I wrote my last post on April the 5th 2013. Seven days before my heart attack and 3 months ago. That seems like a lifetime ago.
So much has changed since then. My diet, weight, my health have all changed for the better. Almost no sugar, no fried foods....etc....I'm still working on it to be sure but gradually I am getting in better health.
But a quick word about the heart attack....during and after.
As you recall, I wrote about grace a few days before the heart attack. In fact, a few weeks prior to that post, God had revealed Himself and His grace in a powerful way with the words from Scripture..."it is finished". What those words meant was, there is no longer a sin issue because the sinless one has put an end to the requirement of the law. It meant I could be 100% certain of my standing with God through the finished work of Jesus on the cross regardless of how I felt about myself. No more fear of the afterlife because that was secure. I was in a state of perpetual joy over the thunderbolt of the revelation of grace in my life.
So fast forward to the heart attack, April 12th 2013 around 9:30PM. Lying in bed, thinking I had indigestion from the large meal at Red Lobster. Someone had given us a gift card and we made much use of it that night. I told myself the indigestion would go away and to just go to sleep. So I did but two hours later awoke with severe pain in my right arm and serious pressure on my upper chest. These symptoms got worse and I told my wife I didn't feel good.
Soon thereafter we made the decision to go the hospital just in case. I got up, got dressed and told my wife I'd wait downstairs whilst she finished getting dressed.
I went outside and stood in the driveway as she made her way downstairs. Soon the pain was extreme and in that moment I knew I was having a heart attack and in that very same moment standing in the street outside the house, I knew I could die any second. Oddly enough, instead of fear and panic overwhelming me, I felt at peace. As the Scripture says "The peace that passes all understanding shall KEEP your hearts and minds". I did not have peace, peace had me. It kept me. And I knew it was His grace that enabled me to have the peace that if I died that night, I would see Jesus face to face. And through the entire episode, I had no fear. Instead I had almost a sense of detachment, as if I was watching myself and knowing in the end, it would all work out so no need to get excited about it at all! Like the script had already been written and I knew the ending already.
The drive to the hospital took somewhere around 24 hours to make....really it was 10 minutes or less but it felt far longer....the pain was intense and I wanted it to be over quicly....but once there, they took outstanding care of me....for which I am eternally grateful....and there is another miracle surrounding the hospital bill as well which is a topic for another post...suffice to say, without insurance I owe nothing to YRMC!
I guess the purpose of this post is to capture my perspective about my life before and after grace. My life prior to the revelation of grace seems far removed from my current existence. It seems somehow foreign. Alien even....and more importantly, full of doubt, full of fear, full of worry and anxiety.
As a Christian, those things were not supposed to be part of my life and yet they were. Yes I believed in God and in Jesus but to be 100% honest, the life the Bible promised was not what I was living......I was however, searching for that life and I believe the prayer I was praying...."God, open yourself to me, show me grace, show me your Good News was answered that day when grace came down.....I cannot imagine life without grace. Everything seems less frightening now. Uncertainty, difficulty, disappointments, all seem to fade somehow in the light of grace. And its true, the Kingdom really is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. I'm not always righteous, nor am I always peaceful and I don't always walk in joy....BUT and its a BIG BUT....those things are always close. Where before they were something I needed to search for and sometimes I never found them.....but now, they are but a breath away....regardless of what I feel like, I know I can simply appropriate them in this present moment and they are mine!
I can't explain it. It was revelation. It is revelation.....it will be revelation....in the sense that its ongoing. There was no moment of revelation....instead there is revelation. Now, in this present moment. Revelation of His unending and unbelievable goodness. Each new breath is a revelation of His favor. I get now why the Scripture says "in Him I live and move and have my being." Because without Him I can do nothing. Yes I can work and I can strive and I can accomplish different things....but even that is because of His favor. So better to acknowledge it and rest in it.
I'm rambling and it makes no sense. I get that. Its hard to explain. Its so deep and yet so simple. Grace. A waterfall of His mercy and goodness. I can simply stand under its flow and enjoy all His benefits.
I'm gonna post a bit more often now. There are a few topics I want to get on paper so to speak so I can preserve them while their fresh in my mind...
1. Peace (shalom)
2. Rest (the Sabbath)
3. Communion (as often as you do it)
4. Sin and sacrifice
5. Kings and priests vs slaves
6. Speaking vs doing which ties in with Kings and priests
7. And a few other things as they come up.