A Florida Pastor has a new lease on life following a near-death experience.
In mid-March, Pastor Mark Berney of River of Life Assembly of God Church in Merritt Island, Florida fell back in his chair and started seizing during the course of a sermon he was preaching.
Shortly afterward, Berney awoke, encircled by church members after they called 911 and dashed towards the stage to pray for him.
The pastor was then taken instantly by an ambulance to AdventHealth Orlando (Formerly Florida Hospital).
The doctors there told Berney, 61, that because of past heart issues he would need a heart transplant.
“My mortality was real — it’s that way for everybody,” Berney said in a press release obtained by Faithwire.
While the preacher admits that he had “no guarantees” over the future of his physical body, he recognized the power of faith.
“So I grabbed a hold of my faith and I drove down where God was concerned and recognized that He’s my prize, ultimately. When I signed up for Him, He’s my ultimate destiny,” Berney asserted.
“That began giving me peace of mind — knowing I was gonna be OK,” he continued. “No matter what, I couldn’t lose. I’d always win.”
Even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, the pastor underwent a successful heart transplant on April 22.
“Words cannot express how I feel,” Berney said of the donor and his surviving family. “How humbled I am for it and how grateful I am.”
For the first time in over the course of a decade, he was able to feel the warmth of his legs again.
The Florida preacher could not help but be “completely blown away at the mercy of God.”
“The blood that’s going to my brain, I feel like I’ve woken up from a deep sleep,” he said, “and I just wanna tell you, I don’t care what you’re going through in life, if you will drill down in your faith, He will give you what it takes to get you to the other side.”
Berney also commended the hospital and its staff for attending to his care with “tireless dedication”, especially when his wife could not visit him in the ICU because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Dr. Nirav Raval, thoracic medical director at Advent Health Transplant Institute, further elaborated over the preacher’s miraculous recovery.
“He could have, frankly, died then and there if he didn’t have a defibrillator,” the doctor said, citing that “medical science and divine intervention” contributed to Berney’s survival.
“I’m impressed and I’m still overwhelmed emotionally,” the pastor said. “[I]’m extremely humbled at the gift of life.”
Photo courtesy: River of Life Church
Video courtesy: River of Life Church
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.