The Inner Struggle When Reality Hits: How Crisis Impacts Your Faith

The Inner Struggle When Reality Hits: How Crisis Impacts Your Faith

in Blog Article by Jeff Hare

New Year – New Me….

In the new year, we like to focus on new goals, new aspirations, even “a new me”. But how do you face the new year when life’s inner struggles impact your mind? Having a traumatic, life-changing medical issue changes you and can challenge your faith in God.  In March 2019, I had a heart attack that should have rendered my wife a widow. The arterial wall in my Left Anterior Descending (referred to as the LAD) artery ruptured during a triathlon in 2019. I had a heart attack that they refer to as ‘the widow maker’ because a high percentage of heart attacks in these circumstances cause sudden cardiac distress leading to death.

My survival from this sudden situation was facilitated by my compulsive need for exercise, particularly endurance events like triathlons. The race where I had my heart attack was in the middle of an intense training cycle attempting to train for my first full distance Ironman. There is so much more I could say about the months prior to that about how God had prepared me for the day where my LAD would rupture, but I will save that for another day…

My widow-maker heart attack was undiagnosed for 8+ days after it happened. I did not go into cardiac distress at the time of the incident because my heart had formed other pathways, known as collateral arteries, to provide blood to my heart such that I had no idea, at the time, that I had had a heart attack. It happened during my triathlon, and I knew something wasn’t right, so I stopped my race (my first ever DNF), but I didn’t realize at the time that I had had a heart attack.  I was in Oman, a country in the middle east, on business and continued my work for the next week before returning to the US. Upon returning home, I saw my doctor and he ran tests that identified that I had had a heart attack. That then filled in the gaps of what happened during my race.  Later that day I went to the hospital where they diagnosed this issue and re-opened my LAD artery by inserting two overlapping stents.

In many ways, I looked at the time from diagnosis to the cure as only taking hours. That Friday morning, March 8, 2019, I was diagnosed as having had a heart attack and that night I was cured. I was cured physically, but my mental and spiritual reconciliation of what happened was just beginning.

Today is December 16, 2023…

Almost five years since my incident and I am still processing the how and why…

I became a born-again believer in August 1992 just months before marrying my wife Julie and I have been a Christian for 30+ years.  For over half my life I have known God and experienced Him (I am currently 54), but my heart attack challenged my faith in a way I never expected.

Despite my “tough” exterior, I am highly driven by emotions.  Music moves me and connects me with Jesus like nothing else. It’s scripture coming to life through song. Shortly after my heart attack, a worship song from Bethel Music called “The King of My Heart” was wildly popular and being sung regularly in our church.  The lyrics included:


Let the King of my heart
Be the wind inside my sails
The anchor in the waves
Oh, He is my song

‘Cause You are good,
You are good, oh.
You are good.
You are good, oh.

This first part of the song was easy for me to sing, but this chorus wasn’t so easy:


You’re never gonna let,
You’re never gonna let me down.


You see, in my mind God had let me down.  At that time, I believed He chose not to protect me from my heart attack.  I wrestled with why He let me down. I wrestled with why He let this happen to me.

When does God intervene and when does He allow things to happen? Throughout time, this question has been debated by man.  Ultimately, I was wrestling with understanding the balance between His sovereignty and the free will we have in this broken world.

 Is God really the King of my heart?

Was I prepared to accept that God is sovereign and doesn’t owe me an answer?

And was I prepared to accept He sometimes allows suffering/doesn’t intervene when we ask Him to?

I first started drafting this reflection 2+ years ago when I finished my first Ironman.  Finishing that Ironman was such a redemption for me.  The passage I reflected on after that race was Ephesians 3:20 as provided in this blog. The past two years I have continued to reflect on the why, how, and what now.  And honestly, I haven’t come to the end and may never finish reflection on this.

Scripture has its difficult passages to understand. Modern worship music is similar especially with such verbiage like, “you’re never going to let me down,” which can have confusing and seemingly conflicting meanings. One of the great dichotomies of the Bible is how God’s holiness and His grace fully co-exist.  Often, I have seen God’s holiness in scripture and forget He made a way for us through His Son Jesus (John 3:16). Did God, in His holiness, “let me down”? In my eyes, did He allow a heart attack to happen in my life? Yes. Did God’s grace equally preserve my life, allowing me to finish TWO Ironman races? Yes.

In Closing…

To close, I’ll leave you with the song that stays with me the most in this season of my life. It’s Bethel Music’s remake of the classic hymn, “It is Well”:


Far be it from me to not believe
Even when my eyes can’t see
And this mountain that’s in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea

And through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
And through it all, through it all
It is well

And through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
And it is well, it is well

So let go, my soul, and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name
So let go, my soul, and trust in Him
The waves and wind still know His name


I am coming up in March on the five-year anniversary of my life-changing heart attack. In part I know I can only be comforted by fully embracing His sovereignty this side of heaven. Yet my flesh still cries out for answers…  I still don’t have the answers I sought after those weeks and months following my event. However, I am choosing to “let go, my soul, and trust in Him.”

If you are having similar issues, my prayer is that you cast your cares on Him. And that one day you too will find the peace in letting go and trusting in Him.

Share this post:
ERPRA Become Our Partner

Please select your preferred datasheet and download it: