Open Heart Surgery

I want the first article or comments in this section of our website to be edifying and encouraging to all who might read this. I have been convinced for years that as adopted sons of God, nothing happens to us that our Lord has not allowed. His reasons are not always clear at first, and some things we won´t know until we get to Heaven, but generally speaking, all things that happen to us are designed to bring God glory and draw us closer to Him.

On January 14, 1999, I found myself in the hospital for the first time in my life. Several doctors stood at my bedside explaining my urgent need for heart surgery. They earnestly suggested that I not go home. The blockage in my arteries was life threatening, so they set up the operation for the next day.

That evening, after my wife had gone home, a cold paralyzing fear came over me. “I was going to die tomorrow!” This fear would not go away, it just grew more intense. I laid there alone, awake for hours, absolutely horrified. Then, in an instant, like a warm bright light, something happened in my mind and spirit. I thought, “Wait a minute, Jesus is my Lord, my name is written down in Heaven by His shed blood.” Immediately the fear of death was gone. I said, “Jesus, why is this happening to me?” Deep down I knew the answer.

That morning as the nurses prepared me for surgery, I was able to describe and witness to them the power of God over my fears. I told them that if I died on the operating table, I would open my eyes in Heaven, otherwise, I would open my eyes and see my wife and family.

Getting back to my first comment that nothing happens that God doesn´t allow, I want to add that in my experience the chastening corrective hand of God was upon me. The following I write with heavy shame and sorrow, but I hope it will help someone out there who reads it.

For several years I lived and walked with what the Bible calls, “a double mind.” The deceitful, lustful, carnal desires found in America´s “entertainment industry” were overwhelming me again, just as they did before Jesus came into my life. My fleshly nature was in control of my life.

For example, every time I would watch a movie or television program that was full of explicit sex and violence, the conviction of the Holy Spirit within me would come to the surface. But I kept watching anyway. Then later, I would repent and tell Jesus that I was sorry. Then I would watch a movie again. I know now that my repentance was not sincere and from the heart. This endless cycle of sin and fake repentance went on for a long time. I was trapped in my own rebellion. I tried to excuse and rationalize my behavior by saying to the Lord, “other Christians go to movies all the time, even good friends of mine, who don´t even think it is wrong.”

Without going into more detail of my depravity, let me finish by saying: My Lord Jesus allowed my physical heart to sicken to the point of death, that I might see the true condition of my mind and spirit. My spiritual heart needed open heart surgery by the “Great Physician.” I needed to be reminded that my sins were the very nails that crucified Jesus. I was guilty, no excuses. I needed to renew my mind and crucify those fleshly lusts and desires that threaten my relationship with my Father.

Much of Christendom today is in desperate need of open heart surgery. I am sure that if I would not have truly repented under the Lord´s chastening hand, and the choice was mine to make, that had the Lord returned during my rebellion, I would have been left behind for further and harsher chastening!

Revelation 3: 16,19

“So, then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold or hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. (19) As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten; be zealous, therefore, and repent.”