Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Ps 37:3, 4, NIV.
Retirement. As we traveled from Washington, D.C., to Nashville, Tennessee, I frequently said it loudly: "We are going home." After all those years of travel, preaching, and administration, we wondered what lay ahead. We had visions of rose beds, tomato vines, house beautiful, and vacations dancing in our heads.
Dot and I arrived at our new home on Wednesday, August 14, 1991. Days of excitement followed: boxes to unpack, flowers to plant, people to see, and even a visit to the physician for my annual physical checkup. The doctor found no problems—in fact, he was surprised that I was so healthy.
"Keep this up and you'll reach 120," he smiled.
Would anyone be surprised at the doctor's report? After all, I exercised daily, watched my diet, and lived a positive lifestyle. I was always happy. At the General Conference I was heavily involved in a fitness program. In fact, I was known as "Mr. Healthy."
But a big surprise was in store for us. Exactly six weeks later I was recovering from quadruple bypass surgery on my heart. Shock. Impossible. Heredity compounded by stress, the doctor told us.
Recovery was hard for me, partially because I was afraid and partially because I couldn't believe this was happening to me. During those long hours I quoted God's promises. My favorite was Psalm 37.
Little did I know that this was to be the first of five surgeries that would come within two and a half years, including prostate cancer and a gangrenous gallbladder.
Yes, at times I rebelled, but never did my faith fail me. I always knew God loved me and suffered with me.
Today I'm involved in speaking appointments, active in our local church, exercising, and yes, tending the roses. I have greater respect for the laws of health and encourage others to follow them. I sincerely receive each day as a precious gift from God in which I am to bless others as I glorify my Saviour.
Going home has a deeper, richer meaning to me now. And "Straight Ahead" is still my motto and theme.
"Think of Christ. Look to Him in faith, believing His promises. Keep your mind trustful. He will be your stay. Lean on Him, depend on Him. . . . Put your trust in One whose arm will never fail you. . . . But looking to Jesus you will find encouragement" (Selected Messages, book 2, p. 265).
Used by permission of Health Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.
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