Column: Heart attack: The right place

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Commentary by Rev. Michael VandenBerg

At 10:30 a.m. April 11, I suffered a very severe heart attack. In God’s gracious care, this person who rarely goes to the hospital asked to go get checked out, so I was already at the hospital being checked out when it happened. Within 15 minutes of the heart attack beginning, the amazing doctors and nurses had me into surgery, where they performed a heart catheterization with some of the most advanced techniques in the country. Now I’m home, working and carrying on with my life. What a miracle.

In comparison, in 1962 my grandfather — a strong sturdy, Dutch farmer — went out to shovel the walk and ended up dying of a heart attack in spite of quick medical responses. Times have changed and the medicine has gotten better and fewer people need die of a heart attack.

Sometimes when we don’t want someone to stress about a situation, we tell them, “Don’t have a heart attack.” We want them to put things into perspective and see the possibilities in the midst of the current difficulties.

In the Gospel of John, he quotes Jesus as saying, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.” This in response to his disciples hearing that he was going to be leaving them, but sending His Holy Spirit. They were overcome with grief, but he in essence is telling them, “Don’t have a heart attack about it. You already believe in God, believe in me as well and I will take care of you.”

I can tell you all firsthand now the comfort in being in the right place at the right time and how that truly does take the stress out of any given situation. Being at the Heart and Vascular Center when you have a heart attack is wonderful, but how much more wonderful it is to be in the loving care of God as you face all of life’s trials and frustrations.


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