Posts tagged ‘life’

Are You Ready to BE Healthy?

I have been in my new position for nearly 9 weeks. During that time I have been grieving the separation from close friends, the loss of a church family, and my role as a pastor all while I have embraced my new calling to help our Adventist hospitals in Denver to recapture their mission to “extend the healing ministry of Christ by caring for those who are ill and by nurturing the health of the people in our communities.” The first part of this mission is straightforward and one that every healthcare system in America strives to do with excellence. But the second part of the mission is much more difficult for one primary reason – the varying definitions of health and widely differing opinions on what it means to be healthy.

How do you define health? Can a person who has been paralyzed from the neck down in a motor vehicle accident be healthy? Can a young man diagnosed with terminal cancer live his last months of life healthy? Is health more than the absence of disease? The answers to these questions are profoundly influenced by our understanding of the words of Jesus in John 10:10, The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. Could it be that Jesus is talking about health as He contrasts a life lived in subjection to the thief as opposed to the life lived in submission to the Giver?

I think of Mary who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer while I was an OBGYN resident in training at Bethesda Naval Hospital many years ago. I first met Mary when I was an intern. I had been on her surgical team that removed her tumor and had the privilege of caring for her during that initial hospitalization. She had a positive attitude and lifted my spirits every time I saw her. She returned for chemotherapy and so I saw Mary over the years as an intern, then as a second year resident, and finally as the chief resident on the oncology service. Three years later, after two courses of chemotherapy and a two years of being declared disease free, Mary was admitted to treat symptoms that were caused by the recurrence of the cancer. Despite her desire to overcome the cancer, this disease had not stolen, killed, or destroyed her spirit. Mary was happy and even counted her cancer as a blessing! She told me that the cancer had helped her see the true meaning in life. It had given her the gift of recognizing the smell of flowers, the singing of birds, the smiles on faces, and the love of friends in her path. As Mary laid in that hospital bed ready to die, she was somehow full of life. In fact, Mary was the very picture of an abundant life Jesus has promised each one of us in John 10:10.

Health has much more to do with who we are than with what we have. We may HAVE wealth along with success and yet BE miserably unhappy, stressed, and alone. On the other hand, we may HAVE terminal disease along with chronic pain and yet BE abundantly happy, filled with peace and love. And so health has more to do with love and the fruit of the Spirit than it does with any physical ailment or dis-ease we may experience on this earth.

And so I embrace the mission of the South Denver Adventist hospitals because it embodies the mission of Jesus to bring life abundantly to all people through two key words – “caring” and “nurturing.” This is what Jesus did as He walked on this earth to raise hope, inspire purpose, strengthen faith, bring love, and give life to all who were willing to receive. He not only cares for us when we are down and in need of help, but He nurtures us every step of the way. Jesus invites us all to be healthcare workers dedicated to caring and nurturing those around us. So how is your health? Are you ready to BE healthy?

Do You Know Your Race Plan?

“…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…”  Hebrews 12:1-2

After watching my daughter, Sally, compete yesterday in Ironman Wisconsin, I thought of Hebrews 12 as I spent time with God this morning. Every time I go to one of Sally’s Ironman races, I am impressed with the enormity of the task to complete such an event. Each part of the race is an event by itself. But to combine all three into one event is overwhelming to most people. To swim 2.4 miles followed by a 112 mile bike race, and then to run for 26.2 miles is staggering. This is an event you don’t decide to do the week before and just show up. In fact, Ironman races generally fill up a year before the race. So you have to plan ahead and be committed to a training regimen in order to even be in the race and finish it.

Sally trains for a year to be ready for the race that yesterday took her 10 hours and 51 minutes to complete. She spends hours running and biking and swimming alone. But she also has a coach and many friends who train with her, give her advice, and support her through the process. All of this comes together to optimize her chances for a successful race. And how does Sally define a “successful race?” By meeting the goals her coach has set for her. By running her race. By doing the best she can do irregardless of what anyone else does.

Life is like that. Life is an endurance event that is meant to be run with the help of others. But we should never allow our neighbor, friend, or enemy to take our focus off the plan that our Coach, Jesus, has given us. Jesus knows you. He created you. He died for you. He is invested in you. And He has given you gifts to be used in the endurance race of life that will change the world. 

Sally’s coach gives her a race plan that she trusts and follows throughout the race. All of this comes together on race day to optimize her chances for a successful day. If she were to lose focus and try to keep up with a fellow competitor, the results would be disastrous. We were created to love and support one another, not to judge ourselves based upon one another. And so when we read in Hebrews 12 to run the race set before us, that means we each have a different race plan. To be successful is to simply follow the plan Jesus has set before us. 

When we keep our eyes on Jesus, we have success that is measured by the amount of peace He places in our hearts, not the amount of gold we place in our hands.  Do you know your race plan? Do you know the goals Jesus has set for you? Are you keeping your eyes on Him?

Tag Cloud