Monday, April 25, 2011

Life and Salvation

Spring is my favorite season of the year. Trees are turning green as temperatures rise from the cold and gloomy winter period. Everywhere you look the signs of spring greet your senses. You can see God’s hand on the beauty surrounding your place on our blue marble hanging in the blackness of this corner of the immense universe. All manner of creatures are coming alive as the temporary drabness of winter fades into history. Each spring I am awed by the grandeur and majesty of this very special time of year. Flowers begin their fragrant growth fueled by the often abundant rainfall. This special renewal period reminds me of my long ago youth of care free exuberance. Each year I am made aware of the special importance of this wondrous and unique period. There is a very special holiday celebrated for over two thousand years each spring in the Christian world, mostly in March but sometimes in April. Another much less famous event is acknowledged every April first. The former is the crucifixion of Jesus and the latter is April Fool’s Day. This year both events hold a special place in my heart.

Friday, April 1, 2011 began with clear and sunny skies. It was one of those days you are glad you are alive experiencing the handiwork of God. I ran several errands early that morning and exchanged text messages with my home health-care worker. About 10:30 a.m., the volunteer with “Meals on Wheels” arrived with my noon meal. I placed the meal in my microwave and began reading my email devotionals. The day was warming up nicely. Sometime between 11:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m., my left elbow suddenly began feeling very heavy and tired. Massaging my elbow didn’t help. Then without warning, I began experiencing heavy pressure in the middle of my chest. I had endured each of these symptoms separately, but never together. I thought this was a very bad prank to have on such a beautiful day. I had the brilliant idea that propping my feet up would help ease the pain. In the previous occurrences the pain and pressure soon went away. Immediately after propping my feet up, I realized this event was very different than the others. I stood up and placed my hand over my heart. I had a very fleeting thought I was going to see my late wife in heaven. I then said a prayer. I asked God to allow me the opportunity to bring people to Him to be saved if it was His will. Other than severe pain, I was able to think clearly.

I decided to drive myself to the clinic about a half mile from my duplex. After suffering through a rude encounter with the receptionist, the doctor saw me immediately. The doctor saw me quickly because I had asked the person behind the window to call me an ambulance. I fully expected her to say, “You’re an ambulance.” Once in the exam room, I was attached to an EKG machine, given an aspirin and a nitroglycerin tablet. The doctor was quite upset I drove to the clinic instead of calling 911. I still didn’t realize, I was having a heart attack. I asked the doctor if I would be able to go home soon. My doctor told me no because I was having serious cardiac issues. Five minutes after the first “nitro” tablet, I was given a second. Events began to occur rapidly. Before I could be given a third “nitro” tablet, the paramedics arrived. I was quickly placed on a stretcher and rushed to the nearest hospital thirty minutes away. In the trauma room at the hospital, I was deluged with questions and forms to sign.

I was being prepared for surgery. At 1:19 p.m., I received a text from my mentor asking where I was for our Skype phone call meeting. I struggled to enter a short reply. I entered “Me in ER.” Moments later, my cell phone rang. Answering I valiantly tried speaking. In frustration, I handed the phone to a nurse helping wheel me into surgery. She said something about I wasn’t able to talk because I was heading into surgery for my heart. Making an incision in my groin, the cardiologist placed two stents in the major artery of my heart. After they were inserted, I felt instantly better. The heart doctor said I was extremely lucky and I had very little damage done to my heart as a result of the heart attack. I was released from the hospital on Sunday the third.

I am extremely grateful and humbled for all the prayers said for me by members of World Prayr, my church, family, friends and strangers on FaceBook and Twitter. I firmly believe these prayers helped reduce the damage to my heart and aided my recovery. I thank God for my second chance at life. I am coping with my brush with death as best I can. I have a new purpose for living now. I no longer have a fear of dying. I will do my best to lead as many people as I can to God as we are instructed to do in Matthew 28:19.

My experience on April 1, 2011 points dramatically at the value and reasons to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. As the holiday remembering Jesus’ supreme sacrifice for our sins, past, present and future, nears, we should all be thankful God gave His son to bear our sins. The crucifixion of Christ is the most important of all holidays. Yet, as Christians, we place more importance on His birth than His death. It was His life and death as the sacrificial lamb to bear the sin of all mankind which should be most important. The most unsettling part of Easter is some people, even Christians, think Easter is the prelude to sale discounts. As believers, we need to change the opinion of people who have this mistaken idea. Could that be the reason God spared my life? In any event, it is going to be my mission to sow the seeds of salvation to as many people as I can. Will you join me in my crusade?

Robert Dodson
April 2011
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