by Amy Sherrard
Retired Missionary, Nurse, Health Educator
How a health professional discovered how to make a difference in her own health.
We all know that one of the great purposes of our God-given health message is that it should be an entering wedge, making way for further truth to reach the heart (Testimonies for the Church, 6:327). And in our thinking we immediately relate it to health programs, books, magazines, etc., which we prepare for them, the people out there, whom we long to reach with end-time truth.
But what about people like me? Im a third-generation Seventh-day Adventist, born and bred on the Bible and the writings of Ellen White. I am the daughter of a pastor-evangelist, the product of our Adventist schools, and a vegetarian all my life (well, in those days, an ovo-lacto vegetarian, at least). And, oh yes, one who taught health classes!
Interestingly, when my own health began to present strange symptoms that doctors couldnt diagnose, it didnt even occur to me that I personally needed the opening wedge.
While nurses training had provided me with great skills in helping patients recover, it didnt address keeping well people well. During training, I gained unwanted weight, and I was plagued with problems that cost me a years delay in continuing my educational goals. But making simple lifestyle changes didnt occur to me. I dont recall any physicians even discussing my lifestyle with me. Anyhow, it really wasnt that bad!
Mercifully, God performed a literal miracle in answer to prayer. One moment the symptoms were all there. The next moment they were gone! And I was profoundly grateful.
But about three years later, the symptoms all crept back until I was virtually non-functional. And this time there was no miracle.
Again, physicians were frustratingly helpless. Again, no one mentioned lifestyle. When drug therapy was suggested, I balked. That was a path I would not travel.
What then? In desperation I turned to the health-related red books, the writings of Ellen G. White, and like a drowning person grasping for a help, I began reading them cover to cover, for me. Actually, my habits still werent that bad. But one bit of advice kept nagging me: sedentary workers would do better on two meals a day. And those two were breakfast and dinner, the latter at midday. Forget supper! That was not a happy thought for me even though our suppers were light. But as someone who worked at a desk, I was a sedentary worker, and I was desperate.
During the next month (yes, it took that long) I discovered how hard it is to break habits. I went cold turkey, and that wasnt easy. But it worked! To my own amazement, the stubborn symptoms gradually backed off until in a few weeks they were gone. And a totally unexpected side benefit was gradual weight loss back to normal.
But the best benefit of all was an awareness of what I had been missing for so many years! I realized that I needed to take seriously the inspired treasure in Mrs. Whites writings that we have been given for these closing days. I wondered, What else had I been missing? As I added this priceless dimension to my daily devotional time, I soon found out.
I know now that in those inspired writings there is not a single facet of life that is not covered specifically or in principle to help guide our feet safely Home.
After the death of my father, my 82-year-old mother joined our family. Her heart was not in good condition, and we didnt expect to have her for long. She gladly consented to make a few simple lifestyle changes, and she lived another 21 years to bless our home.
Yes, wedges can achieve amazing results. They have been used to determine the direction a giant tree will fall, or to split open a stubborn log. One even silenced an annoying squeak in our floor a while ago!
Figuratively speaking, careless words can be a wedge that separates friends. On the other hand, the Holy Spirit can use carefully-chosen words to open and enlighten closed or darkened minds, melt prejudice, and encourage balanced thinking instead of fanaticism.
And this committed third-generation Seventh-day Adventist health professional thanks God for the health message wedge! It made way for rays of light that showed me the path to health, physical and spiritual!