By Wayne Hartzell III
Do you believe in miracles? Do you think they can happen today? If one happened in your life would you dare tell others about it? Wayne found that being in your best physical condition isn’t good enough when you need a miracle. When you get one don’t keep it to yourself.
PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Being a runner myself, I always enjoy connecting with other distance runners – especially when one has been reading my magazines and has a story to share. Wayne Hartzell III certainly is a runner. He’s completed three marathons, two half marathons and several more 5k, 10k, and 15k races. He also has an amazing story to share. Well, more than amazing --- it is miraculous. His book, Miracles Still Happen tells the full story. After I talked with him, I asked if we could reprint a section in Faith & Fitness Magazine. I think his story will inspire you to look for God’s miracles in your life, believe in Him and then boldly share the power of God with others. -Brad Bloom, Publisher
Reprinted from Miracles Still Happen. Copyright 2015 Wayne Hartzell III. Used by permission.
After I had gathered my thoughts and emotions after wiping the tears from my watery eyes, and realizing then the very seriousness of my condition having pulmonary emboli (PE), it hit me like a punch in the gut that I had the exact same thing that my mother died from 20 years ago, October 16, 1994. It never ever occurred to me whatsoever that I would be diagnosed with exactly the same medical condition that took my own mother’s life at such an early age of 53, and here I have already outlived her by 2 years.
I asked the Radiologist what were the next steps for me now that I have PE. She told me they were going to call the ambulance to take me to INOVA Fairfax hospital to the Emergency Room and because of the extensive blood clots throughout both of my lungs, that there was no guarantee that I would even survive the day even if I went immediately to the INOVA Fairfax Hospital ER. Although I understood and respected her medical concern for me, I told her that I would rather call my wife to have her take me to the hospital then to be driven by an EMT ambulance driver that hates his or her job. My rationale was if I am going to die today as they were seriously alluding was the likely scenario, than the last person on this earth I want to see this side of heaven is my beautiful lovely wife Beth.
At that moment, I called my wife and told her in a very calm but choked up voice of concern, that I have exactly what my mother had died from-PE (pulmonary embolism to the lung). I told Beth where I was and she told me that she would be leaving for work immediately to take me to the ER at INOVA Fairfax Hospital. I remember pacing back and forth outside waiting for my wife to arrive, fully knowing I could die in any moment due to the severity of the numerous blood clots in both of my lungs.
My entire life was playing out in front of me like an old reel-to-reel movie; from my childhood days, playing high school football, fishing, my military service, and my lovely marriage. I kept asking myself; “Did I do enough for my wife, my family or more importantly to God Himself?” “How will I be judged?” “What vile and nasty things have I kept hidden and concealed from God for which I need to ask forgiveness NOW?” I remember asking and contemplating these questions and asking the Lord for forgiveness of everything that I may unknowingly have been keeping from God.
Within an hour I was seen by two doctors who after having seen and reviewed my CT chest scan informed me that I had numerous blood clots in both lungs and that they would be giving me a shot in the stomach to break up and block the clots.
RUNNING INTO THE HANDS OF A SOVEREIGN GOD
A sobering thought and reality is both doctors had told me that had I not come in when I did that Tuesday, September 9th 2014, I very likely would not have survived the night due to the extensive clots throughout both of my lungs. I spent the night in the hospital and was released the next day. Although my blood clots were extensive, my heart, arteries, lungs and cardiovascular system were in excellent condition due to my running. Apart from God Almighty who healed me, it was my regular running every other day that bought me more time. The doctors told me that had I not been in the physical condition that I am, due to my 3-4 times weekly running that I do for my own physical and mental well-being, someone my age with a sedentary lifestyle would have died immediately due to physical inactivity.
Clearly it is God’s hand that saved me from death’s door by allowing me to be admitted to the ER hospital that day.
Things just do not randomly happen in a vacuum apart from God, on the contrary, God is working behind the scenes orchestrating everything from the rising of the sun, to its’ setting, the seasons and even our everyday mundane lives as we know it. God orchestrates all even our decisions and action, which may seem like random events. The same God who is in control of the universe and all it contains, is the same God who also is sovereign in the lives of all men.
When I received a phone call from Urgent Care on September 8th, 2014 Monday night after work regarding the results from my blood tests from the previous Friday, stating they would like me to come in for a chest x-ray just as a precaution, I had initially thought in my mind that I would work that Tuesday, September 9th and would just call off sick the following Wednesday, September 10th, since the on-call floor nurse I had spoken with earlier that evening told me that I probably only had an upper respiratory infection --- not a big deal I thought.
But the reality I learned later in the ER at INOVA Fairfax Hospital that Tuesday evening, September 9th, had I chosen not to take off that Tuesday, I would not be here today as my blood clots were that serious.
God intervened on my behalf and through divine providence I did take off Tuesday and because of my having God in my life, I am alive today. These are not random acts or coincidences - instead God’s Sovereignty in my life spared me from the medical death sentence I was given on September 9th, 2014.
PURSUE THE DAILY MIRACLE OF RELATIONSHIPS
I learned from this experience that our relationships matter. Until you are in my shoes and given a medical death sentence, you cannot fully understand and appreciate your life and all that is means to you and to others that you love and treasure, until it is almost snatched from you, like pulling the rug out from underneath you without prior warning. Every single human being wakes up and goes about his or her own business without ever a thought if today is going to be his or her last day alive.
Unless you have terminal cancer or you are on death row for a crime you’ve committed, no one expects to wake up one day thinking if today will be my last day on earth, at least I didn’t on that day.
When I realized the seriousness of the medical condition I now have that will be with me until the Lord takes me home, I realized that at the end of the day, apart from our relationship FIRST with God as a fellow believer in Christ, all that really matters are our relationships with our family and close friends-everything else is just a chasing after the wind.
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