Friday, August 26, 2011

Polio and a Greater Danger

From Old Family Photos

One of the defining events of my life occurred before I can remember. When I was about a year and a half old, I got polio. The family story is that I was in the hospital, partly paralyzed, not getting any better. On a Wednesday night, all of the churches of our tiny town of Vici, Oklahoma, prayed for me. The next morning I was getting better. My only long-term after-effects, other than gratitude, have been that I was over-protected as a child (which is understandable) and that when I'm very tired I have a noticeable limp. (One leg is a bit longer than the other, but that's true of lots of people who have not had polio.)

The photo above was taken in Vici that year, probably after I was back from the hospital. Dad's relatives seemingly rallied around us in the crisis and came hundreds of miles for a visit. I'm thankful for that. Yet they didn't realize that they faced a bigger danger than polio. That bigger danger: ignoring the salvation that the Lord offers. Uncle Pod (next to my mother, who was holding me) may have been a real Christian. I never knew him well. Next to him is his wife, Aunt Neva. She had a drinking problem beginning in her teens, and died an alcoholic. Uncle Bud and Aunt Myrtle (on the right) were decent people, but so far as I know never felt any need for Jesus nor for the church. Children made them nervous. Their world seemed to revolve around work and home and money.

Polio can cripple or kill the body.
Jesus said, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28). He also said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).

If we love our families, we should work and pray for them to be rescued from the danger that's much greater than polio.

So short, so short, this single life.
So long, so long, eternity.
So deep, so deep, Christ's sacrifice.
So high, so high, his call--my plea.

How long, how long, will you seek fun?
How long, how long, will you not see?
How far, how far, will you still run?
How bad, how bad, will your end be?

So clean, so clean, forgiving grace.
So pure, so pure, God's ways for man.
So great, so great, the final Place.
So wise, so wise, the Father's plans.

And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
--Joel 2:32a


dfish said...

Great testimony, Jim.

How many are so worried about their physical health today, going to the doctor every day, but never check their spiritual condition. The health problems are just temporary, but spiritual problems can last for eternity.

mika said...

hi :) ,your blog and pictures are so beautiful
i hope you can visit me at:

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

Nice photo! I have such photos aplenty and I love them, and the memories they evoke.

The mystery, though, of how aunt and uncle, or brother or sister, or cousin, or any member of my family, especially my kids, can live in a world where God in Christ is not seen as important and necessary, continues to plague me. The fact that people I meet in church do not know Who it is they are supposed to believe in, that frustrates me. Most of all, it blots out all other considerations of what happens in anyone's life here, the thought of where a loved one will spend eternity, and how helpless I am to change their course when I see them heading straight into danger. Love them, yes, witness to them, as the Lord gives opportunity, pray for them, always, but my own weakness makes me forget. Yet One is watching over all, and will His mercy and the Blood of His Son cover even the forgetful and those who find Him unnecessary (though they call themselves Christians)?

Yes, ours is a good and man-loving and only God, yet we slip through His fingers in spite of His care. Pray, pray, and pray. There is never enough prayer, even if ours is only a squeak.

Jim Swindle said...

dfish, Amen.
mika, thanks for stopping by.
Romanós, as usual, your comments have insight.