Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Heart Failure


"My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
[Psalm 73:26]

As one ages, losing physical dexterity becomes obvious. I first noticed that I was slipping while participating in a parent-child softball game at our church in San Diego. At forty-some years old, they assigned me to play shortstop - a big mistake. 

The first batter on the opposing team hit a drive to short right, fielded neatly on its first bounce by our right fielder. Smartly and adeptly, I covered second base to hold him to a single. As the next batter came to the plate, I went over what to do should the ball be hit toward me - catch the ball, check to see if I could catch the runner coming to second, and if not I would fire the ball to first to get the hitter out. Sure enough, the batter hit a ground ball right at me. My plan was perfect, my execution faulty. By the time I got my hands down to catch the ball, it was already in left field and the runners were advancing.

That misadventure taught me two things: first, I would never again play softball; and second, planning is important, but execution is required for success.

While our flesh and our heart may fail, it is God that is our strength to execute and accomplish our purpose in life and achieve our destiny. Failure of the heart leads to failure of the flesh. If our heart is not in what we are doing, then physical success is doubtful

I learned to play golf right out of highschool and played regularly while in college as a cooperative educational student at Georgia Tech. I studied the game, read books by the greats, and watched the games on TV. My heart was in it. But it wasn't until I got on the course and actually practiced and played that I enjoyed success in the game. 

Our faith is like that. If our heart is not fully in it, we can read the Bible, study theology, and regularly attend church, to no avail. We must also practice our faith through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. 

As we approach Easter, we have been through the forty-plus days of Lent, and we anticipate the celebration of Easter or Pascha. Too often we want to celebrate Easter without the sacrifices of Lent. 

We want resurrection without going through death. 

We want the benefits without putting forth the effort. That is heart failure.

At my current stage of life, physical issues keep me from playing golf, but God allows me to practice my faith and enjoy Him forever.

In our own strength, we cannot practice our faith with consistency and steadfastness, but through God we can do all things. (Philippians 4:13)

Happy Easter,

Bill Johnson

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