Suddenly it dawned on me. I was unafraid.
As surely and as steadily as light advances from the morning sun, the realization permeated and overpowered every shadow of doubt and anxiety in my mind.
I was alive, and I was free. Free of the darkness of doubt and despair that once hung over me like a sodden cloak of tears and I was aware, no, I knew, the promises of God are real. They are yes. They are amen.
My Experience with a Brain Aneurism
Only a few hours before, I had been felled by a bleeding brain aneurism and had been shuttled through two different hospitals as doctors worked to identify the problem and get me to the proper facility, and the team of physicians and surgeons, who could, they hoped, repair the damage.
I had been in and out of consciousness most of that time and only recall faces, worried faces, of family and friends gathered around me to pray and encourage.
I was aware, deeply aware, that I longed for, and needed, divine intervention.
My prayers were anything but profound. “Help me God”, was about all I could muster at first but then I remembered the repentant prayer of David when he begged God to wash away his sin, renew the presence of the Holy Spirit and restore the joy of his salvation. Keenly aware of my own sinful nature, I prayed that prayer over and over.
It was just as I was about to be wheeled into the operating room that I noticed the calm washing over me. The surgeon must have noticed this as he looked directly into my eyes and said, "This is a very serious surgery you know”. I held his steady gaze, nodded my head as best I could and forced a mumbled, “I know”.
I was wheeled into the room and as the team began to transfer me to the operating table I was looking around the room, absent fear, and with the strangest thought, “ I wonder what this will all look like from the ceiling if I am released from my body today”.
Hours later, I awoke, still in my body and seeing the beautiful faces of my mom and my wife hovering over me like angels. There were others there too, my daughters, my son, some friends, all looking at me expectantly waiting to see if I was back and praise God, I was! Despite the huge bandages and the many tubes and wires, I was back, breathing and feeling the warmth of the love of my family envelop me.
The rest of that day is a blur in many ways, but I do recall praising and thanking God for his mercy and for what I believed was a second chance to find, and fulfill, my purpose.
The work He had prepared in advance for me.
But then I noticed a feeling, or a voice, creeping into my mind that seemed to be fighting against my new-found freedom.
“You are unworthy”, it seemed to say, “unclean and undeserving”. And, of course, I knew that to be true but, almost desperately, I thought to myself:
- What about David? He was undeserving too and yet God forgave him and even blessed his union with Bathsheba by giving them a son, Solomon.
- What about the sinners and rebels: from Moses to the denying Peter, whom Jesus once called Satan?
- What about the adulteress woman, the prostitutes, the tax collectors, the thief on the cross?
- What about the great persecutor of Christ and His church, Saul of Tarsus?"
- And what about myself? I can be counted, at best, amongst those whom Jesus referred to as “You of little faith”. What about me?
That all too familiar voice, seemed to be fighting vigorously to torture and dominate my mind. I wearied, yes, but I did not despair. Soon I drifted off to sleep…wrapped in a cocoon of hope.
The Voice of Truth
I do not know how long I slept but I awoke suddenly with a clarity of mind and such a sense of excitement and anticipation that I wonder at it still. I reached for pen and paper and began to scribble in the dark in response to a different voice;
The incarnation, God among us, could have been the means to ensure the punishment we so justly deserve for our rebellion. But, no, God conceived the Incarnation as the means to stack all the weight of His power and might in our favor and even as this once glorious planet was groaning under the weight of our depravity his Son disrobed in heaven to take the form of a lowly servant to His own creation.
The Gospel of the Incarnation proclaims God’s boundless, limitless and incomprehensible love for us, the unfathomable depths of His grace and it unleashed the ferocious determination of The Lion of Judah, to lay waste all the barriers and all the evil which separated us from His Father.
The incarnation is proof positive that God loves us so intensely, so furiously, that He was willing to send His Son, Jesus, to show us, once for all, by His passion, how intensely God wants us to be free to live the life of Joy He intended for us from before creation.
Jesus is the new dawn, the light of this world. He is the author of life abundant and the source and the way of perfect peace. Through Christ, the incarnation, we have the covenant knowledge of the raging desire of heaven that we be in unity with Him, the Father and the Holy Spirit forever.
Yes, I thought, this is the voice, the only voice, of truth. I am loved. I am clean. I am healed .… and I am free. Praise be to God!!!
Terry Mahoney is a Chaplain with Corporate Chaplains. To read more blog posts from our Chaplains, you can visit our Corportate Chaplains page.