Thoughts On My Recent Heart Attack

As the title of my article says, I suffered a heart attack on August 7. It was Sunday morning. I finished my morning sermon at 11:40 without incident and walked off the platform as Rev. Dan Porterfield closed the service in prayer. On my way out I started to sweat profusely and felt a kind of “heaviness” in my chest. I went into my study and propped up my feet. My wife and different people from the congregation looked in on me until we all agreed outside help should be consulted. The Three Springs Ambulance came to the church and loaded me up, and off to J. C. Blair Hospital we went. On the way they determined what was going on, gave me two nitroglycerin, and then felt it best that I take a helicopter ride to Altoona Hospital instead of stopping at J. C. Blair. So, the helicopter landed at J. C. Blair and picked me up as soon as we pulled into the parking lot. The 12 minute ride to Altoona was over before I knew what was happening. They rushed me into the Emergency Room, then into the “cath lab”, where they determined my right coronary artery was 100 % blocked. I was immediately rushed into surgery where Dr. George Jabbour put six stents into that one artery that had collapsed. A little over three hours from when I first started to know something was wrong, I was resting in my room. No one left any grass grow under me that was for sure! I want to use this as a way to thank everyone, from the people in my church who assisted me, to my wife, Linda, to the Three Springs ambulance folks, the helicopter staff, and to Dr. Jabbour and all the people at Altoona Hospital who helped in any way. I felt I got good care at every juncture and that I am probably alive to write this because of it! More than anyone, of course, I want to thank the Lord for sparing my life. He has been so good to me that I cannot find words to express how good He has been! Through the entire ordeal I felt a peace that is hard to explain to anyone who is not a Christian, but anyone who has gone through any kind of hard times with the Lord beside them will understand exactly what I am talking about! I don’t mean to sound like I’m bragging, but through the whole time these things were happening, not once did fear even enter my mind! That was not my doing, but the Lord’s peace which kept me. Jesus said in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” I believe everything that verse says will happen happened to me! The entire time the words of Philippians 1:21 also kept going through my mind: “To live is Christ, and to die is gain.” I told the Lord I didn’t want to say goodbye to my wife, and that I sure would like to see my three grandkids again, but if He was ready to take me home, I was ready. But if He wanted me to stick around and preach some more, I was ready and willing, as well. It seemed like a win-win situation. If I lived, I felt the Lord would be with me. If I didn’t, I got to go to heaven! So, fear vanished and peace reigned in my heart! How encouraging it was to me to see that what I preach and believe actually works when push comes to shove! It’s one thing to say you believe something when things are going just fine. It’s a totally different thing to see firsthand that what you believe actually works and will sustain you when faced with trying times of some sort! I don’t know what you may be going through in your life as you read this. If you are a Christian you need to know that Christians are not immune to problems, sickness, or tragedy. And contrary to what some foolishly preach, every Christian doesn’t get healed, or have their problems all go away in answer to prayer. But God does promise to be with us, and to help us, no matter what we may have to face in life, and to give us His peace. And I can tell you from firsthand experience that those are not just idle words, that sound good when you’re on top of the world, but that don’t work when trouble or tragedy strikes. They work! So, if you know the Lord, I would encourage you to trust the Lord to see you through whatever you’re dealing with. And if you don’t know my Jesus, I would encourage you to get on your knees, repent of your sins, and ask Him to be your Savior. You too will then know about this peace that I am writing about today. Philippians 4:7 says: “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” It kept mine, and it will keep yours if you will trust my Jesus! And if my experience can help you with whatever you’re dealing with, then I will be glad!

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