Putting Faith to the Test: What Happens When Talk Meets Walk

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Nightmares Do Come True

Last Thursday my life changed forever.

At 3:00pm I kissed my wife goodbye as she left to pick up our daughter from school with our 3 year old son in tow.

At 3:30pm my wife suddenly lost her vision, began to lose consciousness, and swerved across two lanes of traffic, nearly colliding with a car. She’d suffered a stroke.

By 7:00pm I stood shocked as I watched the Flight for Life EMT’s loaded my wife into the helicopter, covered in IV’s and monitors.

We all like to think, “I have some control over when I die.”

No you don’t. Not ever. And if you believe you do, it’s a lie.

A lie.

Talking the Talk

Over the last few months since I started Epochalypsis.org, I have really been focusing on the subject of fear vs. faith (check out the “Walking the Way of Christ” posts).

Long ago, I personally identified fear as the main root of all the evils in this world of ours.

  • Why are we greedy? For fear that what we have will end, or won’t be enough.
  • Why do we hurt others? For fear that they will hurt us or have something we need.
  • Why do we hesitate to help others? For fear they will let us down and disappoint us.
  • Why do we not strive? For fear we will fail.
  • Why do we not live like Christ lived, and died? Because deep down we’re all afraid God is full of shit.

So we hedge our bets.

We say we’re kind and generous, and give only when others are looking or when it’s tax deductible . Worse yet, when it profits us like despicable predatory “micro-loans for the poor” schemes like Kiva.org (36% interest, anyone?).

We say we’re green, so we recycle a can or a bottle and climb into our sports-car or SUV.

We say we’re compassionate and loving, and then stand idly by as our country wages wars across the globe in our name, for our greed.

Most disturbingly, we Americans say we have faith (80% Christian) that we believe in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, and that He through his sacrifice upon the cross for our sins we are redeemed and reconciled to God and will be welcomed into the Life Everlasting in Heaven…

…and then we spend more money on end of life care than any other nation in the world. Why be so afraid of death that you double mortgage the house to prevent the inevitable? Has the Life Everlasting lost its charm, somehow? Or is it we never really believed in the first place?

There is no place for fear in faith. And we are failing miserably.

Walking the Walk

My wife is beautiful. She is young and vibrant and talented. Everyone loves her. People love having her around. It’s almost like they need her in their lives.

I’m no different. I need her. She’s a light in my darkness. She taught me how to love selflessly. She gave me my two perfect children. She has become part of me. And I don’t know how I would ever live without her.

Last Thursday night I was faced with the possibility of that very reality. The woman who embodies everything good and hopeful in this world for me might die.

And when moments came that I found myself alone and the tears would come, I was amazed to find that the emotions that poured out of me as my body was wracked with sobs weren’t fear or anger… but overwhelming gratitude, love and thankfulness to God that I had been so blessed. Blessed that so undeserving a man could be loved by such an amazing soul. Blessed that I had experienced so much happiness and contentment in our life together. Blessed that she had taught me the true meaning of grace: God’s unmerited favor.

Fear was not part of it. I did not cry because I was afraid of the future. I did not cry because I was afraid I would never see her again. I did not cry because I was angry at God.

Why wasn’t I afraid? Because I have faith. I have faith that God is true, and that our at-one-ment with God in heaven is a reality, and that my wife would be fine if she died.

I have faith that GOD ACTS, and that those actions may be severe and sudden, but never malicious. The reasons why may not be clear at this moment, but GOD ACTS in ways we could never fathom, with consequences and ramifications both subtle and far-reaching that it is usually only in the span of lifetimes that we can begin to see God’s purpose. I knew if I lost my wife that night, that the purpose would not be clear then, perhaps ever, but that did not mean God was acting maliciously. There is always room for hope, even in the countenance of your darkest fears.

However, I did not lose my wife. The doctors saved her and she is expected to fully recover. But even this early, we are not mystified as to what God’s purpose was.

This is our wake-up call. This is our time to start living as Christ would live, a second chance to embody a life devoid of fear, unhindered by excuses and empowered by God’s unmerited favor.

A life unshackled from the lie that we can control when we die.

So we will live fearlessly: in Christ, in faith, and in love.

Trig Bundgaard About Trig Bundgaard

Thanks for reading. I would love to hear your feedback, thoughts and ideas about what I've written. Especially if it's contrary to my views!

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Grace and peace to you!

Romans 5
"18. Therefore just as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man's act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all.
19. For just as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous."

Comments

  1. I though this was an amazingly written piece. As I read, I feel I am right there feeling the same pain. Every breath taken is one that I have shared. Every remorse is one that I felt. Every question I have pondered. Every enlightenment… I have also lived! It is, without a doubt, what lies within a deep soul that is faced with the true grim realities of an unfair life event. May God continue to bless your beautiful family as you ARE deserving!

    • Thank you so much, Shawna. I’m so tired of hearing fear and despair in the lives of God’s children. We should have solace and refuge in God, not uncertainty and fear. But so many pastors and churches thrive on robbing their flock of that comfort, that unmerited favor of God’s.

      I have been able to find that peace in God’s Grace. I hope that by sharing my experience, I can help other people find their fearless refuge, too.

  2. lol religion

    • Can you elaborate? Is it silliness? Foolishness? All thoughts and opinions are welcome to be expressed here. Doesn’t mean I’ll agree, but I welcome opposing views to debate.

  3. How is your wife now? Beautiful Piece/Peace.

    • She’s cleared and fully healed with no neurological damage. The artery is healed. However, even just yesterday, she got a really bad headache and neckache and it scared the crap out of her.

      It’s a long road. She is definitely grabbing life by the horns, starting a charity, talking more with her friends about living life to the fullest, but she can’t seem to shake The Fear. Little by little, though, she is getting better at letting go of things she cannot control.

      Thanks for asking, JanetC!

  4. Amazing.

    Amazing how God uses experiences we have no control over to teach us the most important lessons about life.

    The past few days I’ve had some issues where I can barely talk out of nowhere, I’ve never experienced this before. I’ve never even been hoarse in my life.( And I smoked cigarettes everyday for the past 19 yrs up until a little over a year ago)

    Serious fear came over me that I might not ever talk again, or maybe only in a somewhat ‘light hoarse’ state–I panicked big time, I thought of the worse and I almost wanted to faint. I felt this intense fear that I have not in a long time and it scared the hell of out me. I thought, “What if I never talk again? How do I survive? Will I have to use a mini-chalkboard to write on to speak”..Omg..talk about fear the past few days. “What if I need surgery to correct this”..(Almost faints–literally)

    I realized God was using this ( as so many of my other trials I am enduring right now ) to remind me not to take anything for granted, NOTHING! I never thought about not being able to not talk one day, I just assumed I would always have a voice. Being I am a BIG TALKER, I really was overcome with insecurity and fear I’ve never known.

    But, then “peace” came over me and I realized, “Voice or not, I have God and that is enough”.

    Thanks for sharing this testimony Trig, I had no clue your wife suffered this stroke.

    I pray she is doing well. I pray she sees the blessing in this weakness. We are humbled by these things, We learn who we truly are dependent on, and we take nothing for granted. It also fuels our fire to want to live even more selflessly.

    A blessing in disguise.

    Your wife sounds like a remarkable woman, you both seem to a part of that rare group of people of God that understands Love really does conquer all.. I am so glad I found your website, it has really been a blessing to me.

    Thanks again!

  5. Beautiful and moving piece, Trig. I’m glad to read in the comments that your wife has healed and not suffered any long term damage. I’ll keep her in my prayers as we all try to walk without fear.

  6. Theo Jones says:

    Brother Trig,

    Thank you for sharing your experience and I could not agree more, as I had a similarly eye-opening experience a couple of years ago.

    I was washing my hands in my bathroom one Wednesday evening after work, when I noticed a rainbow effect around the light bar above my mirror. I went downstairs to let my wife know what I was experiencing. During the conversation with her, my right hand went numb and what I was hearing myself say was not what I was attempting to say. I was attempting to tell her about “what was going on with my eyes or vision” and was hearing myself say “what was going on with my ears.” She told me later that I was speaking English but that it was complete word salad to the point where she thought I was joking… until she saw the expression on my face.

    When I explained what happened to my Primary Care Physician that Friday, he advised that what I had experienced could have been something as simple as a migrane headache, as the symptoms correlate, or it could have been a mini-stroke, which of course they treat seriously and wanted a full work up. He had an EKG done in his office at 11:00 a.m., which came back clear and sent me to Franklin Medical Center for a CT scan at 2:00. I was advised of the CT scan results by my PCP at 3:00 p.m. that they had found a mass in my right frontal lobe and wanted to send me over to St. Joseph’s for a MRI.

    By 5:00 p.m. my wife was with me in the ER and I met the Neurosurgeon who later took out the tumor. He gave me two options: One, that he could biopsy the mass and take it out later, though whether the tumor was benign or malignant with the issues I was having it would need to come out or… Two, he could take out the tumor, send the cells to pathology and in four to six weeks I would know what I had. With the former, I would subject myself to two brain surgeries and the latter just one. I really want to know who raises their hand and says “sign me up to cut into my head twice.” Pardon the pun but it was a “no brainer” and I elected to have the tumor removed & the cells sent to pathology to determine what it was. They put me on an anti-seizure medication to get me to the surgery on Monday, while they ran a 3D MRI so my neurosurgeon could determine what he was working with.

    On Sunday, several of our Brothers braved hazerdous road conditions to visit me in the hospital and I also had a visit from the gentleman I have a weekly Bible study with prior to having dinner with my wife & children. Monday morning they prepped me for surgery and at 1:45 p.m. I woke up in post-op recovery. They sent me home to recover with my family that Thursday, three days later.

    When the pathology results came back as a grade three tumor, equivalent to stage three cancer anywhere else in the body, I was referred to two oncologists who also both gave me two options. I could do nothing and there was a 100% guarranty the tumor would come back and brain tumors often come back worse than what they were. Having my wife and two children, who were four & two at the time, dependant on me I asked how aggressive I could be and completed 33 radiation treatments concurrently with an oral chemo therapy followed by six months or cycles of a double dose of the chemo therapy.

    Long story short… I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason not coincidence and God does not allow us to be challenged with more than we can handle. As far as not believing in coincidence, it just so happens that in the month prior to finding out about the mass, my Bible study and I focused solely on the Book of Job, which helped prepare me, accept what I was going through and not to blame anyone for my condition. Since my surgery, I focus on the things in my life I actually have control over and do not allow the things outside my control stress me out. My surgery was over three years ago and I have been in remission 2 1/2 years. I count every day as a blessing and work to make the most out of each one. My life has been enriched as I focus on what is truely important.
    Fraternally & in fellowship,

    Theo Jones, PM

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