One day Jesus was walking through Capernaum and a great crowd gathered, as was usual. Jesus set about healing those who were sick and the religious crowd got all flustered. They accused him of blasphemy, because as he healed those who were ailing, and they believed in him, he forgave their sins. Duh! Their accusation was that only God can forgive sins. Wow! Blindness abounds among those who deny Christ.
When the religious zealots saw him eating lunch with “publicans and sinners,” they were incensed. When Jesus heard their whining, he responded, Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.
That would be me, a sinner in need of a savior. About 37 years ago, that savior found me floundering and gave me eternal life. His love has seen me through so much; I dare not try to count the ways he has cared for me.
Last week, as you may already know, I was admitted to the hospital and underwent a stenting procedure on one of the arteries on my heart. My cardiologist knew something was wrong and I am thankful I have a great physician. Her expertise and caring attitude likely saved my life.
Last evening, sitting on my couch, I started to have chest pain again and ended up in the ER. After several hours of observation, and a call to my cardiologist, I came home with instructions to see her today. The office visit was both eye-opening and encouraging.
As we talked about my heart health, for technical reasons I won’t rehearse here, the pain I’m having now is not unusual after the kind of procedure I had–thank God. A little further into the conversation she confirmed that the artery in question–the one that was 99% blocked, was the proximal left anterior descending (LAD) coronary artery, otherwise known as the Widow Maker.
If you believe in luck, I am a very lucky guy. I happen to take a different view of life, one guided by God. Accidents are not and fatalists are just silly. The Great Physician put me in the company of a great physician and the result is I’m a Timex kind of guy–I take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’.
I know some who know me have probably thought or said, “Yeah, there he is working his butt off doing physical fitness and look what happened.” As if I was wasting my time taking care of myself. If that’s what you think, you’re just stupid, plain ole stupid.
In fact, my doctor told me just today to get back after it–fitness, that is. She suggested, and I believe, that my survival in this case was directly related to my high level of physical conditioning. My very strong heart was able to continue to function even through that LAD was 99% blocked.
There is one caveat with this, though. I’m 62, not 22. She told me I had a “lot of tread left on my tires” and that I just have to find a “new path” to keep going. She used the word “moderation” more than once. Even while she was talking to me, God reminded me of a passage that I know by heart. Philippians 4:5-7 says, Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. [KJV]
There’s that word, moderation. ESV says reasonableness. ASV says forbearance. NIV, gentleness. The lesson I’m learning in all this (one that a lot of people will say is way past due) is that it’s time to slow down. My personality knows only one speed–wide open. I guess it’s fair to say that my body can’t keep up with me anymore. And that’s OK.
There’s a huge difference between being temporarily sidelined and being permanently removed from the game. I believe I can still score, still win the race, still be effective. I just have to find a different path to get there. Maybe along the way, I’ll actually start to smell the roses more. Who knows.
I’m just glad I have great physicians.