Saturday, May 23, 2009

Life is a stress test

Well, I'm in my 50's now, and trips to the doctor lately have been frequent. Not because I am sick, but because they want to make sure I am NOT sick. In the last 3 months, I have had blood drawn no less than 5 times, I monitor my blood pressure daily, had my prostate exam, a poop test, urinalysis, an ABG (painful), EKG, electrocardiogram, saw a hematologist, and yesterday had my first stress test. And every test shows I have nothing wrong with me, other than I'm not 25 anymore. All my numbers are perfect, and other than having my blood pressure regulated by medication, I'm in great health for an old dude.
I was thinking of the stress test I took yesterday. It was a microcosm of life. Before the test, I was given some simple instructions: when the treadmill starts, get on and start walking. Keep pace - don't get ahead or behind. Tell the doctor if I feel dizzy, weak, or have chest pains. And if I have to stop, tell the doctor, and he will slow it down to a stop - don't try to just get off on my own.
When it started, it was a slow, almost-too-easy pace... appropriately, uphill. As time went on, gradually the speed and angle was increased. And each time it was increased, the doctor was there, asking how I was doing, letting me know what was about to happen, and making sure I was OK. He also let me know along the way that my heart was functioning fine, and the readings he was getting were normal for the activity level. The last part of the test was the hardest, and had me breathing hard, my heart rate was up, and I started to break a sweat. It was a little bit of a challenge, but he got me up to a speed that was necessary to get my heart rate to the level needed, for the time needed, and then gradually slowed it down to conclude the test. "Perfect," he said, "You're right where you should be, and you have a healthy heart. Looks good."
Do you ever think, through the stress of life, that God is right there with us? Just like the doctor, he gives us instruction (we have to be ready and listening first, though) before we begin, and along the way (if we're listening) he lets us know what is happening. He asks us if we're doing OK, and wants us to tell Him if we're not, or if we're dizzy, weak, or have pain. And if we do, he'll stop us before we wreck. All dependent on our communication, though - we have to stay in touch with Him or it won't work.
And then he takes us to the point of just enough exertion to get us panting,sweating, and breathing hard - but only as much as we can stand, and for only as long as we can stand it. When it's over, He's there to tell us, "Perfect, you're right where you should be, and you have a healthy heart. Looks good." He never fails us. He'll just give us another test until we pass.