Love Story July 3, 2018
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name
He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him,
With long life will I satisfy him
And show him my salvation.”
Psalm 91: 14- 15, NIV
Jesus spoke these words to me, written so many centuries ago, when my heart was physically failing on October 10, 2010. I even saw His face while I read the 91st Psalm. I’ve never had Jesus Christ speak directly to me from a scripture. Others have, I know. It was like His eyes looked at me from across the dusty years from Psalm 91 being written, while He spoke to a vast audience about me. It happened this way.
I wound up in Kaiser SunnySide Hospital, waiting for an aortic valve replacement and heart by-pass. My condition was discovered as a result of an infection from another cause. The surgeon said my valve was twice that deemed to be medically critical and constituted heart failure in progress. One of the flock of attendanbts was a middle age Nurses Assistant born and raised in Romania. We quickly became close for she was a sister in the Lord. She knew of what I faced. She told me that her three children had claimed a Psalm, as children, as a theme for their lives. She told me what they were. I asked if I could “borrow” one and she laughingly and said sure. I was stunned when I read Ps 91:14-16 for I recognized Him speaking directly to me.
Dr. Shin was the surgeon that operated on me. He is a slight, exceedingly pleasant Chinese American with a “look” in his eyes that radiates “something.” I was sitting in a side chair near the end of my bed when he came into my room and sat opposite me, across the bed. In becoming acquainted he became aware that I’m a Christian Counselor at Good Samaritan Ministries and also talk to people at church, in our job seekers group, that are on the fear-hopelessness-despair-self harm slippery slope. Having heard this a huge smile lit up his face. He then told me that Jesus Christ had brought us together so that he could use his skills to extend my life. He emphasized this many times. I was speechless. He then told me that his entire team pray together for each person they operate upon and will read something over each patient should it be desired. I blew it. I was so stunned by what he had said that I never got around to giving him Ps 91. Elaine had it though, and while I was in recovery, they read it together. Having said what he did while seated in my room, Dr. Shin stood up, asked if he could pray for me, walked around the end of my bed and sat upon it. H took both of my hands, and profoundly went before the Lord on my behalf. I’m seldom speechless, but this was that rare exception.
The Surgery was done on 10/11/10 at about 1:00 PM. This is being typed 28 days later on 11/8/10. The intervening days have been a physical hell and I still have a few months to go. I’m told that the drugs I received during surgery won’t be completely gone for 6 months. I have some not so bad days, and then there are the others. The nights are the worse. Pain. Breathlessness. Coughing out fluid. But slowly I gain. Slowly. Two steps forward, one back. I have cut off my social contacts because sometime I’m just overwhelmed by that which surrounds me. Elaine suffer by my presence for it is difficult to maintain the aura of “good old Bruce.” In my worst suffering there still rings that words of Ps 91: 14-16 and God is faithful to bring them to my mind every time I need them so desperately.
I know this is written to leave behind for my kids. It’s part of my narrative I started in 2003. I’m going to circulate it, however, because of the testimony of the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. Consider that Romanian Christian. Consider Dr. Shin and his surgical team. Consider the love shown to me by the One that knows that I love Him so much. Yes, if ever there was a testimony of the love of Jesus Christ this does truly qualify. You need to know that He is real, He loves you, and will never abandon you. You need to know that He is with you through pain and suffering. You need to know that you and He are forever. You truly needed to hear this love story.
This is Bruce. It’s now February 1, 2011, 114 days since the surgery. The steroid nose spray prescribed by Dr. Dardis has cut way back on the post nasal drip, coughing, and chest pain. I’m at about 75% and have resumed all normal activity except running in the swimming pool 3 days a week. I’ve also doubled my counseling hours. I’m cautious because I know that the restorative process takes time. I’ll get there. It may take me a few months more, but I know that He that spoke to me in the 91st Psalm is always with me. I could not possibly ask for anything more.
It’s now May 23, 2018 and Wow! I thought I’d update this adventure with Jesus in case it ever make the GSM blog. Someone out there might be facing what this love story is about. That’s why I’m doing this
Submitted by: Bruce Hesselman
Bruce is a long-time Samaritan lay counselor who aims to help people in all stages of life.