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Spiritual Diagnosis

by Eric Frandsen
Photo by Marcelo Leal on Unsplash
 
In 1998, I suffered a major heart attack. Then in 2013 I had a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in lung). Following this were numerous tests that showed I had an aortic embolism—a bulge in the aorta. I asked the surgeon, “How can this be so dangerous when I have no pain?” He said that I was missing the early signs of major problems and just getting by on luck, but I should have it looked after. He said he could have me in the operating room in 5-7 days, quite a record for the state of our medical care system. He also reminded me that sometimes people do not make it out of this surgery. Now he was talking serious business.
I needed a little time, I consulted with my family doctor, my cardiologist and they both said “Get on board before the opening disappears.” Then I made an appointment with a funerary firm as to what to plan for an end of life. That was a total surprise to my wife, Susan.

I called the surgeon in late August and he wanted an echo-cardiogram, which showed blocked cardiac arteries and multiple heart attacks (MI’s). It also showed more enlargements to the aorta, which was now more than double the normal size. The seriousness of it all was now sinking in. I was booked for September 2, 2015, and showed up early for preparation about 9:00 a.m. with surgery scheduled for 1:00 p.m. I was well aware of what was going on around me and made my peace with God and my family. I expected to wake up in the Kingdom and now was actually looking forward to that aspect of it—leave this old dirty world behind and wake up in the Kingdom of God!

The next thing I heard as consciousness returned was “He’s breathing on his own.” What a disappointment! However, I got over that soon after. I do enjoy being back on good old earth, but found I was not prepared for the aftermath of this trip. I was scheduled to leave the hospital in five days which turned into 12 as there were complications to deal with. The pain was heavier than I expected.
The surgeon said my aorta was paper thin and he replaced it just in time. The coronary arteries also had to be cleaned of plaque before they could complete the bypass. They told me there is a year’s worth of proper recovery time, but I figured I was quite strong and would be working and running around in a couple of months. This turned out to be overly optimistic and now reality has settled in. I’ll have to work out healing time as the LORD says “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” So now I am understanding that I am not a superman but must remain a humble human for the time now and must work on exercise and strength training.

The Bible describes God as the One who judges us. People find a way to justify everything they do, “but the Lord weighs the hearts” (Proverbs 21:2). When we come before the true God, we cannot hide what we’ve done. We must admit our mistakes and repent of our sins. For though we may lie even to ourselves, God knows the truth: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins” (1 John 1:8-9). Pharaoh actually confessed to sin twice (Exodus 9:27; 10:16); but he immediately reverted to his obstinacy both times, remaining deceived about himself and the reality he was facing.

How do we respond to God? Are we like Pharaoh? Do we confess sin only when we are being punished and soon harden our hearts again to disobey Him? Do we see ourselves as we really are? Do we respond as we should to God’s gentle correction? If we choose a stubborn, self-deceiving hardened heart like Pharaoh, God will have to use stronger discipline to get our attention!
A major lesson of the Exodus is that God is always in control.  When my heart (arteries) were physically hard as stone, it was God that carried me through the ignorance I had about my state.
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