I’m laying in a hospital bed—miserable, bored, depressed, and confused. I’ll spare you the details, but to make a long story short I’ve had a heart defect since birth. At thirty-one years of age it has caused two major heart surgeries and five less serious procedures, the last of which unsuccessfully took place this morning. My heart likes to randomly jump and get stuck into a fast, off-beat rhythm. When medicine doesn’t work, they get the paddles out and shock it back to normal. That was supposed to take place this morning, but the doctor found a blood clot and will have to wait until it is gone before they can proceed.
I can’t really describe the disappointment of waking up and not feeling normal again. Figuratively, my heart sank. As an introvert, I don’t really want to be around anyone right now. I’m frustrated and I don’t want to hear clichés or “everything’s going to be all right”. I’m going to Heaven if I die so, frankly, I already know that. Nevertheless, I love those who care enough to be here and I know they’re just trying to say something when there’s really nothing to say.
As an atheist, I used think God couldn’t exist or else this would have to be His fault. It’s stupid and embarrassing, but I guess for as long as we’ve existed, humans have tried to use situations like this as evidence He can’t exist, instead of evidence that we live in a fallen reality which His word explains in detail as the result of sin. What really gets me, is that even though I’m now completely confident in my salvation, and certainly of His existence, these moments still cause me to fight off those feelings. I’ve asked Him to heal me, He hasn’t, so the flesh asks, “I’ve seen you do it for others, where are you God?” So I pull out the sword and fight back with the comfort of Isaiah 55:
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
I have to humble myself under that and realize He is definitely still here.
I’ve avoided attention to this situation and frankly don’t care for visitors, so I’m not telling you this for pity. I’ll take your prayers because I know what they’re capable of, but I really just want to challenge you with what I’m being challenged by. I feel like the Christians who truly figure out how to walk with God are the ones who manage to stop taking each day for granted. I confess that as of late I have failed miserably.
With God as my witness, I rededicated myself about two weeks ago, but He’s allowing this to help me understand just how deep that surrender needs to be. I knew I had been taking Him for granted, but now He’s shown me other relationships I’ve taken for granted, and that I’ve definitely taken my physical life for granted.
As much as I don’t like attention, what would it feel like if nobody was here by my side? I’m staring at a wife who is soldiering through this without hesitation, and I’ve been a fool for not loving her more! I’ve neglected to treat my body as the temple it is and frankly, it’s no wonder I’m back in here.
God is telling me that life is short, and I need to focus on finishing my race well as a good and faithful servant who loves Him, loves others, and takes care of myself. The atheistic response to this situation is that life is short and I better selfishly enjoy it by any means necessary. I’m afraid that although I’m no longer an atheist, I’ve still been living like one. I know by experience that actual satisfaction and joy come from God’s plan, while hedonistic selfishness is always hollow. I’ve been a fool, have you?
You don’t have to answer this in the comments, but I suggest you do so in the mirror—what are you taking for granted today?
Editor’s note: Please join us in praying for Nathan’s recovery and healing. Please lift his wife up, as well.