I stood beside his casket looking down on his frail and lifeless body, and with deep sadness wondered how a man with so much potential could have ended up this way.
In his maturing years, there had been kidney disease, liver damage, and heart issues but the real damage had happened less than 5 years earlier, when in frustration after two minor strokes, he had made a choice – a really bad choice.
His doctor had scolded him. He had vehemently warned him that he needed to change course; that he needed to stop smoking now or there would be dire consequences.
I wish he had listened to the warning that his doctor gave him – but he didn’t.
He didn’t listen – he didn’t change – he didn’t stop.
Instead – as he watched the cuff on his left arm tighten and the machine record his blood pressure, he drew deep and hard on the cigarette that he held in his right hand. “See – no difference!”
Over and over again, he watched and he inhaled and he gloated.
It was an act of rebellion – he wanted what he wanted. It was a declaration that he had no trust in the one who knew best – he was convinced he was right.
Then the ambulance came.
This time, it was a major stroke. This stroke would take away his ability to speak and to walk and to comprehend – and it would begin the downward spiral of health issues that would eventually take his life.
If you are like me, you may be saying, “SERIOUSLY?” “That’s CRAZY!” “Who DOES that?” “How could ANYONE be so foolish?” “WHY – why didn’t he listen?”
The truth is — in many ways, I’m no different.
Even aware of the consequences, I have been known to eat an entire chocolate bar (one of the big ones) or way more than one serving of potato chips (okay — a whole bag). The warning signs are there, especially when I have to squeeze into my once loose capris or I can’t button my blouse all the way.
I put unhealthy foods in my mouth that I know will escalate my own health issues and the pain in my stomach reminds me that I need to make a change.
But — I do this in my spiritual life too.
Even though the warning signs are there, I sometimes do things that are not good for me; things that are not good for my relationship with God – or with others.
There are times when, even though I hear Him whisper for me to change my course, I refuse to listen. In my desire to have things my own way, my actions declare my lack of trust in the One who knows best and I make choices – really bad choices.
Maybe you do too.
But – here’s the GOOD NEWS. It’s not too late to make a change.
We have a great physician; a God full of grace, a binder of broken hearts, and a giver of second chances.
And — healing is there for those who listen, make necessary corrections, and follow Him.
Change your life. God’s kingdom is here. Matthew 3:2 (The MSG)
So what about you?
Can you hear Him whispering? What do you need to do to change course and follow Him?
Whatever it is – please – be willing to listen. Be willing to change.