Sometimes something so unexpected happens that I find that I need to pinch myself to see if I am dreaming. Sunday service last week began with the usual program of hymns, announcements, choir, and prayer – pretty much like any other given Sunday at church. I never imagined that what occurred this particular Sunday would be something that changes me forever, that left an impression on my heart and melted my very soul. But then again, wouldn’t that be cool for each and every Sunday at church? At First UMC, it is!
You see, Pastor Andrew asked a very simple question. He began with the children during kids’ time. Following more songs and church-like stuff, he continued to the adults with something so ordinary, a topic quite common during the season of Thanksgiving. He directed us to turn in our pews and and discuss a question among others seated around us.
Now, don’t these kinds of exercises sometimes make you feel uncomfortable? Really. Here we are in church and all and now the Pastor wants us to talk to each other. One mostly expects to just sit there and listen.
Not today. Pastor Andrew had a point to make. Get this though. I think, no,… I know that he had no clue of the miracle that happened way in the back of the congregation, upstairs hidden in the balcony even, where Dan and I sat with several other of our parent friends.
His question was simple.
His question was hard.
He asked us: “Who are you most thankful for?”
Hummmmmm. Think about that. Of course, leave it to Isaac to answer Abraham Lincoln. What? Now it was the adult’s turn. And we had to talk all personal-like in front of others in the group. My mind was racing. What single individual has made the biggest impression on me for which I am most grateful, most thankful?
“Dan! You’re the oldest. You go first!” I heard another mom say. (Good. I’m off the hook; at least for a little while. Hummm… wonder who Dan will say? Glad I don’t have to go first — gives me more time to think up something to say.) For now, my hott-hubby Dan was on the spot. And you know what? He.didn’t.blink.an.eye. Without hesitation, without a second to ponder, without taking an extra minute to run through the hundreds of people he could mention that have made the biggest impression on him and he is thankful for, he said something that surprised me AND blessed me beyond belief.
“Angie.” His answer was “Angie.” “Before I met Angie, I didn’t know Jesus. Now,… I do.”
“But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful.” – Psalm 68:3
Next thing I knew I was kissing Dan in the pew right there in church in front of people! It was like God Himself reached in and touched my heart in a way I have never felt. Dan was not a Christian when I met him many, many years ago. Dan was every bit a scientist, an engineer, a practical farm boy from Maryland. Christian? Oh no.
But, God changed his heart. Not me.
Can I tell you something else? This week, Dan had an appointment with his cardiologist. They checked his ICD (internal defibrilator) and did another ecg. Yes. It’s still there.
Dan’s heart shows an alarming message that was discovered about 18 months ago. He has a very rare thing called Brugada Syndrome. It is an irregular pattern that could cause sudden death. Yuck, right? His neurologist thinks maybe Parkinson’s gives his heart mixed messages.
But this message is clear: God now has Dan’s heart in His hands.
For that, I give God my “heartfelt thanks”.
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