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  • Writer's pictureFrank Keeler

WHITE COAT SYNDROME

The Soul Anchor [Hebrews 6:19] - January 2023

In case you aren’t familiar with it, White Coat Syndrome is described as a phenomenon in which people exhibit a blood pressure level above the normal range in a clinical setting, but not it in other settings. It is believed that the phenomenon is due to anxiety experienced during a doctor visit. So, for some people merely seeing that white lab coat can create increased hypertension. I believe I experience white coat syndrome to an extent as well. My blood pressure always seems to be a little higher at the doctor’s office or at the blood bank then when I take it at home, but my question is shouldn’t there also be some type of syndrome where we are changed because we are in the presence of God?


According to the Bible, being in God’s presence is a truly awesome and sometimes absolutely terrifying thing. In Isaiah 6:1-5 , Isaiah tells of his experience in God’s presence: “ In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.  Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook, and the temple was filled with smoke. "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty." It sounds like God’s presence created much more than a slight increase in BP, in his own words, Isaiah was ruined. Exodus 34 shows that,

When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face.  But whenever he entered the LORD's presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the LORD.

The presence of God had a very real physical impact on Moses.


While we may not encounter God’s presence in the same way as Isaiah and Moses, Hebrews 10:19-22 tells us,

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,  and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

We do have full access to God, and we can enter with confidence.


I believe it is still important to consider how God’s presence should affect our life. If it doesn’t, we are living like an atheist. If merely the sight of a white coat can increase our blood pressure, how much more should the actual presence of God in our lives touch, disturb and move us?


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