God’s Best for Me TodayBlog / Produced by The High Calling
"The doctors knew I had only a few days to live, and the wait for a heart transplant can be months or years. I needed a miracle," says Steve Resch. In this article from our Resurrection series, Resch reminds us to give our hearts a place to stand — on the truth of Scripture.
First Heart Event: A Place to Stand
On a beautiful, warm, April Saturday morning, the grass was green and high, and I was looking forward to the first springtime mowing. After making just one pass, I felt dizzy, short of breath, and sick to my stomach. There was no pain, and I had no idea why I was feeling that way. It was nearly an hour before I would let my wife drive me to the hospital. I was 54.
As soon as I arrived at the emergency room, six people began shouting orders and inserted two IV’s. I had to sign those confounded release forms—I could be dead in a few minutes, and you want me to do paperwork?
When I was stabilized, they moved me to Cardiac ICU. I remember lying on a bed being rolled down the hall. Looking up, I wondered how many other eyes had traveled the Celotex ceiling highway, en route to an unknown outcome. Clickety-clack, the wheels bumped onto the elevator, then clickety-clack onto the second floor. As we rounded the corner to my room, I got a breath-taking charley horse right in the middle of my chest. The pain increased, and I started hyperventilating. The staff started shouting orders and recruiting new attendants. New electrodes were stuck onto my chest, and I was hooked up to more equipment.
“On a scale of one to ten, one being low and ten being high, how does the pain feel?” About a four. “How does it feel now?” About a six. “Now?” Eight. It took two hours of oxygen, nitroglycerin, and morphine to get things under control. This second wave of pain convinced me I could be near death. While the pain throbbed, a child’s prayer crept out of some inner recess, “If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” I had never taken that prayer seriously, but in that moment, I personalized it!
I lay there contemplating the end of this life and the beginning of the next one. Then Isaiah 26:3 flooded my consciousness. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee” (KJV). What I needed was a place to stand and that beautiful scripture verse gave it to me.
Angioplasty removed the blockage, and I was able to recover in peace with the hope of more life. I had faced near-death, and God raised me up to tell about it.
Second Heart Event: God’s Best for Me Today
Ten years later, on Thanksgiving Eve 2005, I was scheduled for a stent insertion to treat my damaged heart. The procedure uses a wire mesh tube to prop open an artery after angioplasty. To prepare for this scary event, I memorized Psalm 73:26.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
In the middle of the procedure, the doctor peered around the blue curtain draping my face, making eye contact. He flipped up his Plexiglas mask and grumpily announced, “I’m aborting this procedure. You need more than a stent!” The next day I was wheeled into surgery for a quadruple bypass.
Although open-heart surgery was a big deal to me, it appeared routine to the hospital staff. After surgery, I was taken to the ICU where the anesthesia gradually wore off. In addition to the ventilator and IVs, I had two tubes protruding from my abdomen that drained the wound. The hours wore on, and the tubes kept producing blood; something was seriously wrong. I kept losing blood, and I was dying. To keep me alive over the following six hours I received seven units of blood and four units of platelets. Around midnight, I was wheeled back into surgery and opened up again. This revealed the source of the bleeding: a “nicked” aorta from the first surgery—an accident that now had to be repaired.
When I eventually woke up later that Thanksgiving Day, I was indeed grateful to be alive. Then the verse I memorized, Psalm 73:26, came to mind. I focused my blurry thoughts on the words, especially where God promises to be “my portion forever.” What did that mean? Through my fog, I felt in my hand a plastic and metal box with a button. I pushed it and felt warmth and soothing comfort waft over me. “Thank you, Lord, for my portion for this day.” (I pushed the button again and again for another portion, but the morphine timer required me to wait 15 minutes.)
A few days later, I traded in the morphine for pain pills, my portion for that day. I continued to recover, each day focusing on “my portion forever.” God was telling me he would provide what I needed for each medical procedure. From that realization, I developed a little saying: “This is God’s best for me today.”
Throughout the three weeks in the hospital, each day marking the slightest improvement, I realized I was still alive; I had my wonderful family and friends, who were praying for me. Each of these thoughts reminded me God is my portion forever. No matter what happened, I could proclaim “This is God’s best for me today.”
The bypass lasted for seven years, but over time, congestive heart failure from my damaged heart overtook me, and it looked as if I was nearing the end of my days.
Third Heart Event: He Has Dealt Bountifully with Me
In December 2011, a failing heart forced me to retire from university teaching. Even though I was drawing social security, I had planned on always teaching—I didn’t want to retire. But my heart became three times its normal size, and the valves would not open and close properly. It was beyond repair. I coughed all the time and could hardly catch my breath.
On March 1, after much testing, I was approved for the heart transplant list. Three days later, I became so sick that I was admitted to the hospital and was given IV medication to make my heart beat stronger. Would I leave there alive? This time, my place to stand was Psalm 13:5-6, which I memorized.
But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the LORD,
because he has dealt bountifully with me. (ESV)
I heard someone once say a miracle is an ordinary occurrence with extraordinary timing. The doctors knew I had only a few days to live, and I needed a miracle. The wait for a heart transplant can be months or years. Two weeks after I was put on the list, we got the call.
Before I was wheeled into surgery, wondering if this might be our last interaction, I prayed with my family, gave them a blessing, kissed them, and quoted my verses one last time.
Many hours later, the surgeon said to my family and friends in the waiting room, “The transplant is a fairly simple procedure. And he did fine!”
Since then, I wake with a smile and the words: “I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” I am daily awed anew and grateful for a new heart and new days of precious life.
This Easter, I rejoice in the fact that Jesus was gloriously resurrected, making it possible to live each day with a resurrected heart. That is the truth on which I stand. That is God's best for me—for us all—today.