At the start of the year I was sat at home, with a glass or red wine watching ‘The Voice’ with my wife and family. Just a normal Saturday evening at home and then it started. A pain in my chest, in my back, down my arms, up into my neck and head and even in my teeth.
This however, was not normal, this was not indigestion. It didn’t go away after 20 minutes so I got my brother to drive me to A&E. I had been having a heart attack. I never knew watching The Voice could be so dangerous?
I was only 47. I was fit and healthy. I didn’t smoke or drink a lot. I ate well. All the things you would expect to do to avoid a heart attack.
A&E were brilliant. If you turn up as a man over 40 with chest pains, they take you seriously. I hardly had time to sit down before I was called through and put on an ECG monitor and had all other kinds of tests done.
The good news is that it was a ‘mild’ heart attack with a low chance of permanent heart damage. Nonetheless, I was kept in hospital for further tests. I was in good spirits, I prayed, and it seemed like all was going to be ok and God had saved me just at the right time. All would be well.
A few days later I had an Angiogram. It’s where they put a thin tube through your arm right into the arteries of your heart and inject dye to see how they are doing. The surgeon doing the procedure went quiet and asked me if I had been having a lot of chest pain for quite some time? I hadn’t, just indigestion, tiredness and headaches.
The angiogram showed that I had very advanced heart disease.
All 3 of my arteries around the heart were severely blocked in several places. The only way forward was to have a triple heart bypass. Open heart surgery.
My first thought was, oh well at least we know what the problem is, and it can be fixed. When I told my wife that evening at visiting time, she took it in her stride (as wives very often do). She said God has our back, we must trust in him and all will be well. However once she had gone, alone in hospital, with all the noise and unable to sleep, the significance hit me. I cried. Why me? What had I done to deserve this? Feeling self-pity and sadness, I was worried that it meant my life was now cut short and I’d not see my kids grow up fully. How would they cope without me?
Looking back I am sure it was the devil attacking me at my lowest point and putting doubt in my head. My hope, faith and positive outlook on life was starting to fade. But then I started to pray and give thanks to God. (Just like Paul and Silas had done when in prison in Philippi as recorded in Acts Ch 16 v 25-28).
I had some praise and worship songs that I started listening to, and I felt Jesus comforting me and giving me peace. I knew that all I needed to do was have faith. To believe and trust in him.
Then a short while later I received a text from my wife saying that I should not worry, that God would see us through and we would come out of this with a testimony as to how God had been with us through the dark times of this experience. It was the message I needed. We had both received the same message from God.
I was not alone. God was with me no matter what happened.
That Sunday I was allowed out of hospital and went to Church. Inspired by my diagnosis my Pastor shared the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego (Daniel 3:1-30) in the furnace with the fourth man. The message was that we are not alone and this thought and message was to see me through.
That day, I gave thanks and praise to God like never before.
4 weeks later I had my triple bypass operation. My initial recovery was text book, and I was home within 4 days.
8 weeks after the operation I was able to write this testimony down. God had been with me throughout. Even though I had my moments, I had never been alone. Jesus had been with me throughout, just like he was with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the furnace. Even the night and the morning before the operation I had no fear. I had complete confidence and trust that God was in charge and he would empower the surgeon to do his best.
I have walked 6 miles in 2 hours and cycled 6 miles in 30 minutes. I am fitter and healthier than I have been in many years. I continue to give thanks and praise because I was saved.
God saw me through.
Adversity comes to us all – You can’t control it or stop it. It’s part of life but you can trust in God.
Read 1 Peter 5:10
Deal with the here and now – there is no point in worrying about the past or thinking about what may happen in the future. Live and be in the moment.
Read Matthew 6:34 (NIV)
Give thanks and praise even in your darkest hour – Turn to God to help you be strong, sing, give thanks for what you do have for he is the greatest comforter.
Read Philippians 4:8
You are not alone – God has your back. Seek solace in the Word – find some verses to use to keep negative thoughts away and stay faithful and positive.
Read Deuteronomy 31:6
Faith is the greatest healer – Everything is for a purpose and God has a plan for us all. If you put your faith and trust in him then you will not be disappointed.
Read James 1:2-4
Know that whatever pain you are suffering, it is nothing compared to the pain and suffering that Jesus endured whilst he died on the cross for all of us.
I stand here as a testimony of Gods greatness. Never give up – Trust in God and Keep your Faith.
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