A Collision with Mortality

By Eddie Broussard

On October 13, 2016, I had a head-on collision with my mortality. 
 
While on a work trip overseas, I was finishing the last two laps of a swim when a horrendous pain jolted my back. I knew I was in trouble. Twenty minutes later, after attention from a friend, I was in a taxi headed to a hospital. The emergency room nurse gave me two white pills to chew. The next thing I knew, a doctor looked me in the face and said, “You are having a myocardial infarction.” 
 
Within minutes I was in an ambulance headed for a different hospital to have a heart catheterization. A brilliant and kind cardiologist reopened the clogged artery in my heart and inserted a stent. Nine days later, my wife Barbie and I boarded a flight for home.
 
After four months of rehabilitation, I had a green light to return to work. That was great news, but I began to ask how I could step back into a demanding international role? And I wondered how I might be able to cope with my concerns about having another heart attack. I felt vulnerable and insecure. 
 
During my months of recovery, it became clear that God was using vulnerability and uncertainty to create in me an inner life of:
 
  • Rest that comes from faith
  • Peace that comes from trust
  • Joy that comes from worship
 
Rest and Faith
Hebrews 3:19 says of the children of Israel, “So we see that they were not able to enter [his rest], because of their unbelief.” This verse implies that I cannot have God’s rest unless I live by faith. Resting means more than just resting from work. The author of Hebrews is talking about the effect of rest on how I live. When I live by faith, I don’t have to worry about the pressures of work, because God is enough. He will give me what I need to do what he asks of me.
 
This transforms my way of living and working. Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29). When I am in the yoke with Jesus, I am working; but the burden of the weight is on Him. 
 
Trust and Peace
I often lack peace because I’m weighed down by worries. And yet, Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” And Philippians 4:6–7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  

One day last month, Barbie and I listed the things that were weighing on us—managing my health, broken appliances, getting income taxes done, finishing our will. Then we brought our needs to God and cast them on Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). He will carry the burden so I can walk in peace. 
 
Joy and Worship
Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” It is God’s presence that brings joy. But how do we experience God’s presence? Worship! In worship, we focus on God and declare His infinite beauty and worth. 
 
While in the hospital overseas, I received a painful shot of blood thinner twice a day to prevent my blood from clotting. When I heard the nurse tearing open the syringe wrapper, I knew it meant pain. God reminded me that the sound of the wrapper meant that my Good Shepherd was caring for me. It was in the pain that I experienced my Shepherd’s love! I was full of joy!
 
Every day I am learning to depend on God and not on my own strength. Daily I am seeking God to shape within me a heart of rest that comes from faith, a heart of peace that comes from trust, and a heart of joy that comes from worship.
 
Eddie Broussard joined the International Executive Team in May 2015. He became Navigator staff in 1980. In 1992, he joined the CoMission movement, working in the post-Soviet countries. From 1998 to 2014, he served on the U.S. National Leadership Team. Eddie and his wife, Barbie, were married in 1996.