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How Life Changed After Almost Dying

by Pastor Huck Kusner on 03/10/17

By Pastor Huck Kusner


QUESTION:  How has your life changed since you almost died on the operating table two years ago?


ANSWER:  Nobody, including the surgeon, imagined I would be the second person in Arizona history who would react negatively to the chemical “protamine.”  Thus far we have no knowledge of anyone surviving a protamine reaction in our country.  It is given to patients to reverse the affect of medication that prevents clotting during heart surgeries.  A reaction, however, causes the blood to turn into a wet cotton-like substance causing heart failure and damage to vital organs due to oxygen deprivation.


My heart was completely disconnected for six hours, then reconnected and electrocuted to restart.  God had to be in charge.  It is nearly impossible to describe what it’s like to enter a hospital to get better, only to wake up on death’s doorstep, feeling sure you will die with your next breath.


After the usual two hour surgery was extend to fourteen, blowing up to over 320 lbs from my normal 165, receiving fourteen units of blood because I was injected with protamine twice, everyone was called into the grief room of the hospital and informed that it was likely I would not live through the night.


I was told that friends, family and church members filed in two at a time to say goodbye, although I have no recollection of any of it.  How I appreciate my church family at Calvary of BCC, and other congregations, who prayed.  While praying in the grief room Michele Evans told everyone she kept sensing a small voice inside saying, “Restart; Pastor Huck is going to restart.”  Margaret Opsal encouraged people to pray with faith despite being told I would most likely die.


By God’s grace I lived.  Don and Freda McLay nursed me back to health and today I can run seven miles, perform P90X workouts without any problem, and with no meds.  What feels indescribably awkward is when well –meaning people say, “God’s not finished with you,” or “God has a reason.”  Those words stall my brain and make me think that in the natural, I really don’t belong on this earth anymore.


This experience has made me feel like my life ended, but I was allowed to start up again, but I never really left, because I didn’t really die, but I was supposed to.  There; I told you it was hard to explain.  I didn’t just turn a page in life, or even begin a new chapter.  This is more like Volume Two.


Jesus Christ has always mattered, but today my relationship is ramped up with additional intensity.  I have an increased clarity about what’s important, and what’s a waste of time.  I love the people of Calvary BCC, my bride, my kids, and what I do as a pastor.  There’s a very clear recognition that God has filled my life with purpose having eternal value.  What more could I want?


If you have ever read the Book of Job, then you know how God blessed him doubly in chapter forty-two.  I am living in Job chapter forty-two.  


When I consider that Jesus Christ allowed Himself to be crucified in my place for my sins, the only logical thing to do is give all this life all to Him.  He is what matters, and to Him we will all be accountable.


I have served Him by leading mission teams in many countries including war torn South Sudan, and most recently Mae Sariaing, Thailand, but I love my church in BCC.  My restart causes me to encourage you all the more to consider Jesus, and decide to learn more about Him as well as yourself, at Calvary. 


Comments (2)

1. Jerry & Kimberlee Kinder said on 4/2/17 - 03:24PM
Huck- We just got back from Black Canyon City. The first place we visited this afertnoon was the church. The place fostered great memories of serving as a guest ensemble of singers and musicians leading worship one sunday to having visited on an occasion. Your story of survival is inspiring and deeply touches our hearts. Our hope and prayer continues for you to lead the "flock" at BCC do what the Lord has intended. He has not called you home.....YET! There is more to do especially in this world that is in so much need for the Lord. The Battle continues. Keep up the good fight. Blessings to you and yours.. J&K
2. Estella M Martinez said on 8/19/18 - 09:07PM
Hi Pastor Chuck...I am Emma Gordoa's daughter, I truly enjoyed today's sermon. God has used my Mom as a wonderful servant of our Lord, Thank you for the missionary opportunities to enable her to fulfill her destiny which was on hold while she was married to my Papa and raising us kids. I truly believe we all have a certain purpose on this earth while here a short or extended time...given by our Lord Jesus Christ. Your life was wonderfully spared to continue a life of servitude and love...I was touched today by how much love you have for your extended family and Our Lord, and to have read about your near death experience and how that experience has deeply enriched your life...but has also enriched so many others. Also, I'd like to add that I felt so welcomed and loved at BCC, you and your flock are reflection of God's love. May the Lord Jesus Christ bless you and your family. Love in Christ, Stella

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This article first appeared in January/February 2017 issue of Calvary Corner News.