A few months ago my wife started experiencing a dull pain in her upper abdomen. Over the course of a few weeks the pain progressed in severity, longevity, and frequency. Soon it was so intense that after every meal she was curled up on the couch in extreme pain that lasted between two to four hours; and this happened several times each day! After two absolutely awful days we took her to the emergency room where (after waiting for four hours) they ran a gamut of tests (all deciphering absolutely nothing) and sent us home. My wife toughed out the next few days and slowly her stomach returned back to its normal digestive habits. And though her stomach is now pretty much back to normal, I am not. Ever since that month, I have been overly aware (and honestly afraid) of any and every health problem that arises in her, because I have seen how quickly things can go badly and how little I can do to solve them. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, that month was as traumatizing for me as it was for Liliya because it stripped me of all my false sense of security that life and health are always going to be there and that things are always going to be happy and bright. The reality is, things can drastically change in an instant. Our bodies can give up and shut down in any millions of ways. A stroke or an infection might significantly alter the way that you or your spouse experience life. A heart attack or cancer might end it altogether.
That month I experienced a wake-up call.
All these years I had been taking health for granted and now the Lord has shown me that each day of health and life is a gift. It doesn’t have to always be there. Indeed, it might be removed at any instant.
Some might think that this is an awful way to live (with a constant awareness of our mortality and frailty), and in a sense they are right: it's not fun to always be thinking about how quickly I, my wife, or my daughter might be dead. But in another sense, it is amazingly freeing to be cuttingly aware of our mortality. It helps us realize that we are completely reliant on our Heavenly Father for our existence. It helps us realize that we are truly living on borrowed time...that each second and each breath is a gift from God. It helps us to be thankful for what time and health we have. It helps us to prioritize what is important and what in our lives needs to be reconsidered. As we stare our mortality in the eyes we are able to live wisely and rightly. I am thankful for the gift of our delicate lives and for the reminder He recently gave me of their frailty. I know I’m probably still a little too anxious about all of the health stuff, and I am working on trusting a sovereign and loving God with my life and the lives of my wife and daughter. Yet at the same time, I don’t want to lose this awareness of life’s fragility. I want to stare my mortality in the face so that I might live well and honor God. Lord help me do it!
Psalm 90:12 Teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.