I’ll never forget the day that almost ended my life. I had been struggling with pain in my leg and shortness of breath for weeks. I had finally arrived at the understanding that something was really wrong with me. It wasn’t going to get better on it’s own. I never connected the two symptoms until someone else connected them for me and even then I found it hard to believe.
That morning, the walk from the parking lot to the reception desk was only a few hundred feet but it might as well been a mile. By the time I reached the door I couldn’t breathe, let alone speak. I was having a hard time seeing. Putting together the words I needed to tell the receptionist who I was seemed nearly impossible. Even then, once I had been ushered into an exam room I told all the medical personnel around me that they didn’t need to worry because I had everything under control. I was sure they were over reacting.
After an in-office EKG, which I thought was overkill, and a few words with the supervising Dr, I was told that an ambulance was on it’s way. The hospital they were taking me to was within view of the parking lot I had just come from but no one was going to let me get in my car and drive even two blocks. As I retell the story, I can see the wisdom in their cautiousness but as a participant I was annoyed with all the drama.
After an extremely short ambulance ride I sat in the ER and waited to hear the diagnosis. I had received 100% Oxygen on the ride over and was feeling a lot better. I could breathe again and thought I would soon be on my way home. The truth of what was going on was more serious and more life threatening than I could have ever imagined. Only now, do I truly recognize the danger I was in. I had two blood clots in my legs and multiple(too many to count) pulmonary embolisms in my lungs. My lungs were filling up with hard blood clots and that is why it was becoming more and more difficult to draw enough breath.
The real and present danger I was in was that one of those clots could come loose and find it’s way to my brain or my heart. I was put on strict bed rest. The kind of rest that required that I didn’t move one inch off of my bed for the next 5 days.
I was having a hard time really soaking up what I was being told and wondering to myself if I would comply with this prescription. It was then that the nurse said to me,
“These are not just idle words for you, this is your life!”
I ran across those words again today as I read the story of when the Israelites were about to enter the land that God had promised them. Moses, the only leader they had known, was not being permitted to go with them. He was leaving them with instructions for their future when he said,
Deuteronomy 32: 45-47 “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you may command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you-they are your life. By them you will live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess.”
Do I treat the Bible as if it is my very life?
Honestly, many times I read the Bible out of habit, or obligation or because it’s expected of me. I skim it or look for the highlighted parts not really soaking up what it says; not even wanting to really understand what it says.
What would my life look like if I treated it as if it is my very life?
As a young adult, I remember seeing the Bible of a man I highly respected. It was laying open on his desk in the middle of the day as if he had been actively consulting it. It was full of highlights and post it notes, it was tattered and the pages were curled. I could tell that it was well read and I desperately wanted to pick it up and inspect it.
What I knew about this man and his character aligned with the Bible that I was looking at on his desk and in that moment I set a goal for myself. I wanted my Bible to look like his one day.
I’m still working on that goal. Sometimes I hit the target and there are other whole seasons of my life that my Bible has laid collecting dust in a corner.
Today, I’m writing out a card that says, “These are not just idle words for you, they are your life.” I’m going to put it on my mirror to remind me of the truth. To remind me that I have been given the gift of Life if only I would open it. Not to comply would be to reject “life” itself.
One of my favorite songs, Word of God Speak by Mercy Me
*My refection today was inspired by the book, Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and Richard Blackaby. This is a wonderful devotional/journal for daily Bible reading.*