Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
A couple of years ago, the Newsweek magazine ran an article on “Faith and Healing”. The article began with this upsetting story:
On a quiet Saturday afternoon, Ming He, a fourth-year medical student in Dallas, came across a man dying in the VA Hospital. Suffering from a rare cancer and hooked up to an oxygen tank, the man, an Orthodox Jew, could barely breathe, let alone speak. There were no friends or relatives by his bed to comfort him. When the young student walked into his room, the man looked at her and said, ‘Now that I’m dying, I realize that I never really learned how to live.’ Ming He, 26, had no idea how to respond.
What would you say to a dying person that says, I realise I never really learned to live? One thing about life is certain: it’s full of uncertainty. You may make plans but there are no guarantees—I think we all realise that. How do we prepare for uncertain events or even control them? Uncertainty is a part of life and it can’t be avoided.
Understanding the reasons behind our actions
A stress consultant I heard about used to say to his clients:
People who live a full life don’t pretend that bad or undesirable things don’t happen—they just tend to learn more from those situations. Because they are willing to learn from life, they can be more grateful for the lessons that come.
- What are your values?
- What matters to you in personal and professional life?
- What energises you and motivates you?
- Will you be the guide of your life or will your life guide you?
They are important questions.
Having a few good friends is vital to a happy life. A 2017 study in the journal Personal Relationships found that it can be friends, not family, who matter most. The study looked at 270,000 people in nearly 100 countries and found that, while both family and friends are associated with happiness and better health, as people aged, the health link remained only for people with strong friendships. Those who live alone are susceptible to depression and illness. They have no one to share life’s ups and downs with.
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A little girl asks her mother, Mommy, why do you cut off the ends of the meat before you cook it? The girl’s mother goes on to tell her that she thought that it adds flavour by allowing the meat to better absorb the spices, but perhaps she had better ask her grandma since she had learned it from her. So the little girl finds the grandmother and asks, Grandma, why do you and mommy chop off the ends of the meat before you cook it?
Her grandmother thinks a moment and says, I think it allows the meat to stay tender because it soaks up the juices better, but why don’t you ask your Nana because after all, I learned from her and she’s always done it that way. The little girl is getting a little frustrated, but climbs up in her great-grandmother’s lap and asks, Nana, why do you cut the ends off of the meat before you cook it? Nana answers, I don’t know why these women do it, but I did it because my pot wasn’t big enough.
The promise of an abundant life
How many times do we walk through life blindly, without knowing the purpose for the way that we live our lives? Jesus said, “I’ve come that they might have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10 – ISV). Abundant life? Is that really possible to have? That’s what Christians talk about in this life. It’s not something you have in the bank—it’s what God gives you. It’s his gift to you. It’s about the words peace, grace, love and wisdom.
The Bible tells us that wealth, prestige, position, and power in this world are not God’s priorities for us. In the Old Testament we read about Solomon who had all the material blessings available to a man yet found it all to be meaningless (Ecclesiastes 5:10-15).The great Christian missionary and apostle Paul, on the other hand, was content in whatever physical circumstances he found himself (Philippians 4:11-12).
Jesus came into the world so that we can have life because he is the embodiment of life. He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 – NIV). This life means eternal life in heaven. Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we now have a way to be reconciled with God and have eternal life with him in heaven.