The Heart of the Matter
On Wednesday, two men who have made (and continue to make) a significant impact on my life had heart heart procedures done. Denny Dawes had a triple bypass open heart surgery, while Bill Dixon had his aortic valve replaced. The surgeries took place within hours of each other about 30 miles apart. The love of Christ both of these men model has never been more evident than it has over these past several days.
Denny is the preacher at Central Church of Christ in Portsmouth, Ohio, where he has served for some three decades now. Denny and Joan are parents to three sons, all of whom are in ministry either on a paid or volunteer basis. This family has always been a strong example and encouragement to me as to how to do family right. They love Jesus. Of that there is no doubt. They love to laugh. If you hang out with them for any length of time, these two truths will slap you up side the head with a vengeance. And you will enjoy it.
I had the pleasure of seeing Denny yesterday, some 24 hours after they had pulled his heart out of his chest to repair the blood vessels leading to and from that heart. He was sitting up in a chair. He asked how Peggy’s Dad was doing. Yeah, he had just had open heart surgery, and he wanted to know how Bill was doing following his aortic valve replacement. Then we joked a bit, and then he let us know in no uncertain terms that he had gone into this surgery with full confidence in our Lord Jesus. He knew he was in a win-win situation because of his faith in Christ. He talked about the peace he felt as he waited in the hospital over the weekend and into mid-week before the surgery actually took place. His testimony was awe-inspiring. I thank God for my brother in Christ, Denny Dawes, and for his faithful family. They continue to be an inspiration to me. I am so privileged to be their brother in Christ.
I must say that Bill Dixon (Peggy’s Dad) looked better yesterday than I have seen him look in more than a year. His color is getting back to “normal” with rosy red in his cheeks, and that mischievous sparkle in his eyes. Bill, like Denny, loves the Lord with all his heart. He also loves to laugh. Watching him yesterday afternoon as he walked to the bathroom on his own, just blew my mind. He was supposed to be in the ICU for up to three days, but he was transferred out in less than 24 hours. He was supposed to be in the hospital for three-to-five days. He MAY be released to come home today.
On Wednesday, the waiting room for the heart & vascular surgery folks was filled. There were at one point nearly 20 people in there. Only one of them was not with the Dixon family. We had three ministers, a handful of deacons, extended family and family in Christ. The love of God and His people was more than evident in that room. It was such a joy to see that love in action being poured out for Bill and Ruth Ann. I am so privileged to be their son (in-law). I am even more privileged to be their brother in Christ.
The heart of the matter is a matter of the heart.
Both Bill and Denny credit the Great Physician for their ease in surgery and their healing post-surgery. The power of prayer is boldly on display in both of these men’s lives. The heart of the matter is a matter of the heart. They truly exemplify the heart of the matter: they love the Lord our God with all their hearts, all their souls, all their minds and all their strength. May I always choose to live my life that way as well.