By Steve Ellison, Guest columnist
The Picayune Item
January was a big month for me. It actually started in December and seeped over into February. I spent a few weeks helping to care for my father who was very ill, in fact near death from the combined effects of lung cancer, radiation of the brain, and chemotherapy. I officiated the funerals of a close family friend, my father, and my father’s sister. I type this with an oxygen sensor on my hand while sitting in a Cardiac Care Unit. On February 3, I had a heart attack while delivering the Sunday morning sermon. I managed to finish the message and got my wife to drive me to a local hospital. I was given a somewhat new treatment which is being called “the clot buster”. I was airlifted to a larger hospital some 150 miles away. My physical heart seems to be doing well and I hope to be released from the hospital soon. I am aware that I will be sent home with strict instructions regarding how to lessen the chances for a repeat of this episode.
This will be a difficult task. You see, I have inherited this cardiac disease from every male relative that I know about. There is a second problem. I participate in stressful situations. I don’t really enjoy aerobic exercise. I like to eat those things which taste good but have long term ill effects on me. The Bible has a lot to say about heart disease. As early as Genesis 3, we read that the most terrible of all cardiac diseases, pride, crept into man. Adam and Eve caught the disease and I inherited it from them. Genesis 6:5-6 states, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. The Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” NASU
Genesis 6:5-6 is pretty clear. In addition to inheriting heart disease from Adam and Eve, we (you and I) have a strong desire to actively participate in growing that disease. If I am going to have any chance to prevent another heart attack, I will have to remember my heredity as a means of motivating me to guard against those things which contribute to my heart disease. If I do not guard against stress, lack of exercise, eating unhealthy foods, etc. I will grieve the hearts of my loved ones. That ought to motivate me to do those things which promote a healthy heart. I hope that you did not miss Genesis 6:6 which clearly states that our heart disease grieves the heart of our Creator, Almighty God Himself. That ought to be a sobering warning that grabs our attention, making us realize that our pride, unforgiving spirit, greed, self-centeredness, hard-heartedness, etc. grieves God’s heart.
If you need more motivation, I submit Jeremiah 17:9-10 for your perusal, "The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds.” NASU Here in this Cardiac Care Unit, the medical staff is keeping a very close watch on all sorts of my vital signs. God is keeping a close watch on the vital signs of my spiritual sight. When David finally repented of his sin with Bathsheba he wrote these words, Psalms 51:17, “A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” NASU What a clot buster! Taking care of our physical heart is of tremendous importance but not nearly as important as taking care of our spiritual heart. .