Learning God’s Word

It is good for me that I was afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes.
                                                                    Psalm 119:71

How many times have I stood by the bedside of a sick church member and read these words? This past week God has given me a fresh perspective on them and I am praying I will be a better learner because of it.

I am grateful for everyone who has communicated with me to tell me they were praying for us this past month. Our Lord had very different plans for me than I had a month ago and evidently is not finished with my tutelage just yet. Feel free to skip this particular posting and move on to some of Jay’s articles but, for the sake of those who have inquired, indulge me while I recount some of the events of the past month.

On May 30, our 34th anniversary, I had a heart attack here in my office. We had just returned from a celebratory dinner at Outback Steakhouse when I realized something was wrong. While pastoring my first church in Iowa I also worked P/T as an EMT so I had a pretty good idea of what was happening. We called the paramedics and within a half hour I was in the cath lab having two stents installed in my heart. Thanks to the quick work of the paramedics and the hospital staff what would have been a fatal heart attack caused little damage. I was sent home to take it easy, take my meds, and behave. I was also told that I would have to return to have one more stent installed later.

Later came on Thursday, June 25. Because having the first two stents installed went so well we thought this was going to be a routine procedure and I would back at it in a day or two. While the installation of the third stent went well they had a difficult time getting the artery in my leg (through which they inserted the catheter to install the stent) to stop bleeding. A parade of nurses and doctors came into my room to apply pressure to the wound—each attempt causing more pain than the previous—until they finally got it stopped. I went home Friday but by the afternoon my leg had become even more painful. Fearing I was just being a big wienie I delayed calling the Dr. until late Friday. He invited me to come in and he would look at it but also told me that a degree of “discomfort” was normal, so I decided to wait.

As the weekend progressed my leg grew worse and by Monday I couldn’t walk. The Dr. took one look and shipped me off to the hospital for an ultrasound where they concluded that the artery was still bleeding into my leg. They gave me some meds and scheduled me for surgery the next morning. They injected my artery with something that caused the aneurysm to seal up. I will spare you further details other than to say it was the most painful thing I have experienced in a long, long time.

I am now home spending most of the time in bed waiting for the swelling (and pain) to subside. It will be another week before I am able to get around and back at my desk for any length of time. Once this complication is resolved I will need to focus on the heart issues that brought all this on—exercise, lose weight, take meds, eat right.

Thanks again for your prayer, your concern, and your encouragement. Thanks also to our students and others who are awaiting a response to e-mail or phone messages. Your continued patience for several weeks is appreciated.


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