If you could start your life over, would you take up that chance? If you could make up for the areas you have failed, would you try to do things better? What if you died and were brought back to life? Would you see things in a different light?
It was three years ago today that I received my second chance at life. I had just undergone a surgery and while I was recovering, I kept thinking that something wasn’t right. Within a week, I phoned the doctor and his assistant asked to me to come in right away. When I arrived at the surgery center the doctor to one look at me and said that he had to do another surgery immediately. I was very weak and lethargic, and so overcome with nervousness that I didn’t think to ask any questions. I just followed the doctor’s orders and went out to the waiting room to tell my husband that I needed to undergo another surgery, and that he should come back in a few hours. I was prepped, given an anesthetic and the next thing I remember was waking up to empty, quiet room, waiting for what seemed to be eternity, before someone came in to check on me. Eventually two nurses came in, attended to me, and I was released to go home and start my recovery over again.
Over the next few days my recovery seemed very normal, with the exception of one thing…the center of my chest felt as if the bone was bruised. I thought I was going crazy because I hadn’t done anything active in weeks. So why did it feel like I had been punched in the chest? I was beginning to get paranoid. I kept rubbing it and asking my husband what it could be. I didn’t find out my answer until I went back to the doctor’s a week later for a follow-up visit. When I arrived at the office the receptionist informed me that my surgeon wasn’t there and that I would see one of the other doctors on staff. As I followed my normal, soft-spoken nurse to an exam room, I was not prepared for the news I was about to hear.
As the nurse began to take my blood pressure, she got very close to me and began to whisper. She told me that she needed to tell me something important. That she could lose her job for telling me, but that I needed to know about my miracle. During the surgery the doctor had given me too much anesthesia and I had lost blood pressure and oxygen for quite a while. I sat there stunned as I listened to her description of what happened. I was wearing a light blue pair of jeans, to which she pointed to and said, “Your whole body was the color of your pants. They were trying to resuscitate you for five minutes and you wouldn’t come back.” She went on to say that she remembered I was a pastor and that’s when she started to pray. As soon as she began crying out to God, my oxygen jumped to 100 percent and my blood pressure was perfectly normal. She ended by telling me that I should be dead, but she watched me walk out the door alive and well, as if nothing had happened. Well that explained why my chest had been hurting, but now there were so many more unanswered questions.
Over the next few days and weeks I was overcome by a rollercoaster of emotions. Those words, “I should be dead,” kept echoing in my mind. I began to question why I was still alive. I couldn’t figure out why God cared enough to allow me to keep on living this life? Sometimes I was extremely grateful to be alive and other times I was overcome with feelings of guilt. I was struggling with my life purpose and I couldn’t understand why I was given this second chance? I had so many questions like; “Why is my life important and Why does God care about me?” Then during one of my devotional times I read something in Psalm 118 that was as if the Lord had put it there specifically for me, “I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done.” This was the hope that I was looking for. I hung on to every single one of these words. God was assuring me that He had restored my life for a purpose!
As my understanding of the love of God kept growing, I couldn’t stop reading about His promises in the scripture. I read Jeremiah 1:5 which says; “Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you.” The Lord had known this would happen before I was even born and He was using this incident to wake me up. Then I read Jeremiah 29:11 which says; “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God loved me so much, and it was evident that He wanted me to know Him more deeply so that He could use me to share that hope with other people. I truly began to see my life in a different light. It wasn’t enough for me to continue to live an aimless existence, but to be a living example of the Love of God.
This miracle and these promises are not just for me. They are for you! The Lord knew each and every one of us before the creation of the world. It’s not an accident that you are alive. You don’t have to be raised from the dead to know that the Lord’s plans are to prosper you, and to give you a future and a hope. This is your second chance at life. What will you do?