Devotional Readings

Keeping Your Reservoirs Full

You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Psalms 23:5, NKJV.

I’m a statistician. I’m the one who looks at the results of research and determines the probability of a person getting certain diseases. Working in the School of Public Health at Loma Linda University, I knew what the risk factors were for stroke and I was sure I would never have one. I was lean, exercised daily, ate a mostly vegan diet, had low blood pressure, was living a fairly stress-free life, and had never smoked or drank.

But on February 8, 1996, the improbable happened. I was not taking enough blood thinning coumidin for my heart’s irregular beat (caused by a heart defect at birth) and my heart threw a clot straight to the core of my brain. It knocked out the control panels for my left-side movement, analytical thinking, directionality, time concepts, and my initiation and inhibitory responses. In short, it was very bad. I was not expected to walk again–or think straight!

Three years later, if you were to meet me on the street, I doubt if you’d know I’d had a stroke unless you caught my slight limp or noticed my crooked smile. What happened?

I call it the Reservoir Effect. If your life is empty and a crisis hits, you don’t have any reserves to battle the illness. But my life was full to overflowing with three things to which I credit my incredible recovery: faith in God’s grace, a loving and supportive family, and a healthy lifestyle.

Reservoir 1: A healthy faith in God’s grace. When crisis hit, I put my fate in God’s hands and relaxed. I was anointed and never doubted His love and miraculous healing power. If you don’t have faith, hopelessness can settle in. It’s easy to give up. Stroke patients can’t give up! They’ve got to work to rebuild the destroyed connections that make movement, thinking, and talking possible.

Reservoir 2: Healthy relationships. I was never alone. My wife and daughter were there, loving me, supporting me, encouraging me, and nudging me on to exercise my reluctant muscles. I had something to live for. I got well for them.

Reservoir 3: Healthy lifestyle. Yes, I had a stroke that affected my brain, but my body was healthy; my veins were clean; my immune system was strong. My physical health gave me the stamina to will myself to walk, to climb stairs, to swim, and to play tennis once again.

What could you do today to make sure your reservoirs are full?

–Jan W. Kuzma

from Fit Forever: One-A-Day Devotionals for Body, Mind, and Spirit
Kay Kuzma (editor) | Review & Herald (2005)
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