After I awoke from a lowered level of consciousness that lasted about 40 days after a heart attack, I needed to have a little conversation with myself.
Now, there are many people who think talking to yourself may, at the least, seem a little one-sided. Okay. I admit God was a part of this conversation. It also involved a decision on my part.
The conversation started after our daughter, Cathy, went down to the hospital gift shop and bought me a Bible. Somehow, she knew just what I needed. I opened it to Psalm 107, a psalm that has a recurring theme. That theme is found in four of its verses: “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men,” (Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31).
God loves us so much that he spent thousands of years bringing about a solution to sin and death — something man himself brought into the world. When Adam and Eve fell by transgression, death entered and brought all kinds of diseases with it. Since death came, the mechanisms of death necessarily followed.
This was not something God wanted. It was something God wanted man to avoid and so he told him not to eat of a specific tree (Genesis 2:9; 3:2-3). Adam and Eve ignored God’s warning and his command and death entered into the world.
You see, it was not God’s fault that I suffered a heart attack and almost died. In many ways I contributed to what happened because of my lifestyle choices. I had not watched my weight and had not exercised even though I had bypass surgery 12 years before that New Year’s Eve.
So, I’m partly to blame and the consequences of sin are too. Since sin entered the world, death was the consequence. True, God appoints man to die (Hebrews 9:27), but the mechanism of action is not God’s doing.
Here’s proof of that. The apostle Paul wrote that by man death came (1 Corinthians 15:21) and then he wrote that death is the enemy of Christ, the last enemy to fall at the end of the world (1 Corinthians 15:24-26). Accusing God of making me sick is absurd because death is not his weapon. It belongs exclusively to Satan.
God has done everything he can to abolish the consequences of sin and death by giving us his son to bleed and die in our stead for our sins (Galatians 3:10-14). The conversation I had with myself was necessary to help me understand that.
It was necessary for me to admit this was not God’s fault. King David told me why I needed to admit this when he wrote, “…so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment,” (Psalm 51:4 ESV).
Because of that conversation late at night in a hospital room with myself, my tears could flow in thanksgiving to what God had done. By his grace and mercy he brought me back from the brink of death and had given me an opportunity to fill my life with purpose and thanksgiving just as Psalm 107 taught me. “Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!”