Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I Was Dying But I Decided to Live

I almost died two weeks ago but I made a choice to live.

I've been wanting to tell my story for a while but there hasn't been much time so I am attempting to tell it today.

Two weeks ago I woke on a Monday morning. It started like any other morning as the alarm went off and I turned to my phone to read my Bible before getting out of bed. But as I was reading, the screen suddenly changed. It confused me at first until I noticed my thumb was touching the screen. But I couldn't feel it touching the screen. Then the screen changed again.

I figured my arm had gone to sleep so I switched the phone to my left hand but as I did my right arm fell by my side, lifeless. I could not move it. I couldn't even feel it. Then a wave of strangeness washed over me and I knew I was in trouble. I didn't know what was wrong but I knew it was something terrible.

I nudged my wife and told her I was feeling strange. She rolled over and looked at me. She quickly sprung up and said "Something is wrong with your face." Fear and panic was all over hers. I realized that I couldn't feel the right side of my face and talking suddenly took a great deal of effort. Everything suddenly seemed to go into slow motion and took on an alien feeling. It all looked and felt unfamiliar. That's when my brain turned to mush and my thinking became muddled.

I managed to get out the words, "Call 9-1-1".

I couldn't believe the words that were coming out of my mouth. Did I really need help? Yes I did. Panic started to grip me.

I turned to get out of bed and promptly fell into my nightstand and slid onto the floor. Where I fell is where I stayed. I couldn't move, even though I could tell it was awkward and painful I could not will my body to get into a more comfortable position. Not only couldn't I will my body to move, I didn't care to move.

As my wife was talking to the 9-1-1 operator a strange realization hit me: I was dying. In that instant I was overwhelmed by the presence of Jesus. Words describe it have yet to be invented. To describe it poorly, my whole being was flooded by peace and joy. I started to sing, if that is what it could be called with half my mouth paralyzed. I was overwhelmed with a desire to proclaim the name of Jesus and to tell him I loved him. I just kept saying over and over again, "I love you Jesus" because he was right there holding me.

I didn't see him. There was no bright light or tunnel. There was only the comforting presence of my Lord, pushing away all fear, worry, concern and anxiety. There was only peace, joy, and gladness.

As this was happening I was also telling my wife how much I loved her and that it was okay. I told her that I was going now and that I wanted to say good-bye to my children. Things were beginning to fade and the presence of Jesus grew stronger. This life was fading away, the world was behind me, there wasn't any desire in me but to go. I wanted to go. I was longing to go. Everything of this earth was passing away, my mind and heart were filled only with a desire for Jesus.

I turned to my wife to say a final good-bye and to again express my love, but I was struck by what I saw. It was her tears that caused me to turn away from what I was feeling and desiring, to realize her situation. Her reality began to penetrate the peace and joy that enveloped me. Suddenly I felt selfish as images of what she would be left with came flooding into my mind. My heart welled up with love, compassion and concern for this woman who I loved so dearly. I saw the children, the store, the finances, her loneliness and I knew I couldn't leave her like that.

Something changed. I had a desire to stay. I asked to stay. I fought against my own will in order to stay. And I told my wife as much as she continued dealing with the 9-1-1 operator. I started telling her "I'm fighting. I'm fighting." Unfortunately, due to the paralysis of my face what came out was "I'm farting," but somehow she understood. I refused to close my eyes and I started thanking Jesus for my life.

The Scripture that kept going through my head and heart was:

"I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me." (Philippians 1:20-26)

By the time the paramedics arrived my brain was functioning as if I was drunk. I was enveloped by peace and joy due to the presence of the Lord but I knew I wasn't going to die. I knew I had a choice and I made it for the sake of my wife. Oh, I wanted to go. I wanted to enter into rest. I was more than content to leave the burdens of this world behind but for the sake of my wife I decided to stay and the Lord honoured the desire of my heart.

The paramedics and fire fighters managed to pick me up off the floor and strap me into a chair to get me down the stairs. I was frustrated I couldn't help them, having no strength in the functioning part of my body. I remember apologizing that I weighed so much ( I am a tall man) but they politely ignored me. As they wheeled me out of the bedroom my daughter Jennifer looked on with great concern. I tried my best to convey to her that I loved her and that everything was going to be okay. But there was no waiting now. Those paramedics thought they had 3 hours to save my life, they had no idea what the Lord was already doing. The power of our God was about to manifest.

Wait until you read what miracle happened next. Part two.

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