In the introduction to Psalms 365: Develop a Life of Worship and Prayer, which will be released about a month from now, I make this statement, “Whatever state you find yourself in, there’s a psalm for that—a psalm for every situation and human need.”
When you make statements like that you can expect your words to be put to the test. And they have!
This summer on July 16th, I collapsed on the floor of my study, and was rushed to hospital by ambulance. On July 24th, I had open-heart valve repair surgery. Three of my heart’s four valves needed repair.
The recovery process has been long, slow and painful, but it’s now apparent the worst is behind me.
What have I learned during that time? It can be summarized in the verse pictured below.
When your flesh and your heart fail, is God there to receive you—to strengthen you?
From personal experience, I can now say, “Yes, He is. God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
This verse from the Psalms speaks of resilience—a resilience that comes from a relationship with God. He is after all the God of resurrection and restoration. It’s this heaven-born resilience that we all need during these trying times of economic woes and pandemic setbacks.
My collapse this summer came as a shock, but it wasn’t totally unexpected. For my entire adult life, I was aware that I had heart issues. At age seventeen in preparation for college entrance, I was diagnosed with a barely perceptible heart murmur, technically called a mitral valve prolapse. None of this hindered my involvement in sports or fitness activities. In fact, later in life, my cardiologist encouraged me to stay active and go jogging.
I largely followed that advice. In the months and days before my collapse, I was averaging 10,000 steps per day on a weekly basis. The day before my first fainting spell I did 41 pushups extending myself out from the seat of a chair. Not too shabby for a 68 year-old man.
Suddenly, despite superior fitness, my flesh and my heart failed me. Did my heart fail me during an exercise routine? No. I collapsed while sitting at my desk staring at a computer screen. Apparently, sudden reversals like this are common for people with heart valve disfunctions.
The road to recovery has been hard on this old body—despite my recovery being aided by overall fitness before my collapse.
When your heart and flesh fail God is free to step in. You have nothing left. The reserve you need doesn’t come from within. It comes directly from Him. “Underneath are the everlasting arms.” See Deuteronomy 33:26-28.
Heart issues are best left in His hands.