an evening at the hospital

I spent election eve getting a CT chest scan to look for blood clots in my lungs. I may have had COVID, back in October. I certainly have pneumonia now, could be COVID-related or just pneumonia. No blood clots, I’m recovering, doing OK, getting back on the horse (some days the horse is still on me). I’m thankful for the experience, the dye and machine were strange and different. It did give some perspective on life, as I watched some election results and listened to my jazz playlist, waiting to know what my lungs looked like. What if this is really serious? What does that mean for my day-to-day activities? What am I responsible for? I can’t control the election results or what my neighbor does. Who am I? Where am I going? What do I have to do today? Have you ever had a “set you back right” experience and asked yourself these questions? How do you respond? That evening I thought about three Bible verses that clarified my purpose.

Personally, I was reminded of what David said in Psalm 27:4, “One thing I asked of the Lord, that I will seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” The house of the Lord must be a sweet place to live every day. I wonder how big the TV screens are? Really, the “house of the Lord” was His tabernacle and temple, back in David’s day, but it truly was bigger than that. It was symbolic of Himself, His presence, living with, in, and among His people. That’s where His beauty could be seen, in the tabernacle, temple, His own people. And that’s where you can ask questions of Him, and He will answer. It is to live in God’s presence wherever you go, to have constant communion and fellowship with Him. What really matters every day? Living with God in His presence. That’s the direction I’m headed.

Then, not just me but a bigger circle, I thought about my family. After all that God had done, Joshua told the people in 24:15, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” I am responsible to lead my wife and children and church family to serve the Lord. We serve by obeying. We serve by worshipping. We serve sincerely and faithfully. We put away the false and evil and choose the true and living God. No double-mindedness, no quarter for the enemy. Straight and true and forward focus on the Lord, walking with Him in His presence and serving. We as a family, not ever perfect, will work towards serving the Lord. What really matters every day? Serving God in His presence. That’s the direction I’m headed.

And in an even bigger scope, I remembered what Paul wrote in Philippians 1:21, “To live is Christ, to die is gain.” At any point, if I live I live for Jesus, and if I die I die for Jesus. If that’s from illness or an accident on the interstate, no matter. Everyday alive is to know Him better, see Him clearer, walk with Him closer, worship Him deeper. But “to die is gain” – how? This is a mystery, a riddle. Where am I going if I die? Death for the Christian is not a loss but a win. It is heading to the promised land and arriving home, to the joy and open arms of a welcoming family. There will be no tear or false or hurt in that place; what’s not to gain? Jesus is there we will live in glory forever. What really matters every day? Arriving with God in His presence, face to face. That’s the direction I’m headed.

So, I am continuing in recovery, taking it easy, not splitting wood or running a marathon today (farthest I ever run is to the fridge for a snack, actually). Where am I today? Who am I? Where am I going? What do I have to do today? How do you respond?

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