FLETCH: Fighting for Joy, After a Heart Attack
Monday, June 14, 2010 was a life changer. I was supposed to go fishing with my son, Taylor. Instead, I woke up with some chest pain and my left arm felt kind of “funny”. I shrugged it off as heartburn and tried to go on with my day. But after fixing breakfast and a cup of coffee but not having the energy to eat or drink it I knew something might be wrong. One more hour of feeling completely out of gas, Julie and I decided to go to the emergency room. I felt pretty stupid going through all this trouble for heartburn. However, after several hours of consistent pain and a myriad of tests the doctors determined that I had a heart attack and shipped me off to the ICU and then to another hospital for a catheratization. They looked at my heart and found no major blockage or buildup, just a small branch artery that could have been clogged. They decided to treat me with meds, watch me for a couple of days and then sent me home on Thursday. I am extremely grateful for God’s watchful care and for giving me the sense to go to the hospital and not just “man up” and work through the pain.
But it begins to set in, “I had a heart attack.” I’m only 43 years old, I exercise regularly, eat fairly well, I don’t smoke or drink, and my cholesterol levels were good. But now I have to live with this thing that is going on in my heart. I should be back to doing normal things in two weeks. But still, it’s really frustrating. I sat in my hospital bed a little depressed and decided the best thing I could do was not watch tv but read my Bible. I know, I’m a pastor and I’m “supposed” to do that kind of stuff. But seriously, all of us are “supposed” to do it. The truth is, that reading my Bible did give me relief and comfort. I truly believe that God speaks to us, comforts us, and guides us through His Word. So it shouldn’t be surprising that in the middle of a life changing event such as a heart attack, the Scriptures can bring joy to a depressing situation. God wants to lift our spirits when they are down and one way he does that is by speaking His words of love and grace through the passages of the Bible.
I’ll be taking it easy for a couple of weeks. But I won’t be slowing down on my Bible reading. I think I will try to read my Bible slower, thinking deeply and meditating on what God wants to teach me.
I read these verses while I was in the hospital because they were next in my Bible reading plan,
“Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope.
This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life…
When I think of your rules from of old, I take comfort…
Your statutes have been my songs in the house of my sojourning.
I remember your name in the night O Lord, and keep your law.
This blessing has fallen to me, that I have kept your precepts.”
By the way, I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe these were God’s special words to me at that particular time. “Hope, comfort in affliction, life, blessing” what better words can God give us.
My encouragement is for you to pick up your Bible, read it slowly, thinking deeply about these special words of grace and love that God is speaking to you. Charles Spurgeon puts it this way,
“And may God, in his infinite mercy, when you read your Bibles, pour into your souls the illuminating rays of the Sun of Righteousness, by the agency of the ever-adorable Spirit; then you will read to your profit and to your soul’s salvation.”
All for Jesus,