Ten years ago I was sitting in a dark room with a cardiologist when he said "You have viral cardiomyopathy." That sounded like a foreign language. Being somewhat astute, I knew viral had something to do with a virus and cardio had to do with my heart. Beyond that I didn't know.
I don't remember what my doctor said. I did what anyone would do when they need to know something: I Googled it. This turned out to be a bad idea.
The research I found at the time indicated a final and predominant theme: death. One piece that stood out to me said this type of illness is found in young athletic people -- which I was -- during their autopsies. The dark room with the cardiologist was bright compared to how dark everything else was getting.
Cardiomyopathy is a weakening of the heart muscle, hindering the circulation of blood. I mention this life-marking event not to draw sympathy or to demonstrate that I learned something about cardiac medicine but to share an important marker in my own walk with God.
A few months following this diagnosis, my wife and I had our first child. I graduated from seminary and moved back to Missouri. Life should've been grand. Yet all the time this dark cloud seemed to be following me.
Life hits the hardest when it's out of our control. It's a car accident on the way home from a party or a doctor who says, "We need to talk." During the dark days following this diagnosis the Lord reminded me of these words in Scripture, "my grace is sufficient for you."
Paul, to whom these words were first spoken, was dealing with something beyond his control that affected him physically. He called it a thorn in the flesh. I called it cardiomyopathy.
"My grace is sufficient." In other words, no matter where you are or what you're dealing with, God's grace and his power to work through you is enough.
Discovering my damaged heart was providential. The test ordered to discover it was a "just in case." God's grace is sufficient.
This 10-year mark is big for me. Not physically but spiritually. In the last 10 years my blood circulation has not changed at all. It has not gotten worse, it has not gotten better. It has remained constant. Just like grace.
Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father, minister and writer. Read more from him at www.robhurtgen.wordpress.com.