When I was younger, I gave no thought to my health. I was a long distance runner in High School and regularly ran 3-5 miles at least 4 times a week while in the service. I always got “Outstanding” on my Military Physical Fitness Tests. Even after I got out of the military, I had a 12 speed bike that I rode everywhere. It was no big deal for me to get on it and ride 15-20 miles at a time. And I never rode at a casual pace either. I always rode in such a manner that if I had of had an accident, I’d probably still be rolling. My blood pressure was always within a point or two of 100/60 with a resting heartbeat of 55-60 beats per minute.
But now I’m in my mid 40’s and these past two years have not been kind to me from a health perspective. I had a gall bladder attack that made me think I was having a heart attack. That happened almost two years ago and I’ve been without my gall bladder for the past year and a half. About this time last year, I went in for a CAT scan and found out I have a bulge in one of my lower disks that is causing numbness in my left leg. And recently, I’ve had something happen to my stomach and am currently taking medications for it. I’m not sure if it is a beginning ulcer or a irritable bowel syndrome. Whatever it is, my stomach has not been happy with me.
Why do I bring all this up? Because for years I trusted in my health and the fact that I had no problems other than the occasional cold/flu. I have not spent any time in the hospital, no broken bones, no surgeries, nothing. Not until two years ago.
But something stuck me at work a couple of weeks back. I was talking to someone about the reliability of computers and the fact that it is amazing that they work as good as they do as long as they do. Whenever you install a program or an Operating System, data gets written to your hard drive. In its simplest form, that data is either a “1” or a “0”, positive or negative. All it takes if for one of those “1’s” or “0’s” to be out of place and your computer is toast. Think about it, there are trillions of those little bits of information on your computer at any given time and if just a couple of them are wrong or out of place, your computer either won’t boot or doesn’t function correctly.
Now, lets turn that analogy over to the human body. Think about it like this, above I said that my resting heart rate was 55-60 BPM at rest. That means in one hour my heart would have beat around 3500 times, or about 84,000 times in one day, or 30,485,000 times a year. That is just at rest. Your heart rate speeds up during physical exertion and when you are frightened. Take a thin piece of metal like a coat hanger and bend it back and forth a few times and the metal develops stress fatigue and breaks. Yet, your heart continuously beats year after year. During a 75 year lifespan, your heart will beat over 2.2 billion times. 2.2 billion, isn’t that an amazing number?
But the craziest part is, all it takes is one little electrical misfire, or one blood clot, or one electrolyte imbalance and your heart can go into an arrhythmia and that is the end of your life. What I’m trying to say is that it is totally amazing, even more so than anything a computer can do, that your life is as long as it is. Do you not begin to see that your next breath is totally dependent on God? Can you not see that your next heartbeat is dependent on God? Imagine with me as I write this that me even finishing this that I am typing is dependent on God. My life, and yours too, is totally dependent on His future grace. There is no guarantee that any of us will be alive 30 minutes from now, much less 10 years from now.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that so much of our lives are nothing more than a house of cards apart from God’s grace and faith in Him. I’m just asking you to think about this and to realize that God loves you so much that he will begin to knock the crutch’s that we use to get through life out from under us. One of my crutch’s was the belief that I was generally healthy. Maybe your crutch is your job. In today’s economy, even that is uncertain. You could show up one day and find out your company is closing the doors, and yes, I’ve had that crutch ripped out from under me too. Maybe your crutch is your spouse. Maybe they decided they wanted something different and left. There are thousands of “crutch’s” that we all rely on to get through our lives, but the only thing that matters is faith in what Jesus did for us on the cross. Nothing else matters.
For those of you who read this blog and are believers, I just ask that you examine your life and look at the things that you rely on apart from God and begin to allow Him to strip those things away. I can hear the arguments that doing that is so hard. When you do it yourself, it surely is! Of that I have no doubt. Augustine of Hippo stated this about God about 1700 years ago: “Give what you command and then command whatever you want.” God gives us the grace to love, to be obedient to His word, and countless other things, and then He commands us to do it. Don’t you see that He gives the provision to do what He commands of us. It’s when we try and do it in our own power and strength that we run into trouble and fail miserably.
For those of you who read this and don’t follow Christ, I just ask that you ponder over what I have written and at least give it some honest thought. I realize that a lot of people would consider what I have written the ravings of a lunatic, but it is not unreasonable. In the book of Acts, Paul the Apostle is before Festus pleading his case. Here is what the Luke writes as he gives an account of the proceedings: “And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.” But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words. For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner.” (Acts 26:24-26 ESV emphasis mine) I’m just asking you to consider what I have written and compare it to the Words of God found in the Bible to see for yourself if what I’m saying is true or not.