Uncertainty: noun, the condition of being unsure about someone or something.

My level of uncertainty went up a notch today when I walked out to the mail box and found two letters. The first was from my insurance company which will remain unnamed (although its initials are BCBS). They were letting me know that for the second time in the last three years they were doing away with our health insurance policy. This policy will cease to exist on December 31, 2015 and we will not be able to begin doing anything about it until November 1, 2015. Two years ago the aggravation of having to change doctors, hospitals, billing procedures, Primary Care Physicians, etc. will now have to be repeated. I know that we were promised that all the health insurance issues would get better and better with the new regime, but, instead, costs keep going up, quality of care keeps going down, and more and more doctors are leaving their practices or cutting way back on how much they do. It is not all the government’s fault, but a merging of cost conscious insurance companies and inept government bureaucracy is a marriage made in…well, you get the idea.

The second letter that I opened was from my son’s Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctor, who he began seeing the last time our insurance policy was cancelled because we couldn’t keep our doctor that we had used for years. He was letting us know that he was retiring. Granted, he is getting on up there in years, but he stated that the reason he had chosen to do so was because “increasingly intrusive health care policies and inhibiting health care regulations, combined with decreasing reimbursements have made it difficult to provide [us] with the health care [we] deserve.”

Honestly, I don’t know what the future holds for us (thus, my uncertainty). I just know that my trust is not in the Federal, State, or local government (whichever party is in power), but in the One who owns the “cattle on a thousand hills.” Whatever comes I am going to keep loving my family, worshiping our Lord at our church, and living day by day by His grace and for His glory. Things have been much worse in the past, and may get much worse in the future, but God’s “grace is always sufficient for [us], for power is perfected in weakness.” My happiness, joy, and contentment must not be determined by my outward circumstances, but by God’s grace strengthening me in my soul.

We must rest in what God’s Word says in Romans 8:35-39:

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, “For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.


A Strange Lord’s Day

It happened Friday morning. I was awakened to a little congestion, and while my dear wife said, “Listen to your body,” I could hear Coach Witherspoon’s voice (my high school track coach) in my head saying, “No pain; no gain.” So I ran my usual 2 ½ miles. By Friday night I was feeling miserable and along with my cough, I was feeling nauseated. To fight off the “tossing of my cookies” I slept (loosely speaking) in the recliner which was successful until dawn when I charged into our bathroom with the drive heaves. (I know: Too Much Information) Now, it is Sunday, and although I feel better, there is that residual effect of feeling that I have been run over by truck.

However, there is one thing that makes today different from the last 35 years: I don’t have any Sunday responsibilities at church. In the olden days (before I retired), no matter how horrible I was feeling, I went on to church, taught or preached, or both. It mattered not how badly my voice sounded, or how badly I was coughing and wheezing; I went because I hated calling someone at the last minute to take my place.

I can only remember twice in all those years when I wasn’t able to gut it out and fulfill my responsibilities to the Lord’s people. Once, in my first pastorate, I had bronchial pneumonia so badly I was sleeping in a chair to be able to breathe, and I was throwing up because no one told me to take food with my antibiotics. I was determined to be there, but I was so sick I could not walk across my living room, so, early on that Easter Sunday morning I called our other minister, Chuck Brawley, and he graciously stepped in and preached a sun rise service (which tells you how early in the morning I made that phone call), along with our two regular worship services. (I still feel guilty over doing that to him) The second time I was AWOL was at FBC Mauriceville, when I woke up throwing up on Sunday morning, and called C. W. Williams, a retired pastor, to pinch hit for me. Oh, yes, there was also the time that Caleb busted his head open in the church nursery during Sunday School in Shreveport, and I took him to the emergency room. One of my deacons, Bobby Boykin, never again asked me, “Is there anything I can do to help?”

So, today, on this Lord’s Day, I have missed being with God’s people, but I am remembering the Lord’s Day to keep it holy from my recliner in the living room. It is not the best; being with God’s people is the best, but it will have to do. And, next week, I will look forward to “not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:25).

PS: There may have been other times that I am not sure about. Charles Miller may have preached for me the Sunday after my Dad went to be with the Lord, but my memory is sketchy. I am just grateful for anyone who stepped in at the zero hour to open God’s Word when he was not able to prepare properly to do such an important task.