After sending our last week’s “Thirst”, I resolved to push myself a little this week, with the intent of getting at least a little resemblance to a routine going in my life,  Thus I have risen from bed a little earlier than previous weeks, while trying to retire approximately the same time each evening.  After being very irregular in exercising for a long time, I have walked every morning – though only half the distance of my previous days.  It is my theory that these little adjustments will improve my sleep and health.

Although I must admit that I have not seen any great gains, it does seem as though things are coming around … slowly.

While I don’t like to talk about it, my body has been sort of falling apart since I retired.  First my right hip started bothering me.  Then it was the knee below it.  Eventually the pain was radiating all the way down the leg to my ankle.  The one day over a 2–3-month period that I had no pain was the day that I saw my Primary Care Doctor to have my leg examined!  My leg is doing somewhat better at this time, but still feels weak.  And now, for the past week, my left shoulder has been bothering me.  I cannot raise my hand high enough to put shampoo on the top of my head.  Perhaps today’s heading should have been “Falling Apart … Slowly”!

Oh, the joys of aging!  I am reluctant to call my doctor regarding my shoulder because of my experience with my hip.  So, my current strategy is to wait another couple weeks.  If there is no improvement, then he will receive a call from me … and please don’t tell me that this is “typical male behavior.”

I also have resumed reading a few chapters of the Bible each day.  It was funny how, as my leg pain undermined my sleep patterns, my ability to focus during the day also struggled.  This was really the impetus behind my resolve for this week.  I am pleased with my new routine in the morning and at night.  And, even if it does not really cure any of my maladies, in the least it is good for my mental health.

This week, along with the Gospel of Matthew, I have been reading in 2 Kings.  So many interesting stories!  Those two “e” prophets (Elijah and Elisha) were certainly characters.  They lived in a time of overt and expansive paganism in the lands of Judah and Israel (not to mention the countries surrounding them).  Yet God remained faithful … forgiving sins … shining light into the darkness … calling people from death to life … pouring his Gospel into his depraved world and people.

Trivia question for the day: “How was Elijah taken up into heaven?”  (Hint – it was not in a chariot of fire)  You will find the answer in 2 Kings 2.  But please, do not stop reading until you have read at least 10 chapters.  Much of the narrative will not make sense.  The question that keeps coming to my mind as I read these chapters was, “What was God thinking?”  Also, as you read this book, consider the similarities between the times described and the times in which we are living.

I think the answer to “what was God up to?” is actually found in 1 kings.  I expect the story will be familiar to many of you:  (Elijah) went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree.  And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life for I am no better than my fathers.”  And he lay down and slept under a broom tree.  And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” … He arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.  There he came to a cave and lodged in it.  And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”  He said, “I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts.  For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed you prophets with the sword, and I , even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”  And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.”  And behold. The Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind.  And after the wind, an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  And after the earthquake, a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.  And after the fire, the sound of a low whisper.  And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.  And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19.4-13).  The rest of the chapter provides Elijah’s unchanged answer and the Lord’s reply.

As you read these stories, I pray that you come to the same two conclusions of mine.  One – God is in control … and he knows what he is doing.  And two – I am the one who needs to “come around” (He always is … with grace and mercy, light, healing, and hope).  But, oh, how I wish it would not seem to be going so … you know … slowly.

Coming Around … Slowly