Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's Our Choice

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.

He promised.

And He is faithful.

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  1. Oh, Deb - it's so good to see a post from you! I have missed you! Praying things are well with your friend. Thought of the words of Jer. 29:11 a few times as I read it, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you hope and a future." God is faithful!

    Praying, too, for you and yours this blessed Christmas season. May it be full!


    - Leah

  2. Welcome back, dear Deb.

    This is a fitting Christmas post...hope. He is completely trustworthy. We need not fear if we're holding on to Him.

    Have a blessed Christmas!


  3. Deb,

    I am so glad you decided to write again. I have missed it so much.

    Choices, what a huge word.....

    Hope, what a wonderful word....

    I Love You,
    Next to Big Sis

  4. I have felt the sting too....and we so glad to see you had a new post today. I have missed your encouraging words. Thank you for this post today.

  5. Hi Deb, glad to see you're back. Yes, I think if we're alive long enough, we all get stings. The scriptural solution is the only one. Thanks.

  6. I've missed you!!

    This is so true, Deb. We can choose hope.

  7. The Ugly Art of Worry - that's not how God wants us to handle our challenges. Yes! Faith - standing on faith - the hope of that faith! Makes me even more glad of that first Christmas!

    Welcome back! Missed you!

  8. Yes, sister, I have felt the sting of death. It's been potent at times over these past three months. Thinking upon my cancer and feeling the effects of the cancer diagnosis has been daunting, challenging my faith at every turn. But, like Paul, I've chosen to embrace the situation rather than grow inward and bitter. I'm living my life out loud, believing that even the small investments I make into the lives of others is serving the kingdom well.

    Keep to it sister. Good to see you hear again. I've missed your words!