note: I wrote this last Thursday morning, but felt a prompting from the Spirit to not post it –to wait. So, I did. I found out later that day that a dear friend from our Wycliffe days had suddenly died Wednesday night across the world. I remembered that prompting to wait, and am glad I followed it. In a piece of incredible heartbreaking irony, I learned today that our dear friend likely died of a massive heart attack. Friends who are Christ-followers, we know that God writes the number of our days, but we must live our lives carefully. I post this in the hope that we will pause and reflect on the choices we make every day that affect our health, and therefore affect the others we love while walking on this Earth. This is posted humbly as a gentle reminder, without condemnation, full of love and concern.
“Coronary heart disease is nothing more than a toothless paper tiger that need never exist and if it does exist it need never ever progress. Simply put, it is a food borne illness.”
-Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn
Ever had things come together in a series, in such a way that you felt like God was tapping you not-so-gently on the shoulder? I had one of those experiences yesterday. I’ve been part of a Bible study on Lysa TerKeurst’s “Made to Crave” with a few other women in our community. The book, in summary, is a spiritual and scriptural take on our personal battles with food and weight issues as Christ-following women. It’s a good read, and I’ve already put feet on many of the things I’ve been learning.
Last night was our final session. In the video, Lysa gives an illustration of a lesson her husband gave to their son, who was caught cheating on his schoolwork, out of frustration that he couldn’t “move the mountain of knowledge” into his head fast enough.
Her wise husband gave the errant son the task of moving a pickup truckload of large rocks from the truck bed to a spot way over yonder in their yard. So the son worked, and he worked, carrying the heavy rocks, one at a time, to their prescribed spot. And when he was done, his dad pointed out that sometimes, yes, God does choose to move our mountains miraculously, but more often, he gives us the task to move that mountain one rock at a time, giving us the direction and the strength to get the job done little-by-little.
Ponderable stuff, for weight and health issues …and many other things. So, I came home, and my husband informed me that Richard Twiss, a christian leader that has influenced us for the better in our heart for Native peoples, had suffered a massive heart attack that evening and was hospitalized. My heart sank, for him, for his family… but it also sank with the burden of the knowledge I’ve picked up like those big rocks, knowledge of how many of our “Western diseases” are preventable with a change in choices of diet and lifestyle. I don’t cast any judgement on my brother (he looks quite healthy!), but I also know that for every one heart attack that happens “out of the blue,” many more come with ample warning signs.
My heart is burdened for the many people God is using mightily that struggle along with bodies that are crying out for healing. My heart is burdened for people, like myself, that have a hard time saying no to the ice cream and saying yes to going to the gym. I get it. My own BMI is poised right on the line between “obese” and “overweight” and has been for the last few weeks. …And it’s on the way *down* more than up now, but I know in my case, it’s not genetics. It’s potato chips and ice cream and chocolate and the call of the couch. Owning that fact is painful, but I’m starting to see now that there’s a larger sphere of influence to those choices. It’s not just a private thing –it affects my family and my ability to guide my own kids to better choices. In the moment, it’s only a bowl of ice cream, but years down the road (here we are), I can see the results. It’s not comfortable to realize that my bodily state is my own doing.
So, now… I’m plunged into a whole lot more uncomfortable when I realize that that tap on the shoulder is God again, calling me to use those rocks I’ve been carrying to help someone else move their mountains out of the way on the road to health. If it’s uncomfortable for ME to come to the realization that I’ve sabotaged my own health, how is it that I feel God calling me to bring healing to His people by teaching them about His good gifts of pure food and healthy movement, along the way, maybe helping them to this painful realization? Honestly? It feels …like another mountain.
Pass me that rock, will you?