By Phil Wood
Scripture: Psalm 23
Today, Good Friday 2019, marks my second full year of life since the night my heart stopped. It was sudden, out of nowhere – no warning, no pain. I lay down for a minute before heading to the Good Friday service at church and, when I lifted my head back up, everything was swirling.
There's a gadget in my chest now that takes over whenever my heart tries to pull those shenanigans but, for me, there's no longer any getting around the truth that any given moment could be my last. I'm not conscious of this 100 percent of the time, but darn close.
This may sound like a terrible way to live but, actually, it's not. It's the best way to live. Every moment is a gift to be cherished.
Recently I came across a quote from a man named Pedro Arrupe, a Basque missionary who happened to be in Japan when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Years later he had a series of strokes and wrote this in his journal:
"More than ever I find myself in the hands of God. This is what I have wanted all my life, from my youth. But now there is a difference. The initiative is entirely with God. It is indeed a profound spiritual experience to know and feel myself to be totally in God's hands."
And so I find myself, not walking in fear, but walking in faith. God and I have a deal: as long as he keeps sustaining me, I keep walking and trusting and pouring myself out. It's that simple, and that beautiful.
For many, it takes a lifetime of baby steps (with lots of backsliding) to even approach such a level of trust and surrender. For some it takes an atomic bomb and a series of strokes. For me it took a frightening stoppage of the heart. And I still forget frequently!
But as my new favorite writer, Anne Lamott, once wrote, "To have prayed to know God's care firsthand, without mediation, and to give thanks for the gift...to know that God's maternal hands hold one's life, like a baby...that is so not me, and is really all that I want."