A Man of Few but Excellent Words

Dr. Bruce McIver was the pastor of Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, for thirty years. It was a time of growth and blessings from God at the church and certainly in the life of Bruce McIver. After his active service as a pastor he reflected on the journey that he had been on through the years and wrote what amounted to the memoir of his life spent loving God and serving the Lord’s people. On a personal level, one of the most significant moments he tells about was when he had heart surgery. Actually, it was his second heart surgery. He had coronary bypass surgery and now sixteen years later he was having difficulty and more blockages were discovered. With his buoyant great spirit he told the doctor, “The first lasted for sixteen years. I thought that was a good run so let’s do it again and I ought to have sixteen more years.” After extensive tests what he discovered was they could not do a second surgery. In fact the team of cardiologists that were looking at his reports told him he was going to just simply have to scale back, sit down and pretty much walk the rest of the journey gingerly and aware that he had serious heart problems that could not be fixed.

Not wanting to accept that diagnosis and certainly not wanting to sit down and do nothing for whatever years remained, he inquired further about whether there was some way or someone who he could go to or some other opinion that he might get. The doctors were all in agreement that it would be good for him to go and search for a second opinion at one of the finest heart facilities in the nation where one of the finest heart surgeons practiced. The pastor was thrilled to find that there might be someone who could help him and with the help of the folks on his local heart team they made connections and preparations to go.

The time came, he went, entered the hospital, had tests run and found that the doctor to whom he had been recommended specialized in second, even third, procedures. After studying all the tests the doctor agreed to do the second surgery. On the night before the surgery, the surgeon came in, told him everything was ready for the next day and as he was about to leave the room, the pastor asked the doctor, “Doc, can you fix it?” The doctor looked at him and with quiet confidence he softly spoke and said, “Sure,” and he walked out. Bruce McIver said he could hardly go to sleep that night, not because he was anxious about the surgery, but he just kept hearing that skilled, confident doctor’s words repeated over and over in his mind – Sure, Sure, Sure.

He finally went to sleep and woke up the next morning prepared to be taken to surgery even then remembering the only word that the doctor had said, “Sure.” They began the surgery and it continued for about twelve hours and finally it was complete. He began to come off the support apparatus, would soon get up, begin the rehab and was about to get out of the hospital. He asked his doctor how everything was. He said, “Before I came in, the oxygen levels were down and everything else was down, but will I now have enough blood supply and oxygen supply? Will I have enough blood supply and oxygen supply to take care of me now?” The doctor who had told him, “Sure,” looked at him and said, “You will have all you will ever need,” and turned around and walked out.

Later, after he was out of the hospital and back at home in Texas, his wife told him of one other comment that the doctor had made. When the doctor came in after the surgery and was telling the family about the surgery, his wife said that she was so concerned about his quality of life. Her question was, “Will he have a good quality of life following this procedure?” The doctor, matter-of-factly, said to her, “I repaired his heart. The quality of life will be up to him.” As the years passed by and he returned to a very active life and ministry, he filled his life with wonderful things and great experiences, but often reflected on the brief yet meaningful statements by the heart doctor. Looking back on them he began to put into place the significance of each one as though it would be what Jesus might say to us about our heart condition.

For whatever it is that we might bring to Him that is broken, malfunctioning or we have ruined and ask Him, “Lord, can you fix this,” our Jesus is able to say to the worst and the neediest of us, “Sure.” And then when we begin to wonder, “Well, could we keep on and live out this experience with the Lord? Will we have enough power, strength, blessings, love, hope?” And He says, “You will have all you ever need.” But then when you and I begin to wonder about our quality of life, our significance in life, and maybe even ask Him, “Will I have a quality of life?” There’s a sense in which He could reply to us, “I’ve repaired your heart. The quality of life will be up to you.”

For sure our Lord wants to come and lead and bless us. He wants to fix us and favor us, but so much of what happens that gets us out of touch, out of contact and not experiencing the fullness of God’s love is because of who we are and what we do and don’t do. Trust Him and let Him take you and fill your life with blessings and you can indeed celebrate a quality of life that is abundant.

Jim Futral
Executive Director-Treasurer