Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thoughts on Providence

If you are a facebook friend or a follower of my blog you know that I have struggled over the last several months with extremely serious heart problems. These problems culminated in triple-bypass surgery, a defibrillator implanted in my chest and a stent following a minor heart attack in January. Needless to say, life has been "interesting." I have become accustomed to my own mortality and resigned to the fact that the rest of my days would be a struggle with pain and fatigue.

But it turns out that I was wrong.

Yesterday I was given some of the best news I've had since my wife said "yes" all those years ago. My heart function has improved to the point that it is now considered normal. I am not considered to be suffering from congestive heart failure at this time. How did this happen? We could talk about my commitment to exercise and a better diet or the medicines doing their job or any number of factors. But I believe the real answer came from something that was not said in the clinic yesterday....The Nurse Practitioner pointed to the sky and said "It means that there's a purpose for you to still be here..." She was completely right.

I recently performed a funeral for a man four years younger than myself. He dropped dead from a heart attack. No warning, no symptoms. He was here one moment and gone the very next. That situation was hard on me....knowing that there was no reason why that shouldn't have been me. But God has a purpose for keeping me here.

God has a purpose...That's an interesting thought. So much of life seems random and meaningless. The images coming from Japan shake us with their scope and starkness. Can there be any purpose in such devastation? I have quite a bit of experience with devastation, especially on an emotional level and I want to tell you that there is a purpose in it, and that good can and does come from it. As a Christian I believe that God is using all of the events in my life to mold my character into a better reflection of Him. People talk all the time about wanting to die well....I want to live well. I want people to look back at my life and be able to clearly see a love and devotion to God that filled and directed every decision, every action, every word and thought. I figure that will insure dying well.

God has granted me a healing that I never asked for and never thought I would receive. I am grateful beyond words, but I hope that the life I've lived over the last few months was a witness enough of God's power to sustain us even when life isn't what we'd hoped or bargained for.

Perhaps someday I'll understand God's purpose for this season of my life...not that it really matters if I do or not. What matters is that I use this season in a way that brings glory to Him. That's the only purpose that really matters.

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