I’m so glad to be able to sit here and have enough clarity to tell you what a stroke taught me.
I don’t remember the ambulance that took me to the hospital or the helicopter that airlifted me to a cardio hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. A large blood clot was removed from my brain stem by a tube that ran up through the main artery from my groin. I don’t remember much of anything for the five days at the hospital. I’m tired, but I learned a life-changing lesson.
Later, as my wife drove me down busy Highway 10 to the cardiologist—because the loop recorder monitoring device they inserted into my chest began bleeding—my brain experienced a sharp pain, causing me to close my eyes. The Holy Spirit brought Psalm 23 to mind. As I began to rest in the psalmist’s words about my Lord Jesus, the pain disappeared and the dizziness went away.
I continued to rest in Psalm 23 as we approached the hospital. I felt love holding my brain. Such a warm safe feeling can’t be put into words. It has to be experienced.
I began to understand that Almighty God had shown me the center of the life of Christianity: a relationship with the Good Shepherd of John chapter 10. The One who calls each of His sheep by name is touching me as He leads me, even through the valley of the shadow of death. My Shepherd loves me and knows best, whatever lies ahead.
In this is where I rest, even to my last breath. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
When walking through the valley of the shadow of death, everything else is discovered to be merely a vapor. Our relationship with the Good Shepherd is the center of day-to-day living.
Quote Psalm 23 to yourself often.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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The Rev. Dr. Bob Segress served as a licensed psychological clinician for twenty-five years. Upon retiring, he served for fifteen years as a prison minister. Retiring again, he began writing full-time after a period of boredom. He has written: The Biblical Approach To Psychology while serving as a college educator, The Shelton Series, and, in 2012, Ten Years Inside Shelton Prison. Currently, he writes for several publications such as Halo Magazine.