The First Day of the Rest of Your Life

November 9, 2009

So, you’ve heard the expression, this is the first day of the rest of your life? Well, this truly is the first day of the rest of my life.

So, before Christmas last year I was diagnosed with Type-2 Diabetes. I thought my life was over. It just seemed surreal. Pricking my fingers constantly, watching what to eat (and not just watch it going into my mouth), exercising. I was reaping years of poor eating habits and laziness. For years I had heard about getting in shape from those who cared, and frankly, I didn’t.

When you’re married though you’re not just living for yourself anymore. It’s one thing for your mom to tell you to get into shape, it’s another when your wife is worried how long she’ll have you around after only a year of marriage. Yet, I still didn’t do what I should. I made excuses not to exercise, I cheated on my eating by getting a candy bar when I filled up with gas and other such things.

Then my mom was also diagnosed with Type-2 Diabetes. The contrast to how she approached it and I approached it was night and day. She immediately removed the carbohydrates from her diet and checked her blood sugar levels constatly. In the short time since being diagnosed she has lost an incredible amount of weight. Now, the doctors are allowing her to go off her diabetes medications and regulate her sugars by diet alone. I’m still popping Metformin daily! They told her if she lost some more weight basically the diabetes would be reversed and she could eat whatever she wanted again. Here I am, unchanged size wise, and really, unchanged habits wise. Just maintaining.

Now, I have a little one on the way. I’m not just living for me, or for my wife, but for my unborn son or daughter. Would they prefer a father who will be around a long time or only a short time. A no brainer to be sure.

And, as the new pastor of a church, I have a church family I live for too. I promised them to be with them for the rest of my life should the Lord take me, they direct me out, or the Spirit does. It would seem to be better for the rest of my life to be 60 years and not 20-30.

So, today was the first day of the rest of my life. With the Lord’s help I’m turning a new page in my life. I’m not living for myself. I’m not letting my body be my master. I am going to master my body.

So now, I’m severly limiting my carb intake. I’m going to get my blood sugars into good levels and lose some serious weight. I even went out and bought that protein shake stuff today to take to help boost my protein intake! And I started the Power90 system today with 40 minutes of serious cardio. I feel dead now. But…

Through the faint scent of death… I also see life. Hope. Time. Time is always against us. We have a few short years to serve Christ here on earth. I’m resolved to increase those years as much as possible to do as much as I can for Christ, my family, my church, and the world that I can do before the Lord calls me home. And if the Lord calls me home sooner rather than later, it won’t because I let the curse win. I am going to beat my body into submission and make it my servant.

Pray with me now that I would have the strength to commit to this and stay with this. I’m getting myself healthy, fit, and trim. I plan to be here for many, many more years serving my church, loving my wife, and raising my children.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life… and life is good.

This Illness Does Not Lead to Death…

December 22, 2008

“But when Jesus heard it he said, ‘This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it'” (John 11:4, ESV).

On Friday December 19 I found out I had Type-2 Diabetes. I had previously found there was a good chance of this on the previous Wednesday. Unlike others who comment on life threatening afflictions and note no worry or fear and a perfect trust and reliance in God, like the Psalmist of old I railed against my God. I was fearful and I worried. I cried and I shouted. This was one of the hardest things I could face in my life.

It started previous to this last week when, in applying for some life insurance, I was turned down and told some results of my blood work were the reason and it was sent to my doctor. It took some time before I found out the results of the blood work. My blood glucose was very high (3 times the normal amount). It worried me quite a lot. That was Tuesday morning. I spent the rest of the day in the office struggling to understand it all. I thought I was too young to experience some life changing medical condition. I thought, I will have to deal with this the rest of my life. I didn’t want to bear the many things I had become accustomed to in life and consider taking medication for the rest of my life and pricking my fingers day in and day out until I exploded in frustration. I closed my office door and cried. I cried and I cried. 

My wife was away with her parents in Pennsylvania which made it all the harder. I called her but it was as if she were a million miles away. I was so worried and scared about it all. I couldn’t find the “peace” that so many claimed to find when finding out about life changing conditions. Instead I cried out to God for Him to explain how this was just and righteous of Him. I cried out for mercy and for freedom from this. I even held out hope that perhaps the results were wrong and that when I went for further tests I would find out I didn’t have diabetes. That was misplaced hope.

My wife though said one thing to me in an e-mail that Tuesday that helped me put things into perspective. It was “I think we need to just calm down here.” She was right. I needed to calm down. I didn’t even know for sure I had diabetes at that stage but it was good to hear. I needed to calm down and remember God is sovereign and in control and fully good. I struggled still with it, but even come Friday when the doctor told me officially I had diabetes and that I had to start taking medication and adjust my diet and start pricking my fingers, I was not as upset. And as I shared with my wife in reflecting on this rather sudden change in our lives (the one thing my wife noted was how young I am; she anticipated having to deal with things like this but not so early in our marriage), John 11:4 came to my mind.

Now, the context of John 11 is the sickness, death, and resurrection of Lazarus. Lazarus’ sisters sent to Jesus to tell him he was sick. Jesus replied, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Now, Lazarus did die, but Jesus allowed this for a greater showing of His glory through the resurrection of Lazarus. But, this still brings comfort to me.

While diabetes is a serious illness, it is not one that leads to death. Sure, it can contribute to death, and of course death faces all of us, but if one is careful at how he manages his diet, gets exercise, and check his sugar often, he can live a long and normal life. So, I revel in that this illness does not lead to death. I can have many years of ministry and many long years with my wife. One day the Lord will take me to be with Him, but even then, through my relationship with Jesus Christ, even whatever illness that leads to my physical death will not lead to my spiritual death as I await the incorruptible to cover over corruptible; as I wait for an eternity of worshipping and glorifying my great Lord and Saviour.

So, this illness does not lead to death. And as the Lord told Paul long ago, my grace is sufficient for you. His grace is still sufficient for me, and Lord willing God would be glorified in this illness. That is my prayer. That the Lord would help me to live my life in a way that prolongs my life upon the earth so I have more time to serve Him and serve my family. I pray that I can be a solid testimony of the reality of sin and its effects but also of the peace and grace that are available to us through Christ Jesus. Will I struggle and become frustrated in this condition? I most certainlywill. Do I worry any longer? No. I know that my God provides all I need for a life of faith and godliness through Christ Jesus my Lord. And my prayer then is for many long years of life on this earth so I can glorfiy my God in all that I do, including living with this illness that does not lead to death.