It is now over a week since I had my heart attack in Hungary. When it first happened fear dominated my thinking. How bad is this going to get?, Are the paramedics giving me the right care?, What will the level of expertise be at the hospital where they are taking me to? Fortunately, God’s hands were definitely involved in the entire event. Other missionaries who lived close by came to help, and they were able to call for an ambulance which came very quickly. Also, a Christian translator was present to give valuable translation to the paramedics, and I was rushed to Budapest’s first class, cardiac care hospital, Semmelweis University Heart and Vascular Center. The combination of two stents in a partially blocked artery, along with the faithful prayers of friends and family, and the grace of God have all contributed to a speedy recovery for me. Thanks to all those who have prayed and praise to God for His ever present help in trouble!
Now that I am able to have some time to reflect on the events that led up to this incident with my heart attack, it occurred to me that my heart was actually broken before I even arrived in Budapest. Let me explain how this happened. The week before Pam and I left for Hungary, a long time friend of my family was taken to the intensive care unit of a hospital in the western suburbs. He had been battling cancer for the last ten years and now his body organs were shutting down. I liked him a lot because he was a fun person to talk to and always had a good story to share and he really cared to hear what you had to say.
I remember sharing Christ with him ten years ago when he was first diagnosed with cancer. At that time he was open to hearing what I had to say, but in the last few years his heart became more hardened to the gospel message. So as I drove up to the hospitaI I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I got to his room. Before I left my car, I grabbed a couple of my favorite gospel tracts “The Way to God “ that have a picture of Jesus on the cover, and then I headed up to the ICU. When I got there I found that my friend wasn’t able to speak, but was very coherent of what was being said to him. As I walked up to his bedside with my Bible in hand, I was startled to see tremendous fear in his eyes apparently because he realized he was going to die soon and that he would soon be facing his day of judgement. The gravity of his desperate situation unnerved me, but still during my time there I was able to share scripture with him and one of his attending nurses grabbed one of my tracts as she was leaving the room and exclaimed “This is exactly what I need!”
Unfortunately, I don’t believe my friend ever realized that Jesus was what he needed, and as far as I know he died unsaved a few days later. Sorrow for him has gripped my heart and even today two months later I am still saddened by the loss of my friend.
Because of modern day technology, my physical broken heart was quickly repaired in Hungary, and I am on a fast track to full recovery for which I praise God for. However the death of my unsaved friend back in Chicago broke my other heart. And sad to say this heart will stay broken never again to be repaired this side of heaven.
So, I want to exhort any Christians who read this, in the name of Jesus Christ, to please reach out to your neighbors and loved ones with the gospel while there is still time. Please! Bring them the good news that will keep them from experiencing the fearful day of judgment that my friend has had to face!
Forever broken-in-heart for those that are perishing
Hebrews 9 27 And just as it is appointed for [all] men once to die, and after that the [certain] judgment,
28 Even so it is that Christ, having been offered to take upon Himself and bear as a burden the sins of many once and once for all, will appear a second time, not to carry any burden of sin nor to deal with sin, but to bring to full salvation to those who are [eagerly, constantly, and patiently] waiting for and expecting Him. Amplified Bible (AMP)