Monday, January 18, 2010

A Bug's Life

I found myself at a pleasant stage of life as I was nearing the age of sixty-one. Long before, at the youthful age of twenty-one, I’d made bold plans to reach the age of a hundred and one. Knowing that a person’s health reflects what they eat, I determined in my mind to eat a diet composed of a healthy combination of bread, vegetables, fruit and meat. Just in case I overlooked anything, I took vitamins and minerals as if they were a life-ring. Consuming every good nutrient I could see, I had a head start in the control of my destiny. Exercise was important I had to admit, so I chose a daily jogging program with which to keep me fit.
For forty long years, I ate all the right foods and I ran like Forrest Gump. By following the laws of nature and having fun I felt assured that I would reach my lofty goal of the age of a hundred and one. Making sure nothing was ignored; I even attended church and worshipped the Lord.
I was reminded of the lowly little bug. Not having much intelligence the bug still follows the laws of God. By obeying the law of nature, he can’t possibly go wrong. By following his God-given instincts he lives a long life and stays strong. In his own way, the bug is worshipping the Lord.
At the age of nearly sixty-one, I was healthy as a horse and strong as an ox. I needed no doctors and never used a pillbox. I was proud of my wisdom and deft determination. To my sickly friends who weren’t very strong, I was quick to tell them where they’d gone wrong. “Observe the laws of nature,” I’d say. “And you can be as healthy as me.”
Then one ordinary and peaceful afternoon, a frightening wake-call interrupted my calm and healthy life. My heart was in trouble and possibly done. Off to emergency I went, wondering where the laws of nature had gone wrong. Bright lights were shining on me and my sickbed, as doctors and nurses hovered over me while scratching their heads. Embarrassingly I found myself undressed, and lots of wires were attached to my heaving chest. Drip lines were hung overhead, sending life-saving liquids coursing through my veins.
“Why did this happen to me,” I asked a nurse. “I’ve done all the right things, eaten the right foods and exercised my heart. And to top it all off, I regularly worship the Lord.”
“I’m so sorry about your predicament,” answered the nurse. “You’ve got a condition that your healthy lifestyle simply cannot overcome. The problem is in your genes. Unfortunately, your heart is subjected to family history.”
Protesting very loudly I asked, “Why did I bother living right since the age of twenty-one? Did I waste my time by exercising my heart? I may as well have spent my time eating potato chips and ice cream.”
“Oh no,” answered the compassionate nurse. “You were doing all the right things. Had you not eaten the right foods and exercised your heart, this condition may have hit you by the age of forty-one.”
Not satisfied with the nurse’s answer, I turned to the Lord and asked, “Why me, Lord? Why did you give me this wake-up call? I’ve done all the right things and followed the laws of God. I’ve eaten the right foods and I’ve kept my body trim. There isn’t a detail I’ve ignored. I’ve even attended church and worshipped you. Lord, I feel like you’ve thrown me a cruel curve ball.”
Did the Lord answer me while I lay in my bed? I don’t know, but the following thoughts came rushing through my head. “I’ve sent you many messages,” the Lord did say. “Through preachers and teachers I’ve shown you the way. The passages in my Word were directed right at you. You are living a bug’s life, from my point of view. Since you gave my messages no heed, I determined that a wake-up call is exactly what you need.”
“What’s missing?” I asked. “What have I ignored? I do what’s right. I even worship the Lord.”
“You’re thinking like a bug,” answered the Lord. “He follows the laws of nature, and in his own way, even he worships the Lord. Think about the messages that have gone right over your head. I gave you an important mission and a goal to work toward.”
“But I’m a Christian,” I protested. “And one of good accord. I regularly go to church and I worship the Lord.”
“You’re living a good life,” answered the Lord. “And there’s no doubt that you’ve been worshipping me. But there’s so much more I want from you. My universal mission, you have completely ignored. My son, church attendance does not a Christian make. Such short-sightedness causes my heart to ache.”
“Lord,” I asked. “What is the mission I must do? What can be more important than worshipping you?”
“Your mission is not inside the church house door. The life of a Christian should be so much more. If you truly want to worship me, outside the church building is where you ought to be. Winning the lost is the place to start. It isn’t likely that you’ll find lost and hungry souls inside the church house door. But my son, there’s even more. There’s plenty for you to do outside the church house door. Visiting the fatherless and widows should be your soul’s intent. They’re in great need of help and encouragement. Feed the hungry, give them a drink. They need your help more than you think. Many are in need outside the church house door. They need warmth and clothing and so much more. Visit the sick and even those in the prison ward. Then you’ll be serving the Lord.”
I lay there in my bed with surprise on my face. “Lord, I’ve ignored many of your teachings, perhaps all. Now I understand why you gave you this wake-up call.”
Just as I finished talking to the Lord, a doctor walked in with his face aglow. “Your heart’s much better now. I’m letting you go.”
Back home, I had a new perspective to dwell upon No longer was I obsessed with reaching the age of a hundred and one. Whether I make it to the age seventy-one or a hundred and two, I’ve got a God-given mission to do.
I will never forget that life-changing day, when a disturbing wake-up call came my way. My wake-up call came with an urgent message I couldn’t ignore. I was living a bug’s life—and not much more.


Anonymous said...

wow larry, that was an awsume testimony. god has truly blessed you not only with a gift of writting, but also with a burnin desire to serve him and do his will. may god continue to richly bless you and encourage you in your walk with him. I will continue to pray for your complete healing. pam newland..

Margaret said...

It IS a shock to realize our falability despite having done everything we knew how.
I wish you continued health and healing and a life rich in blessings.

Anonymous said...

My goodness, Larry, I didn't realize you were trying for 101. You might catch up with me if you do. More importantly, I see your heart in this story.
I've watched you doing the right things regarding your health habits, and admired them, wishing that Old Dad had that drive as well.
But when you expressed what God was telling you, you put us all under conviction. None of us, it seems do ALL we should about telling others about God, and feeding the hungry, visiting shut-ins, and a thousand other things we should be doing.
So your wake-up call is for us all.
Let us begin now to look for opportunities to follow Jesus' examples of what Chrstians should be.
James Tate