I woke up very early the other morning with a pain in my chest, shoulder and left arm. In general, I'm not one to worry or get overly excited about things and I didn't about this either. I took a couple of aspirin and proceeded to get ready to go to work. Later as I was eating my bowl of cereal, I casually mentioned it to my wife who was immediately concerned. She wanted me to call the doctor or go to the hospital right then. But I guess by rights of being a man, I didn't. I did promise later that I would call the doctor when their office opened.

I did and they said, "Go to the hospital immediately." I called my wife and she came to my workplace and drove me to the emergency room. They took me in pretty quickly and started the tests and 6 hours later I was moved to a room where I spent that night. After lots and lots of tests, blood work, stress tests, etc., they decided it wasn't my heart. We finally came to the conclusion that I might have torn some muscles or cartilage in my shoulder in a fall I had a short while ago (but that's another story in itself).

Having been a minister for over 36 years, I have spent lots and lots of time visiting folks in the hospital; but this was the first time I have ever been a patient myself. I've visited lots of folks who worry themselves sick — if they aren't already sick — while in the hospital. During this couple of days of Hospital adventure, I was never worried or upset; in fact, it never occurred to me to worry. They would take my blood pressure — for those of you old enough to watch such things, normally mine ran 147 over 71 — and it was always great. They would ask repeatedly, "What's the name of your blood pressure medicine," and they were always surprised when I told them I didn't take any.

Let me tell you the hardest part of the whole experience; it was simply doing nothing and laying in that bed. What did I learn from this experience? It reinforced the knowledge that God is in control and all powerful and if I put my faith in him I have nothing to fear for myself. I also realized though, that my concerns are for others not myself. What about my family and friends, what is their relationship with God like? How would they react if something happened to me? Would they be drawn closer to God or shy away? What do the values of my life say to others about my relationship with God?

The sad reality is that when you reach a point, when you just might be closer to the end of your life than you were prepared to be, there is not much you can do. There comes a time when each of us must let go and let God have control of our lives.

My uncle Dick sent this little saying to me today and it struck a cord in my heart. It says, "When you're down to nothing, God is up to something." It most likely is not a new saying to you; from the little checking I did, it's been around for several years. That, however, doesn't change the truth of the statement. Someone else said, "You are never closer to God than when you are down on your knees in prayer."

I was brought awake with chest and arm pain. Could it be that perhaps it's time you wake up and look at your life before your life gives you a "wake up call"? Maybe make some changes before you reach a point that there is nothing else you can do?

Paul had this to say:

Perhaps it's time you wake up and look at your life!

And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light (Romans 13:11-12).

I ran across a saying that I like that goes this way, "I've never stayed awake at night over a chance I took that failed, but I've stayed awake over chances I didn't take" (Garth Brooks). What about you?