The Heart Bypass Surgery

“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” – Isaiah 43:2 (NLT)

I recognized her face right away as I peeked through the glass partition window. Sitting comfortably but seemed bored upon the wait, she was being monitored for her morning sugar level was low. The LVN who checked her blood sugar needed to leave as her shift was done. Worried that she might have forgotten something, she asked me to do a favor to take over the care of this particular female inmate.

“I already gave her a tube of that glucose, Rcubes,” she advised.

“Don’t worry. I’ll take care of her. Just go and have a great day.”

“Ms. W.!” I summoned her after a few minutes had passed to re-check her blood sugar. She was slow in getting up but that didn’t bother me. I remembered what she had gone through the last time I had to deal with her. To think that she was begging me not to send her to the hospital at that time as her chest pain was going away and all because of the reason that she was getting impatient waiting for the arrival of the ambulance in the prison, I was glad I didn’t let her refuse the treatment we initiated.

“How’s your leg?” I asked.

With a puzzled look, she didn’t know how to answer, confused that I might have mistaken her for someone else.

“Ma’am…”she shyly replied, “I didn’t have anything done in my leg. I had a problem with my heart,” her tone of voice was firm and sure.

“Yes, you did!” my long-term memory in the works uttered.

Feeling embarrassed when I brought up that point, she admitted her mistake.

“You’re right, Ma’am…”

“I’m sorry. I forgot about my leg. I’m doing okay. It healed well (incision),” she smiled big, as a much-better appreciation for an extension of her life glowed on those haggard face.

“No one even bothers to ask me about my leg or my heart. Only you,” she added.

“Well, it was because we spent a whole good amount of time, waiting for the ambulance that day and I’m glad I didn’t listen to your request to cancel it.”

“Thank you. I remember that.”

“Oh, wow!” I interrupted our conversation about her coronary bypass surgery. “Your sugar even went lower.”

“Ma’am, my breakfast in my unit is probably cold now. Can you just send me back and I’ll just eat there?”she requested, the boredom manifested on the brows when they got lifted.

“No, Ms. W. Remember what we just talked about? I won’t send you back not until your blood sugar is more stable. I’ll get some breakfast for you now and re-check your blood sugar again.”

“Okay…You know what you’re doing. Thank you,” she replied as she went back to sit again on one of the plastic chairs in the small waiting area. Propping her head up, she glanced at the TV monitor hoisted up in one corner of the room and tried to amuse herself with what was showing.
No one recognized her but me. But it wasn’t me who cared. I was in her shoes before. Impatient with what was going on in my life’s journey, wanting to bypass the valleys so I could be on top of the mountain always. But that was not possible. Driving from a local store back to our home yesterday, I saw the different mountains in front of my windshield. Down below were numerous valleys that had a darker shadow as they were lower and light was hitting fully just on the top of the mountains.I thought..."What if...God is using us to shine our little light  in the darkness that covers the valleys?" Walking through any valley is painful, scary, and an exhausting process at times. But God knows that. He never leaves us alone as we walk during the lowest times in our lives. ("You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence." - Acts 2:28 (NIV)

“How beautiful!” I exclaimed to myself, only to quickly realize and ponder how incomplete that magnificent view was if it was just only the mountains or only the valleys. They were arranged in a row, like in waves. First came the valley, then a mountain and so forth.  A reminder of the Hands that created them and other great things, yet, He always cared for even the littlest detail.

We grow impatient. Sometimes, we don’t see the disastrous outcome in the long run whatever road we’re walking on. But one thing never changes…Jesus is always there Who sees our life’s struggles and victories. He is concerned. He truly cares. The question is… “Are we able to recognize and remember His love and all of the good things He blesses us with?” Just like that bypass surgery that inmate had to aid her heart, Jesus provides a way out when the roads we’re walking on seem clogged up. Then, we are able to move on again and live life again except with a better appreciation after letting Him do that much-needed surgery in our sinful hearts.

“21Then I remember something that fills me with hope.  22The LORD's kindness never fails! If he had not been merciful, we would have been destroyed.  23The LORD can always be trusted to show mercy each morning.” – Lamentations 3:21-23 (CEV)
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The Attacker (5/15/09)

The sun was just peeking from the Eastern skies. Ephesians 6:12 [37 kb]

Out in the prison’s yard, some huge Sheriff’s buses were illuminated by the soft glow coming from the lights all over from the tall lamp posts. Their engines were turned on, warming up, before the buses would take the inmates to the different courts where they would have their trials.

Orange-uniformed men were lined up in pairs, joined together with handcuffs and chained, forming a long line. They already had their breakfast and had their morning medications prior to going to courts. Some were fidgeting, as they waited to board those buses.

All of a sudden, all hell broke loose! Two men were engaged in a fight, using weapons they made secretly for a while. Deputies called for help on the radio, both for custody back-up and medical staff, as well.

When the air was cleared and the other inmates were secured, one man was down on the floor. He sustained multiple gashes but two of them were deep. One cut was vertically etched from his left ear going down to the jaw line. The other dangerous cut was horizontal on his left neck, close to the jugular vein. Pool of blood dripped all over the floor. Holding his bleeding neck, he was pointing at the other inmate few feet away, being guarded by the other deputies.

The other man being accused was not hurt. There were no lacerations nor any other signs of trauma. He was obviously very agitated as he was being questioned by those deputies, while the medical staff started treating the other man on the floor. They cleaned the wounds and controlled the bleeding. That man was sent to the nearby hospital.

When the investigation was finalized, it turned out to be that the “downed man who was accusing the other inmate” was the attacker and the other one who didn’t have injury was the one attacked. The deputies found out that it was the second attempt to attack the unhurt man. Both attacks on him failed. He was well-prepared after the first attempt on him, that when the second attempt was done, he was able to defend himself and ended up injuring his attacker severely.

[Source: NLT Bible ]:

We also have an “accuser of the brethren.” Satan and his army of demons are the enemies of God and of everything good.

“Because God’s children are human beings – made of flesh and blood – Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death.” –Hebrews 2:14

Because of what Jesus had done [dying on the cross], we, who live in constant fear of death shouldn’t be afraid anymore. Jesus had freed us from that fear so we can live for Him. When we belong to God, we know that death is only the portal that leads into “eternal life”. [“Thank You Lord!].

Paul warned us, too that we also battle against the evil forces of Satan, who is a vicious fighter. But to be able to withstand their attacks, we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor. We face an army whose goal is to defeat Christ’s church. When we believe in Christ, they become our enemies. They will try any device to turn us away from the Lord.

Fear not! For God has provided His supernatural power to defeat Satan and his army, through His Holy Spirit within us. So, arm yourselves with God’s armor.

Let us be strong in the Lord's mighty power. Let's put on His whole armor to resist the enemy's attacks: put on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that we are well-prepared. We will need faith in every battle as our shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed by Satan and his army. Let us put on salvation as our helmet, not forgetting the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. Let's pray at all times, on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must stay alert and be persistent in our prayers for all Christians everywhere. [Ephesians 6:10-18].