking and prodding, checking them out, doing due diligence, trying to find out how I should position myself so as to stay safe.
In the midst of that soul process, God interrupted and said, “She is totally safe. She will never hurt you.”
That is rather utterly lacking in ambiguity. Neither “totally” nor “never” have any wiggle room in them. God has never before said that to me about anyone, nor ever again. But the peace that came into my spirit and soul with that divine pronouncement was utterly different from the normal growth process where I find out through trial and error whether someone is safe.
Dr. Levy had a lot of experience trusting God as an act of his will, even when the flesh was protesting. However, God wanted more for him. God wanted him to be able to emotionally trust God. So this journey began.
God is a master craftsman. I savored the cadence God created. Some times there were situations where God gave him a safe environment in which to minister. Other times God put him at risk and allowed him to experience safety in the situation as God proved that He had Dr. Levy’s back.
The whole story is an elegant picture of God taking him on a journey and bringing deep healing to that core issue. Today he burns through zero adrenaline doing the kinds of hospital ministry that were white-knuckle scary five years ago.
This is freedom. This is the fruit of allowing God into your life with your will, while your soul is screeching with terror, and experiencing Him bring exactly the right mix of experiences into your pathway.
There is a second theme worth savoring. Dr. Levy is gift of Mercy (although that is not stated in the book). This is an inside tip from me that makes it a more interesting read.
The stereotypic messy Mercy who does not progress in life, is usually stuck where they are because of one of two things: laziness or fear of man.
Megan (a certified, card-carrying, legitimate member of the Mercy tribe) does a pretty comprehensive hatchet job on the issue of Mercy laziness. This is in her album Where the Hidden Treasure Lies which is accessible on her website www.GoBeyondTheHorizon.com. If that is your issue, she has your number.
On the other hand, this book is a superb example of how God deals with the fear of man. Since I am not a doctor, I can say the simple truth that the medical establishment is very politicized and fairly controlling. It is not uncommon for medical healers to lacerate some souls along the way, often those of their peers.
Dr. Levy’s medical environment was not known for being unusually predatory, but there was still the pervasive fear of man when he began his journey. What would the other doctors think? What were the nurses thinking? What would the patient think? What would his operating team think?
All utterly normal, human questions.
But the key to the Mercy moving into the fullness of his or her calling is to have a sensitivity to the heart of God that is vastly larger than his sensitivity to the emotions of man.
This too, God addressed with His unparalleled skill. While the front end of the book drips with the anguish of fear of man, the back end of the book is loaded with his excitement about the people God was bringing to him for spiritual and emotional healing.
This again, was a change from the inside out, to produce a level of peace in partnership with God that was not there before.
So God used external circumstances to set the stage. Dr. Levy had to bring his will power to the table to override the default settings of fear, fear and fear. And the fruit of that long series of set ups followed by right choices is that fear is no longer his constant companion when he ministers.
There are probably a handful of you reading this who don’t need his book. I recommend the rest of you get it and soak in the artistry of the King. It makes for a wonderful worship experience, as well as being a good teaching tool.
Perhaps you will recognize some of God’s fingerprints in your pilgrimage.
For being a book about Dr Levy, it sure is a superb celebration of God’s creative nurture.
Copyright March 2011 by Arthur Burk
On the Quarterdeck, in Anaheim