Have you ever had a near death experience before? It might have happened while you were driving, swimming, hiking, or even a run in with a criminal. I was recently thinking about this and thought back to a time when I was a kid. My cousins and I were camping out in the wilderness somewhere and we went exploring and came across a steep cliff. This happened twenty years ago so I can’t tell you how steep the cliff was, but I seem to remember it being 40-50 feet, which to a kid seems like a mile. As we walked through the woods I lost my footing and fell. I grabbed onto the roots of the tree. I literally held on with all of my might as if I fallen I would have ended up seriously hurt or worse yet, dead. My cousin eventually pulled me up and saved me that day (I remember he made me give him my gameboy as payment for saving me).
Fast forward to when I was 19. I was out driving on Evergreen Way (a busy road in the Everett area) and had to slam on my brakes to avoid slamming into a car that I was approaching too quickly. The man in the pickup truck behind me also had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting me. Somehow, none of the involved cars ended up hitting each other. However, the incident enraged the man in the truck behind me so much that he started riding my tail, flashing his high beams at me, and swerving. Wherever I turned, he followed. I went on the freeway, he followed. I took the exit he followed. I decided to head towards the police station. Eventually we hit a red light and I was boxed in and had no where to go. The man got out of his truck, walked up to my car, pulled out a gun, and put it to my forehead. He said “you could have killed me back there when you slammed on your brakes”. I said I swear that I did not do it on purpose and that I was sorry. Thankfully he got back in his truck and sped off at 100 mph.
A year or two ago I was home laying on the couch watching TV. All of a sudden a tremendous headache came on, my pulse was pounding, and my vision went blurry. Eventually my vision disappeared so that all I could see was bright light (no this was not me being beamed up to heaven :) It was very scary, as I had no history with migraine headaches before, nor have I ever lost my vision. I went to the doctor and was diagnoised as having experienced a migraine headache with aura (which is the vision going blurry part). All in all migraines are normal, millions of Americans get them on a monthly basis, yet if you haven’t ever experienced your vision escaping you, it is a frightening experience. The immediate thought is “Am I going to die?”
Just today I went to see my Dr. about a cold I have been battling. One of the symptoms of the cold has been that my chest has had a sharp consistent pain. The Dr. decided to do an X-ray just to be sure that I didn’t have pneumonia or something. He hadn’t reviewed the X-ray before he entered the room to talk to me about it. As he opened the X-ray on the computer screen in front of us, I watched the smile leave his face, his instant reaction was “This is not what I was hoping for”. The test showed there isn’t an issue with my lungs, but there is an issue with my heart. I will be having an ECG done tomorrow and the heart docs will get to the bottom of what’s going on. Right now, there are a lot of uncertainties.
Life goes on though, and my family will get through this as we always do, because of the hope we have in Jesus Christ. I can honestly say that when I heard there was a problem, my literally over sized heart was crushed because of how much I love and enjoy my wife, and daughter Emmalyn. While heart conditions are generally treatable, and it is unlikely that anything significant will become of this, I could not help but think of where I am at in my relationships in life. How great of a father have I been to my girl? How have I done in shepherding my wife’s heart? How far have I come in my sanctification? What can I do better?
It’s sad that it sometimes takes a serious situation to make a person think about what matters most; God and family. For that reason I want to encourage you to make a commitment right now to invest in your relationships, and to shepherd the hearts of those people in your life that you have influence over. Passionately pursue God. Make the commitment the Apostle Paul made when he said “As for me, to live is Christ and to die is gain”. Live your life knowing that someday you will die, and that day may come sooner than you think. Be thankful and conscious of the abundant blessings that God has given you in life. Use your free time to expand the kingdom of God, and to glorify Him in all things. One thing is for certain, if you aren’t happy with where you’re at with your walk with God, or your relationship with your loved one’s, don’t wait any longer to do something about it. Act now as you are not invincible!
I want to leave you with this : “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus,” 1 Corinthians 1:4.
Rest assured, when I say this to you, I mean it from the bottom of my heart. I give thanks for you, and ask that you pray for me, my wife, and daughter as we figure out what’s next in this heart escapade. Hopefully, I will look back 10 years from now laughing it off :)