The Heartbeat of Life

A doctor once stopped me after church; she needed to talk.  So many waves had hit her and she didn’t understand.  “I’m doing the best I can to live my life for the glory of God, but bad things keep happening and I keep getting discouraged.  I’m up; I’m down; I’m up; I’m down.”

I stopped her.  “Shirley,* don’t you understand?  What is this?”  I asked, as I motioned my hand up and down in rapid repetition.  She stared at me blankly.  “Come on,” I pressed. “You’re a doctor.  What is this?”


She tilted her head and replied questioningly, “A heartbeat?”

“Yes!  And it’s a sign of life.  What’s a flat line?”

“Death,” she replied, still not understanding.

“Right!  And what’s true with the heartbeat is true with life.  A flat line – whether high or low – means you’re dead.  But highs and lows are signs of life. How would we recognize a low time if we’d never known a high time?  And how would we know to rejoice in a high time if we’d never struggled through a low time?  It’s life, my friend!”

Well, 2014 was a heartbeat for me: so many highs accompanied by lows.  For example, I gained two precious daughters-in-law, but I lost my father.  I rejoiced over the birth of a beautiful new granddaughter, but I mourned over my grandson moving away with his mother.  I had the opportunity to go to the United Kingdom to facilitate leadership training but, while touring Winchester, I learned that our company had been acquired by another and my future is uncertain.  Ups-and-downs: it’s called  life.

In John 10:10 Jesus said, “I have come that [my sheep] may have life, and have it abundantly.”  Did He mean that when we accept Him as our Savior, then everything will be up and wonderful, that we’ll have no more downs?  By no means!  What He meant was that no matter what happens, He is with us to guide us through.  No matter how high we go, He is still above us, raining down upon us those showers of blessings.  And no matter how low we go, He is still beneath us, reigning over it all as He carries us through to its end.  And all along the way, He’s teaching us.

You see…

I didn’t really lose my father; he just went home.  I’ll see him again when I go home.  And I had the awesome opportunity to show my new daughters-in-law that, for the Christian, death is only the doorway to true life.

My grandson didn’t move far from me until God had allowed me to be sure that my little one understood who Jesus is.  I remind him whenever he comes to visit and we go to bed with his “Jesus book.”  And God blessed me with another child to nurture in the ways of God.

My future may be uncertain as far as this company is concerned, but I know Who holds my future and how everything will work for my good because I love God (Romans 8:28).  It will be great to stay; it will be exciting to leave. And I have some great pictures of London to boot!

So what’s the secret to life?  As I told my friend those many ears ago:

We know that life is not all bliss,

But the secret to life is simply this:

May each mountain you climb be higher than the last,

And each valley you cross not as low as the past.

*Not her real name