“But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God” (1 Samuel 30.6b ESV).
I met a doctor recently. I told him that we have so many fine physicians in our flock that if I ever had to call, “Is there a doctor in the house?” half of the congregation would stand up!” That of course is a bit hyperbolic. But I did tell them about the time, and some of you will remember this, the young man who collapsed in our 11:00 Worship Service. I am not sure if it was during “Just as I Am without One Plea” or “Stand up, Stand up for Jesus” but this college boy hit the deck…I mean the pew! He just fell over. Thankfully, a doctor was over to him in no time, and the paramedics carried him off. We later learned that he had been cramming for tests, hadn’t really slept in about 48 hours, and was living on left over “thin and crispy” pizza and diet coke for longer than that! No wonder. And, mercifully, the young man was back in church and I later had the joy of congratulating him as he graduated from college. And we were all blessed by the quick, compassionate and professional response of our doctor that day.
As I write, I am writing in a little room with a breeze blowing in through a window. My wife and son are here. We have been enjoying time with some other children. And our passion right now is trying to identify the many bird songs that are wafting through our breezeway. I am enjoying the many colors of hydrangea, daisies, and daylilies, skirting multi colored cottages, all cast beneath a blue sky, with puffy clouds that would have made the perfect vista for Constable’s paintings. In a word, I taste life. And that is what taking a bit of a vacation is all about. Most of us don’t have to drive far to taste life, and it is possible to even have that right where you are today. In fact, those who learn to do so are most blessed. But, like Jesus, stealing away to a quiet place, or to a mountain, or maybe seashore, does refresh and renew the senses. But living life in the fast lane with no shoulder, like most of us in the twenty first century, is a bit like eating pizza and drinking diet coke with no sleep for 48 hours, while you’re cramming for trig, English Lit and physics.
This can also happen to us in our spiritual lives. We live on meager amounts of Scripture, prayer, communion with Christ, meditation on His life and death, fellowship and community with God’s people, and then go make huge, life altering decisions, or, even more serious, we try and live with others recovering sinners in that God ordained environment called “family.”
How do we do it? Cramming won’t do. But seeking the ordinary means of grace, Word, Sacrament and Prayer, will always lead us to hope and help and strength for the things we face in life. David, we are told, during a difficult time in his life, “Strengthened himself in the Lord.”
I pray for you today. I pray that you can put down the remote and pick up a good biography. I pray that in between sales calls, you can speak to the Lord in your heart. I pray for a cessation of cramming, in my life and yours.
It is the only way to void passing out, even though you may be singing “Just as I am.”