In health and fitness, I am ever mindful of the obsession America has with physical appearance . The unfortunate truth is that a large portion of people will flock to a fitness website before they will set foot inside a church. I can guarantee you that, unless you die suddenly, there will come a time when how fit you are, how fast you are, how strong you are, or how young you look will no longer matter. Why? Because you will run face-to-face with this truth: this life is not all that there is.
I worked for a YMCA in the pool teaching water exercise and guarding the safety of the members in the pool. One of the classes I taught was a Arthritis Foundation water exercise class. Not only did we have people with arthritis, but we also had people with MS. Multiple Sclerosis is a nasty disease. Some of those people were vivacious and very physically active until one day, something wasn't right. Balance and coordination problems cropped up. Muscle spasms contorted fingers and toes into excruciating pain. Visual distortions began causing problems along with mental fogginess. Their lives were changed forever. One woman was diagnosed as a teenager. She was an athlete on swim team, but by the time I met her, she was just happy to get into the water to do simple exercises. Her sister, also a victim of MS, used a walker, then later was relegated to a wheel chair. When things like this happen, people cannot rely on their own physical capabilities and appearances.
Another case I remember was a beautiful young woman who came to a recreation center pool where I worked in Pennsylvania. She came in with an automated wheelchair. She was strapped in and used a joy stick on the handle to move her chair. She was totally unable to keep herself upright. Her head was supported by a special cushion. Her mother and the physical therapist lifted her out of her chair to put her into the pool. I found out that she had been a nurse and was the mother of a little girl. One tragic day, a drunk driver turned her life upside down. When you don't have the ability to control your body anymore, your priorities change.
According to Isaiah 40:6-8, we learn that all flesh is as grass and the beauty of the flowers is temporary. It all withers and fades. Our lives are like that, too. Why are we so stuck on ourselves? Probably because it is something we can see and feel, something we believe we can control--until something changes. The truth of the matter is that God is so much greater. His Word stands forever. When the chips are down, what truly matters is whether or not we know Him.
Through the rest of the passage, the focus is on the power, the majesty, and the sovereignty of God. There is no one like Him. It is upon His power and His sovereign Hand we can trust. In verses 29-31 we read that God Almighty gives us the strength we need. He picks us up and carries us when we can't do it ourselves. He literally holds our lives in His Hands. People, our focus is skewed! It's not what we can do or how we look because that will all be gone one day. What we should focus on first is our relationship with God.
One November morning in 2002, I woke up feeling like a truck hit me. My head and arms felt as though they had huge heavy weights. I could barely get out of the bed to call in to work sick. "Certainly, I have that flu that's been going around," I thought. But that flu didn't go away. After several doctor's visits and medical testing, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Five years later, I was diagnosed with celiac disease. Thankfully, God allowed me to regain a good portion of my physical abilities. I think He pulls the rug out from under me every once in a while to remind me that there is absolutely nothing I can do on my own power; it's all Him. He's no sadist. He loves me. As a result, I have to rely on God and stay close to Him. I will never forget that. I love exercise and helping people become healthier; it is a passion of mine. But I would be horribly negligent as a Christian to focus only on health and fitness, without sharing the Truth of God's Word with you. "And you shall know thetruth, and thetruth shall make youfree.”John 8:32
It's time for us to get our priorities straight. God first, others second, us third. (Matthew 22:36-40) That's the way it works. You can try to believe that God doesn't exist or doesn't matter; His existence isn't dependent upon your belief. He's not Santa Claus. He is God Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth. He died on the cross for your sins because He loves you. He rose again to offer you new life. When you are on your deathbed, all you will have left is your relationship with God and your relationship with people. What will you do then? Will you spend eternity forever separated from God? Or would you rather spend it with Him? Hell is an eternal separation from God. In fact, there is an end for those who choose to not accept the gift of salvation: to burn in the Lake of Fire, the Second Death. No one is ever forced to spend eternity with God, instead we have a choice. Read Revelation 20-21 to find out the end of the story.The choice is yours.
If you would like to have a relationship with God, you can pray this:"Dear God, I am a sinner. I am sorry. Thank you for Jesus dying on the cross for me. I deserve the punishment for what I've thought, said, and done. Please, Jesus, come into my life. Make me a new person. Be the Lord of my life. Thank you that I can spend eternity in Heaven with you. Amen."
If you prayed to accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord, I'd love to hear about it! Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
God bless you!
Rock climbing picture from 2010. It took me three tries because my hands wanted to let go from muscle fatigue, but I made it. It was all God!