Sometimes, life takes an unexpected turn. A few weeks ago, I began experiencing an odd sort of chest pain. I say “odd” because it was in this middle ground that I hadn’t felt before. I’ve had digestive pain, but that’s usually lower down, and while I’ve never had a heart attack, I would imagine that being higher up. You know, where the heart is actually located. As a result, I figured it was probably just some indigestion, or maybe some acid reflux.
I tried to get some rest, and after a couple hours and a short nap, it was gone, whew! A few days later though, it was back. We ended up leaving church early, and I figured I’d go home, get some rest, and wait for it to clear up. Except it didn’t…
By the time we got home, the pain was worse than the first time, and I was having a hard time breathing. When I tried to lay down, I got lightheaded and my hand was getting tingly. My wife drove me to the ER immediately, and they started checking for a heart attack right away.
Turns out it wasn’t a heart attack, it was “just” gallstones. Except they were getting stuck in my bile duct and could prevent my liver from functioning properly, and had the potential to kill me all the same. Writing that just now, it seems surreal. I heard the nurses and doctors say it, but it didn’t worry me at the time.
Oh I’ll admit, when I first when in, I was pretty freaked out. I don’t remember exactly when, though it might have been after my pastor came and prayed for me, but there was a peace that came as I surrendered myself to God’s will. From time to time, fear kept trying to gain a foothold. But I knew there was nothing I could do, so I trusted that God had a plan.
If He was ready to take me, nothing anyone could do would stop that. If He still had work for me to do, then nothing on this earth could thwart that either. I do remember the next morning, after being care-flighted to Billings, as I waited for them to be ready for the ERCP procedure, that my nerves were trying to stage a comeback.
I knew peace was not in me, so I turned on my phone and found a worship song to play while I waited. It started with a Fountains/Came to My Rescue medley, and then played Son of Suffering. The words washed over my nervous mind and the tears began to come freely as God’s peace returned to conquer my fears.
How can it behttps://youtu.be/wBk4spqcXdM
That there’s a God who weeps
There’s a God who bleeds
Oh praise the One
Who would reach for me
Hallelujah to the Son of suffering
I can’t take credit for any of that, any more than I can take credit for the blessings in my life. Any more than I can take credit for the incredible plan that has led me and my family to where we are today. Ten years ago, I never would have imagined a little side project becoming a business that could provide for my family. And even better, that we could afford to hire Adam, so that when I was laying in a hospital, there were no worries about things running smoothly.
Not that I put all my faith in Adam, as he’s still fallible :) But I knew God put us on this track, and that He would give Adam the wisdom he needed to get things through until I could return to work. There was no rush, no sense of urgency, and that was an amazing thing. To know that, through it all, God would take care of everything. When I could do nothing for myself, that He was right beside me and would see me through to the other side. That’s peace, a peace that “passes all understanding”, and it’s only found by putting my eyes on the one who reached for me, and bled for me, and wept for me.