Learning to Ask for Help Now – Prep 4 the Big 1


In 2008, John Stumbo experienced what most would call The Big One. John was a long distance runner, even doing ultra-marathons. He was a mountain climber, often on Mount Hood. He was a cyclist – a healthy guy. He never spent a day in the hospital.

And then The Big One hit when he was 47 years of age. On October 18, 2008, he went for a short run — just 10 miles. He noticed that day that he had a rash on his body. Next day, he felt like he was getting the flu. In a short time he could not bend his arm to brush his teeth due to the swelling. In about a week’s time, he had lost his ability to drive. He couldn’t move his legs, even from the gas to the brake. Whatever was hitting him was hitting him hard and fast.

One of his last conscious memories was a doctor with a chart in his hand saying, “I’ve never seen anyone with such low levels of sodium who is still alive!” His whole system was shutting down. Over the course of time, his wife was called into the room numerous times, because they were sure he was dying. As he regained some strength, it was evident that whatever attacked him attacked his muscular system from head to toe. Unable to eat, drink — for months. He couldn’t swallow his own saliva. That was just the beginning of his journey. You can read about the rest of it in his book, An Honest Look at a Mysterious Journey.

When you think of that stretch of highway along Dr. Stumbo’s journey, eventually, you ask yourself the question: What if that happened to me? What will I do when the big one hits me?

A couple of weeks ago, Dr. Stumbo addressed that issue in a blog for Alliance pastors and international workers. What will you do when the big one hits? In his blog post, Dr. Stumbo gave seven pieces of counsel that apply to us all in being prepared for the future.

This podcast is the first of seven messages revolving around those seven ideas. We’re looking at being prepared for the Big One — not by stock-piling food, but by learning to prepare our souls.

I hope you’ll follow each message and that God will use them to strengthen you for whatever the future holds.


If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses? If you stumble and fall on open ground, what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan? — Jeremiah 15:12 NLT
To listen, click the play button below.

How do I find meaning in life?

In St. Marys, GA, there is an old cemetery that Laurel and I have walked through to pass the time while on vacation. Many of the tombstones communicate how the deceased wanted to be remembered. Some have boats. Some have fish. One has an airplane.

In our thinking, the most interesting of these tombstones is pictured here, shaped like a smiley. It turns out that it is on the grave of someone who is remembered for working at Walmart. That may seem silly to you, wanting to be remembered for working at Walmart, but I want to suggest that in the face of eternity a Walmart smiley on a tombstone is no less significant and meaningful than a carving of a sailboat.

For what will you be remembered?

This podcast speaks of a woman who made her life memorable. From her example we can learn more about what’s important and ways we can make our own lives meaningful.

How do I stop obsessing…

Whenever we play Scrabble in our home, we have a rule that if you score over 300 points you get to write your name in the box lid. It’s a highly sought-after position — having your name in the Scrabble box lid with your score beside it. One time Esther and I were playing and she was beating the slop out of me. She was well on her way to a 350 point game. But it was late at night and Tim had just moved to a bad section of the city. He was coming home on a bus and he realized he didn’t know where to get off the bus. He called me to get online and look it up for him.

Esther and I put our Scrabble game on hold and I worked to help my son get from the bus to his stop to his home in the dark of night. While everyone else was fine, I was out of my mind, obsessing about him getting home. Eventually, because of my inability to think of anything else, we had to abort the Scrabble game. What would have been the highest game Esther had ever played ended.

I have to say, Esther was not happy, but handled it very well.  I, on the other hand, regret it to this day.

The tendency we have to obsess about things is one that can effect our life negatively in far more important areas than game play. It hinders healthy living. This podcast offers some keys to escaping the pitfall of obsession.