Every time I consider submitting to a “platza” treatment a shiver runs down my spine. I long for the results while fearing the process. Knowing what is going to happen only makes things worse. Somehow the two hundred and five degrees, ninety-six Celsius, never seems to get any cooler. Somehow the twenty-five minutes always seems to stretch into a timeless experience. Somehow I always come out of the process knowing God has given me a bath. The offer is always there. I wonder why I don’t take it more often.
Mutar, a young man from Uzbekistan, knew exactly what he was doing. Taking on the job normally reserved for two, he was fit and ready. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy as I watched him taking a long plunge in the ice baths before he went into the sauna. The gentle push of the red oak leaves was frequently offset by the sting as they whipped across my legs and arms. I thought I had lost it. I would get right to the edge of being alive, thinking the heat would consume what little defenses I had left. As my cry began to emerge I would hear the sound of cold water pouring over Mutar’s head, knowing I was next. Relief, hope, and the work of a lifetime continued.
The final step is the worse, a full dip in the ice pool. It isn’t just cold. It is numbing and painful in extraordinary ways. I knew I needed the final step. I knew if I was hot enough I would find the experience contextually perfect!
As much as I say I want to experience God’s hand and voice, I often find myself running to anywhere but Divinity’s presence. The reaction isn’t new. Even when the disciples knew Jesus was back, they found themselves “gathered together, but, fearful of the Jews, had locked all the doors in the house. Jesus entered, stood among them, and said, ‘Peace to you.’” (John 20.19)
Today, in the midst of life’s chaos, God is here. Look for the revelation.
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