This man lays clinging to life. His journey began 36 hours ago with the surgeon’s singular intention of opening his chest and repairing an aneurysm on his ascending aorta. A risky and difficult procedure at best.
Minutes prior to the performance of this intention, the discovery was made that this man needed to have the mitral valve in his heart replaced. Accomplishing this involved stopping his heart, slicing it open and inserting a new valve, donated by a now deceased bovine.
With both procedures complete, this man had his heart restarted and all appeared well. Fifteen minutes later, this man crashed and burned. The surgeon waged war against the ambush of death by performing a double bypass procedure. This man endured three major heart surgeries in one 9.5 hour session.
This man is connected to every machine in the picture. This man loves and serves Jesus. This man could celebrate the 43rd anniversary of marriage to his faithful wife tomorrow. This man… …is my Dad.
I’m living the picture you’re looking at. I’m feeling the pains, hearing the beeps and seeing the sights that come with watching someone stand at the threshold of death. Feeling, hearing and seeing, not as a pastor, not as a friend, but as a son. A son who benefitted from the nurture, disclipline and example of a now suffering Dad. A son, helpless at the side of his hero.
A son helpless, but not without hope. The Lord is using my living of this picture to impress many things upon my heart. One of which is this: Optimism must have an anchor. It does no good for me to willy nilly ‘hope for’ or envision the best. No help comes from simply ‘having a good feeling’ about things. Both are equally useless. I am optimistic regarding my Dad’s condition because that optimism is anchored/traced back to my relationship with Jesus and his as well.
At the moment the situation is dark. At the same moment I’m genuinely optimistic. At the moment I’m feeling along the links in optimism’s chain – and holding tight to her anchor – Jesus.