God has a way of getting our attention. Sometimes he does so in rather spectacular fashion. I have recently been seriously ill - the sort of ongoing misery which has you begging for powerful medicine and contemplating whether or not a hospital bed might not be the place for you. The cause was a severe Strep Throat infection with several days of significant fever followed by a raging case of Salmonella poisoning all of which had me staying close to my bed, my reading chair and the bathroom for just over a month. Then, just to fulfill the saying that, "these things come in threes", I dislocated my great toe.
I actually laughed at that last one after the initial throbbing subsided.
One thing occurred to me in the depths of illness and another after, as I have almost completed my swing back out to a more normal state of health.
The first was a thought that came to me as I was crawling under the covers one night. "This night your life may be required of you". Now I did not believe I was so seriously ill that I might die (misery isn't necessarily life-threatening). But that state of health does rather concentrate the mind, doesn't it? The truth is, we do not know when God will require us to lay down our life. Not the day or the hour, not even if we will be taken while we sleep peacefully or if it will be while we have cookies in the oven or three books half read.
The second has been rattling around my brain over the last couple of days. It is a twist on a familiar quote, "The price of health is eternal vigilance". Over the next weeks and months my continued trajectory to "normal" or even improved health will require particular vigilance. Even more than our physical state of health, our spiritual state of health requires eternal vigilance.
Just something to contemplate from now until we greet each other on Easter morning, and even beyond.