Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Long Life

That you may fear the LORD your God...by keeping all his statues and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. Deuteronomy 6:2

Today, as we celebrate my husband's 56th birthday, I am reflecting on life and health. Many well-meaning friends and family members have inquired about whether or not we are worried about the recent Ebola outbreak since we live in Africa. In fact, even last year a precious Christian sister asked if I was “willing to sacrifice my health” by working so hard here.

When we were back in the US for the 2013-14 holiday season I was shocked at how health-obsessed our fellow Americans have become. Of course we take precautions, and try to eat right and get enough exercise. But we didn't move to the area of the world with the highest rate of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis for our health. And it is definitely a little harder here to find gluten-free products, or heck, even whole wheat anything. Malaria, deadly snakes, and a murder rate roughly six times higher than it is in the USA are only some of the challenges we face here, so I am just thankful for clean drinking water and three meals a day. We are not ignorant or foolhardy; neither are we heroes. We are simply doing our flawed best to be Jesus followers.

Matthew 10: 38-39 And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Just last week a friend in the US died unexpectedly. We are mourning his loss. His death is a poignant reminder of something I prefer to face head-on. We are all going to die. I'd rather focus on fearing the Lord and living passionately for Him than obsessing over my own life. I feel safer right in the center of His will than anywhere else. I trust Him and His promises.

Exodus 15:26 If you will diligently listen to the voice of the LORD your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, your healer.

Psalm 91:16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.

Call me crazy, but I pray we all become more concerned about our dying brothers and sisters worldwide, and being Jesus' compassionate hands and feet to those who are suffering. John Donne's classic poem speaks more eloquently that I ever will in expressing my heart.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

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