Our Good Shepherd is Faithful
Before I begin I would like to offer my gratitude to each of you. My family and I saw the beauty in the hands and feet of Christ as you came alongside and supported us. Truly, your acts of service were a light on display for all to see. You encouraged us! We were humbled and overwhelmed to learn that you all were praying for us. Your prayers are so precious to our family! Thank you to the many who visited us in the hospital and brought us meals and flowers. We praise Jesus for each of you.
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True…” Revelation 19:11
The morning of May 18th at ~7:40 AM was quite possibly the most terrifying of my life. I was minutes away from leaving for work as Beth was getting ready for the day. I was playing with Jesse in his rock ‘n play in my bedroom next to the bathroom entrance while Eden was standing right next to me on my right when the first shock struck. At first I thought that something hit the house but then the chilling reality came over me – that wasn’t the house, that was my ICD! I stammered backwards after letting out a loud guttural noise and yelled, “where’s my magnet!” I scrambled to the dresser right behind me and grabbed the magnet and began to place it to my chest when the second pulse rocked me. I began to scream at this point and somehow found myself on the floor in front of the dresser. Eden had already run out of the room terrified and was crying. Jesse was screaming in his rock ‘n play while Beth frantically asked what she could do and whether or not she should call 911. She was even shocked as she sat down next to me while touching me to see if she could somehow help. I was desperately asking her to help and to make it stop. She dialed 911 as the third shock rippled through my body. I was now crippled with fear as I lay on the carpet clutching the blue magnet with my right hand pressed firmly on my chest over the device. I had no idea if the magnet was actually working and whether or not the jolts of electricity would come to an end. The fourth burst hit and I found myself reciting Psalm 23 out loud:
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…”
Boom! As the fifth and final jolt hit me I had two surprising thoughts race through my mind. I first thought about the suffering and persecuted church. I thought of our brothers and sisters in Christ who are tormented beyond their control.
“Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.” Hebrews 13:3
I then thought of hell with its eternal torment and agony beyond our comprehension and how there are so many people around me who are lost and dying. They need to know the One who is called Faithful and True! I know that my trial doesn’t compare to the ongoing suffering of the church and is trivial to the horror of hell but those thoughts were very real and vivid in that moment as I endured my own form of torment beyond my control.
Jesus is merciful, faithful, and true to the end. We saw His merciful hand through the timing of the shocks. I was minutes from being on the road where I would most likely have been in an accident and perhaps unable to dial 911. I also was reaching down to pick up my 4 month old when the first shock hit. I would most certainly have dropped him and he could have felt the electricity through me. It could have happened 12 hours earlier when I was driving the kids home or the next day when Beth would have been out of town at a conference. The timing could not have been better. His mercy was also visible through the unknown new surgeon who specializes in lead extraction and replacement surgery. Even though I just met him, he took the time to gather all the necessary information and also treated me like his colleague by including me in his treatment discussions. The time gap between hospital admission and surgery, although not ideal, ended up being needed as the clinical staff needed the time to properly plan my surgery. My faith was strengthened because I saw how Jesus is faithful and true to His Word. He keeps His promises. I knew that He was with me, just like He promised, during the terrifying minutes in my bedroom.
“… for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4b
Also, in moments of discouragement He brought me the exact comforting and truthful words that my heart needed.
I know that the Lord allowed this frightening incident which turned our world upside down. Through it He provided opportunities to speak with people that we would otherwise not have met. I was able to share my faith with many including paramedics, nurses, OR staff, IR staff, transporters, patient care technicians, environmental staff, doctors, and colleagues from work. I also had discussions that ranged from homeschooling to the horrors of Sharia Law and had the opportunity to pray with my surgeon prior to surgery. I even had a discussion about how Beth treated me because her love for me radiated for all to see. She, my kids, and I all had opportunities to shine the light of Christ into a dark world. We praise the Lord for using us in this manner and pray that He continues to receive the glory.
In the end, as difficult as it is to say, this alarming chapter in our lives was a gift from the Lord. Not only did it provide all the aforementioned opportunities, it reminded me that my faith is often times in what I see instead of in what Jesus says. To quote Jon Bloom from his book Not By Sight, “When circumstances strike fear into our hearts, the question we must ask ourselves is, where is your faith? What God wants is for you to trust what he says over what you see.” Secondly, we were reminded just how powerful Jesus is as we saw the events unfold and experienced His loving touch through fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Also, this trial was an opportunity for our children to see Beth and I walk out the faith that we desperately try to pour into them. In addition, I am more aware than ever of my weaknesses and need to completely depend upon Him. Lastly, I am reminded how the Lord is indeed a good shepherd that watches over me.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life…” Psalm 23:6
He pursues me. He pursues you. The Lord of all creation pursues us!
Please continue to pray as fear has an easier access into my mind and heart. The anxiety can be crippling if I am not diligent in taking every thought captive. I can be inappropriately shocked again and there is no telling exactly when it will happen. I must keep my eyes on the author and perfecter of my faith as I set forth to completely trust in Him.