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My heart is very's better....but very troubled.

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God bless you.

My heart is better, much better after my Jan. 29th surgery where Dr.

Valluvan Jeevanandam implanted a heart pump at the University of Chicago

Medical Center. The pump will keep me alive until I can get a heart transplant.

In the interim, I'm feeling better, sleeping better, breathing better, walking

and talking and preaching better.

But my heart is very troubled over some other issues that won't let me rest

and threaten my life for I can not, for the life of me, abide them. Sometimes, one,

if he has strong principles, can be battered and backed into a corner so much

that he has to take a stand to the death. He has to fight for what's right. He has

to sacrifice for what is his. He's got to take an over-my-dead-body position.

The last thing I want this blog to be is overly morbid where every time you

look around I'm in trouble with a sad song to sing and some dragons to slay. But

that is the fate of us all. It is part of the dues we have to pay for living and working

with other people, who don't always keep their word or respect your rights or

your family's security. So I won't share the details. But I will say that if I told you,

99 per cent of you would be shocked. angry, compassionate and supportive.

So let's touch on the main positives. I'm back to work and back to

preaching and my first two weeks were successful and encouraging. I had to

function being hooked up to batteries and having to carry expensive, fragile

heart equipment on the back floors of my car on an out-of-town assignment

to Milwaukee. But the hotel bellmen and the hotels were very understanding and


When all the handicapped parking spaces were taken, the hotels allowed

me to park right out front, just a few paces from the front door. I don't feel I ready

to fly yet. But that doesn't mean I won't. I most like will fly long before I actually

feel comfortable about doing so. It will be a leap of faith and an exertion of extra


Understand, now, that my heart is still weak. I am still an end-stage

congestive heart failure patient. And as a patient implanted with an LVAD

(Left ventricular Assist Device), I am even more in need or a heart transplant.

I still get tired easily. Steps and stairs are still drudgery and painful, depending

upon the number of steps I have to scale going upward. Coming down steps is

much easier because gravity is on my side. I still have to be careful going down

each step because I still have not regained full balance and strength in my legs.

But gravity makes it much easier for me to go down stairs rather than upstairs.

Then there are the cables. There is the main cable that is the lifeline

because it connects the heart pump inside me to battery power and the AC power

outside. There are the cable that connect to a bedside power console that keeps

me alive whilst I sleep.

I don't like them. They are a constant nuisance. But because they are

utterly vital toward keeping me alive, I am having to not just tolerate them but get

friendly and maybe even fall in love with them. After all, they are my little friends

helping me to feel better and to stay alive.

I thank God for the heart pump.

I thank God for the gift of heart transplantation.

Even my seven-year-old grandson, Caleb, knows the grief-stricken

gravity of my situation. The other day--and, you know, kids are something, they

can knock your socks off with their rapid rate of learning powerful realities--my

grandson Caleb and I were talking about my situation. And the subject of my

needing a heart transplant came up. And Caleb said in flawless flow, "Yes, and

you are going to have to wait until somebody else dies so that you are get their

heart to stay alive."

I said, "Yes, that's true son. It's regretful and unfortunate in many ways. But

that's the way things are."

I'm assuming that his mother, my darling daughter Noelle, took him off

to the side and explain these things to him. But maybe I even dropped this on

him one day in our random conversations. But that kid soaked up these details

like a sponge and they became a free-flowing part or my vocabulary and

mindset evidenced by the ease with which he spoke of the seeming ironic

ordeal of one saving his life at the expense of somebody else losing theirs.

I am not worthy on my own merits, and never will be, to live at somebody

else's expense. It is a gift that is priceless. You can never thank the benefactor

nor his wife, husband, mother, father, son, daughter, sister or brother enough

for the sacrifice. Not that that person died on purpose. Not that that person

donated a heart as one does a kidney, because a kidney donor is still left

alive unless he had donated his organs in the event of his untimely? death.

And what exactly is an untimely death? What death is ever planned

with clockwork precision except for a suicide? But the bottom line to me is that

I get to live because somebody else died. Still, on the other hand, why ever a

good heart go to waste if its host is dead and it can keep another person alive?

Let us continue to pray for each other and especially our secret

sufferings. Regretfully, even if I got a new heart, it would still be troubled by

my new challenges of troubles. But God is able to do anything. His grace is

sufficient to supply all our needs. We can do all things through Christ Jesus,

who strengthens us.

God bless you.

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Dear Lacy,

I recently read something that resonated powerfully within me:

"The presence of fear is a sure sign that you are trusting in your own strength."

It's so very hard to keep our faith whole in the face of worldly threats and problems. Recently, a member of my family was hospitalized twice within three weeks. There were several sleepless nights within that time span for me. As the situation was favorably resolved, I realized that, if I just had a little more faith, I would have had a lot more sleep.

I am a strong believer in the power of positive thinking. That has been a very difficult assertion for me to maintain, as I'm now in my 16th month of unemployment and the resultant financial constraints. Many times, I have fallen into deep despair and terror at what might become of me. Each time I was sure that tragedy was at the door, something happened that prevented it from entering. Each time that happened, it was an assurance that my fears were but illusions, a kind of temporary insanity.

I made a list in January of several things and conditions I wanted in the past, but had no tangible means of getting. But, get them I did, because I'm convinced that this universe was created in perfect love. We are meant to have the good things. And, if you look carefully, you may find, as I have, that the "bad" things are the things we humans have created, because, with our limited minds that know nothing of eternity, we thought we had a better idea.

I still live in conditions which make the future frightening sometimes. But, even if my total abundance has not been released to me yet, I have a history of things working out for me. So, when I feel the panic building, I turn my mind from the outcome I desire to the outcomes I have experienced. Counting those blessings is a better use of time than fearing uncertainties. In my core, I can hear the heavenly words:

"I am more patient than you, for I am certain of the outcome."

And I'm reminded that this universe was designed with far more elegance and perfection than I could ever dream of. If it's gone on so very long and the stars and the sun and the planets haven't all crashed in to one another, I think I can afford to trust in my perfect outcome for just one more day.

I realize that my definition of "perfect" can't compare to holy perfection. As I release my opinion of what must be, I make room for the very best that can be.

I add my thanks that your challenges will be resolved and that your fear and anxiety will be replaced by the hush of heaven.

BANKS' REPONSE: Ooooweeee! How well you express so many of my very thoughts. I, too, pray to God for more faith. That's my most precious asset in my relationship with God. My faith in God is the foundation of my salvation. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. For He that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. I think one of the reasons you and I bond so fervently and even intimately today is the commonality of our experiences, our mindsets and our value systems. I agree with you faith is our best fence against fear. The stronger the fence of faith, the harder it is for fear to penetrate the fence and invade us. The evils of the world and the adversity and enemies in our lives feast on fear. They lick their chops at the subtlest whiff of fear. I have heard and confirmed through personal experiences that dogs sniff out and respond to our fear of them. But when they charge and we stand our ground and stoop down and pick of a rock, even if it is an invisible rock and stick, and proceed to go into the motion of throwing at the charging dogs, in many, maybe even most, cases, the dog will screech on its brakes, groan as if it has already been hit and then retreat. You increased wisdom about the powers of faith is most enlightening. It is that faith that is sustaining you through your 16 months of unemployment and through your loved being hospitalized for various ailments. So what does poor John do. He stands firm and unflappable and digs down into his deepening well of faith, the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. That's my John. That's our John at his best. Your faith helps you to see the good in the midst of the bad. Your faith refuses to let you down and let you destroy yourself. In the darkest of times, your faith is a super-high-beam, LED light that brightens your path. I know your general situation right now is no walk in the park. You are going through genuine hell. You inspire me and others wrestling with assorted adversity. We inspire each other. We tell ourselves that if John can make through what he is going through and if Lacy can make it through he is going through, then so can I. I think its perfect good fortune that our paths have crossed during mutually needful times. Just as you urge me to hold on and fight on, I also urge you to hold on and to stand fast in your faith in God that makes you free. Panic is a patsy against the power of faith. Thank you always for sharing with us. God bless you, John.

Dear Rev. Lacy, Good morning and God bless you in return. I must be bold and say that I understand your troubled heart, not just the physical part, but the spiritual and emotional part. I have also wrestled with sharing details of the struggle, wondering if I keep "crying wolf" will folks eventually stop responding. I came up with short responses to questions about my husband's condition because some of those who asked really cared, but there wasn't time to share all the details and others asked automatically, but likely wouldn't really understand. There's also a selfish reason for those short phrases. I didn't want to break down and cry while telling folks what was going on. What phrases? I don’t remember them all but here’s a few. He’s making progress. He’s hanging in there. He’s a trooper. God is good. He’s a miracle. He’s stable right now. You get my drift. The truth is that in these types of challenges, it’s often like riding a roller coaster, up and down, sideways to the right, sideways to the left, upside down, slow then breathtakingly fast, all quite thrilling when you’re on a real roller coaster by choice, but not when it’s all happening in your life and you don’t know if and when and how that ride will end. Like me, you have close people with whom you can be open and honest and I know you thank God for them every day. And we both know that every word we speak and think and sing to God is heard loud and clear. Now here is where I’m going to get tough with you, because I know you can take it. Please don’t hold back information that we need to know to continue praying effectively for you. I might be wrong, but it sounds like there may be problems with your job and perhaps benefits. You probably can’t say that, but nod your head if I’m on target. We now know how to adjust our prayers accordingly, directing our supplications to God specifically. There are some of us who read your blog faithfully and are in this thing with you for the long haul as long as God gives us life, strength and health to continue interceding on your behalf. As the old folks used to say, I didn’t know you from Adam’s house cat and you didn’t know me, but one day. Yes, one day it was appointed that I click on your blog and discover an assignment I have not yet completed. While encouraging you and praying for you and interceding for you I know that God is addressing what I need and desire. He’s letting me use my experience to minister to you and your experience is ministering to me and who knows how many other readers? No, the boy who cried wolf is just a story, a fable if you will because we know that the God we serve will always hear and answer our call no matter how many times we call on Him in faith. Your illness is not occurring in a vacuum, your larger life goes on including your job, family, ministry work etc. I’ve had many people tell me they wish they knew what I’ve shared with them when they were going through similar trials before me. I felt like I’d been given a gift not for me but to bless others with. I’ve read others’ responses to your blog and the gratefulness JUMPS off the page. You have a gift meant to be shared also. Somebody out there needs to know as much as possible about how God is sustaining and strengthening and blessing and healing and uplifting and comforting and encouraging and loving and caring and forgiving and remaining faithful to us even when we’re less than faithful to him and providing and many more ‘ings’ than I can think of right now. Hallelujah and Glory to God! I have to go now but know that you remain in our prayers.John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

BANKS' RESPONSE: Marie, deep people like you are hard to find and precious, even priceless, when they are found. You are a deep and wonderful well of wisdom in which I find haven and resource valuable toward my survival. I especially like the fact that what you say and the encouragement you give are done so squarely within the context of God's sound doctrine. You confirm that when we are saved, read our bibles and adhere sound doctrine, the bible offers the answer to every question, the solution to every problem, the cure for every ailment, the direction to every destination, the key to every lock and the combination to every vault. Isn't it eerie how on-the-mark, God, through His many seers and prophets and prophetesses, about he problems we are grappling with today individually and collectively? This was long before these people had computers, calculators, encyclopedic libraries, Google and Wikipedia, telescopes, microscopes, telescopes, radar and X-ray and yet they could see clearly through thick walls of a great of time and give you and me heads-up on what to expect, why these things would happen and what we could do to fine the cure or the solution. The irony is that the most vicious and malicious mass crimes committed against millions and millions of Americans is being done by full-blooded Americans who wear pin-stripe suits, sit atop our greatest corporations and sit in the highest seat of government and political leadership. Your passion for God, Marie, is so pure and so em-powering to those you allow to enter your energy field. Like my dear friend, John, and others, you have the sharpest of vision for greatest depth of field. And most of all, I love the way you love God. I love the way Jesus is the center of your joy and how our Jesus is the answer for the world today, besides Him there's no other, Jesus is the way. Like many of us, your plate is full, your heart is heavy and your burdens are big. You are a caregiver with great love and compassion for your husband and other loves ones. It was not easy. Likewise, neither is my suffering nor the tough job my wife has trying to take care of me. They say that misery loves company. Well, I say that love (especially love of God) conquers and even prevents misery. Oh that we had greater faith! Oh that we enjoyed a closer walk with God! Of what peace we often forfeit and oh what needless pains we bear, all because we do no carry everything to God in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful who is all our burdens share? Jesus knows our every weakness, Marie. Take it to the Lord in prayer:
"Dear heavenly Father, dear almighty God. Thank you are Marie, for John, Gwen, Tomas, Donna, Marcia, Beverly, Connie. Carol, George and all the many others of my prayer partners. Thank you for bringing us all safe this far though many dangers, toils and snares. But through it all, being tried as we have been in the furnace of affliction, we have been refined, redeemed, refurbished, renewed, rejuvenated and are coming forth as pure gold. Have mercy upon us, Lord. Forgive us for all our sins. Cleanse us of all unrighteousness, increase our faith and make our joys full in Thee. Thank you for our relatives and friends. Bless them with healing, with salvation, with increased faith. Deliver us from evil, Lord. Even when that evil becomes near and dear to us. Deliver us from evil. Help us to stop walking in the council of the unGodly, to stop standing in the way of sinners and to stop sitting in the seat of the scornful. Rather, let our delight be not so much in the law of Moses, but in the love of God and the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ, Thine only begotten Son, who died on Calvary so that we all again now have a right to the tree of life and the gift of eternal life. Heal us, Lord, in the name of Jesus. Prosper us, Lord, with our grace, mercy and glory. In the name of King Jesus we pray. Amen."

Lacy, You came rushing across the street in downtown Chicago to say hello. I was in town on business and it had been at least ten years since we both lived in Templin Hall at KU. A memorable surprise. It has been many years since then, but I thought of you the other day and decided to search on Google. Both happy to have found you, concerned to learn of your heart condition, and delighted to discover more about your career and contributions to your profession. Best wishes for your future. Tim McGinty B. Arch. KU '66

BANKS' RESPONSE: What a remarkable memory of something that happened almost 40 years ago. It's an awesome honor to still be a memory is such a great mind like yours. As long as that is the case, I dare not ever fear homeliness. I will always have at least one home in your grand mansion of a mind, If you are a praying man, Tim, pleased pray for me and I will pray for you. I don't have to ask you could use an extra blessing or two. Who couldn't? Thanks for your kind compliments and I came by most of my accomplishments largely because of what I got from the University of Kansas. For you and me and so many others, that KY experience was priceless and most, most enriching. God bless you, Tim, if for nothing else but for thinking of me enough to comment on my blog.

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Lacy J. Banks

Lacy J. Banks, 67, has been a Sun-Times sportswriter/columnist for 38 years and a Baptist preacher for 58 years. He has preached at more than 100 different churches in the Chicago area. A native of Lyon, Miss., Banks graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.A. in French and he served three years in the Vietnam War as a U.S. Naval officer. Lacy and wife, Joyce, have been married 42 years and have three daughters and five grandchildren. Among beats Banks has covered for the Sun-Times are the Bulls, Fire, defunct Sting, Blackhawks, Wolves, Cubs, defunct Hussle, Rush, Sky, college football and basketball and pro boxing.



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lacy Banks published on April 25, 2010 8:59 PM.

After Winning A Smackdown With Death, With God's Help, I'm Back. was the previous entry in this blog.

My Mistake Could Have Cost Me My Life....Lord Have Mercy! is the next entry in this blog.

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