She stumbled out of the doctor's office that day, feeling like she had just received a death sentence. See, Leigh's dad died of a heart attack when he was only thirty five, and she was about that age when she got diagnosed with high blood pressure. The doctor wrote her a prescription and said she would be fine as long as she took the medication--probably for the rest of her life.
She felt the sting.
My friend could have let that diagnosis cripple her, but she didn't. Her mother said, "Leigh, you can sit around the house worrying about this, or you can live and have fun and love your family. It's your choice."
That was two years ago. Leigh took her mom's advice. She made some good choices about exercise and nutrition and discipline. Leigh no longer needs medication because she no longer has high blood pressure.
I wonder if you've ever felt the sting of a death sentence. Maybe the sting came, like Leigh's did, in the form of a dreaded diagnosis. Or, maybe, you experienced the sting of death in a relationship. A marriage. A career. Or a dream.
I've sure felt that kind of sting before. Well, truthfully, I'm feeling it pretty strong right now. But you know, we're not the only ones who have dealt with a death sentence.
This guy named Paul can so relate to us. I mean he went through some bad stuff. Like being shipwrecked and beaten up and put in prison a few times.
He suffered so much that he thought there was no hope and no way out and no way through. He wrote these words: Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death (2 Corinthians 1:9a).
Yeah, I think if Paul were alive today, he might commiserate with us a little bit because he's been there and done that. And I think that he would remind us of a promise that he chose to believe. Paul penned these words:
But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will continue to deliver us. On Him we have set our hope that He will continue to deliver us (2 Corinthians 1: 9b - 10).
Paul chose to remember how God had delivered him in the past. He chose to believe that God would deliver him again. He chose hope over helplessness.
Sweet girl, we can learn from Paul. He didn't sit around the house worrying and fretting and getting in a tizzy about his situation. I don't think that we should either. Yes, it's tempting to shut others out--to shut down. A sting hurts.
The sting of a death sentence hurts real bad.
But our loving God has promised to deliver us from death's sting. He sent His only Son, the Promised One, as proof that He could deliver the promise in full.
It's our choice. We can choose to live and have fun and love our families and believe. And have hope. [And write]. Or we can choose to let our spirit and our heart atrophy.
I so love these words:
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10: 23).
Paul, the guy who felt the sting of a death sentence in his heart, wrote this verse. Don't you love it? The One who made the promise keeps His promise. Always. Always, sweet girl. I wish that I could sit beside you, and we would read over and over He who promised is faithful. He who promised is faithful.
He who promised is faithful.
And while we may still feel the sting, together we would choose to believe and to hope.
And we would say we will hold unswervingly to the hope we profess.
Because He who promised is faithful.
Our loving God.
And He is faithful.