Believers around the world Celebrate Easter This weekend, one Seattle pastor understood the redemptive themes surrounding the holy day.
God worked in mighty ways to resurrect Jesse Bradley’s health, life and calling after a devastating 10-year illness.
Bradley was a professional football player who enjoyed success on the field. Serious illness A malaria drug sidelined him from his favorite game – and almost took his life.
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“When I was two years old, I told my parents “I want to be a professional athlete,” Baddley shared in a recent phone interview with Fox News Digital.
“Sometimes when you’re young you know what you want to do, and my childhood dream came true.”
Bradley grew up playing the game and then went on to play at Dartmouth College Hanover, New Hampshire
He has also traveled outside the US. Playing in Scotland And finally playing professionally as a goalkeeper for the Bulawayo Highlands Football Club in Zimbabwe.
In his early 20s, enjoying his physical prime and the way his dreams were coming true, Bradley began experiencing alarming physical symptoms.
“I’ve never had a migraine headache, but suddenly I couldn’t [handle] No light or sound, and I couldn’t regulate my body temperature.”I had constant sweats and chills,” he said.
He soon The development of tachycardia And it had to do with a constantly racing heart.
“It was terrifying,” he said. “It felt like my heart was beating out of my chest, and I had an atrial fibrillation.”
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Bradley has persistent chest pain, multiple cognitive symptoms and Double vision“With waves of fear and anxiety,” he said.
“I have always been very calm in terms of my emotional balance,” he said suddenly Mental chaos And crazy dreams.”
“God does his great work in the darkest of times.”
Too ill to compete, Bradley returned to the U.S. After seeing several specialists and undergoing various tests, he was told he was suffering from a “drug overdose.” Prescribed medication To prevent malaria”
Meanwhile, he says he’s “back in my parents’ basement bonus room, and it’s very humiliating,” as he continues to experience multiple symptoms of abuse.
Amid the physical, mental and emotional ups and downs of his life, “God was already intervening for my good,” Bradley said.
“Here it is God saved my life.because of [prior to the diagnosis]”All the doctors advised me to take the prescribed medicine for another month,” they continued their examination.
“They were trying to be careful and well-intentioned, but they were completely wrong.”
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Although Bradley didn’t think much of God or his spiritual life when he was young, “I could hear God clearly telling me to stop taking the medicine”—and he did.
“I changed who I am to God and His love…that’s something no one can take away.”
Several weeks later, doctors confirmed that “I had enough of the drug in my system.”
He had to say goodbye to professional sports – and tried to turn his attention to the future.
“God does His great work in the darkest times,” he said. “God can take a tragedy and redeem it in different ways.”
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Noting that he went through a “rehabilitation process”, he actively fought for his life for a year and it took 10 years to fully recover.
He said, “God did a lot of transformational work in my life right away. I realized that if I’m alive, it’s a gift. If I’m sane, if I’m physically healthy, if I can help someone – that’s a gift.”
He continued: “So I started thinking, ‘God, every day, give me 10 things to be thankful for.'”
He said, “You will do it even if you are not grateful” – he called this “Gratitude Gratitude”.
“I speak loudly,” he continued. “‘Thank you for my clothes. Thank you for the hugs from my parents. Thank you for the comfortable bed. Just – thank you.”
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As the focus turns to his faith, Bradley says, “I didn’t realize that my identity was tied to my work before.”
“Who you are is not what you do. But in our culture we associate a lot with performance.”
“It’s a brutal roller coaster because you go from pride to shame, to depression — when your identity isn’t what you do. But in our culture, we associate so much with performance.”
So, “I changed my identity to this. God and his loveBecause it’s something no one can take away.”
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When he opens himself to God’s will, he realizes that “this identity and hope is indestructible – and very free.”
“And I wouldn’t have gone to that place if I hadn’t lost my job, my health, my football — if I hadn’t lost other things.”
Bradley said he was confident. Chapter 7 of the Gospel of Matthew, He said, “And if you live in Him, believe in Him, and walk with Him, your house will be like a house on a rock, not on sand.”
He also said, “I was looking for a house on the rock, I needed Jesus to build my life. And I began to pray pouring out my heart to God.”
“My approach in life before all this was not to cry too much – I just held on,” he continued.
“God has opened this new chapter.”
“You white-knuckle, you try harder—and while that has some value, the ceiling is too low. And it doesn’t help me get through this amount of misery.”
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Bradley said, “I wanted to share the pain with different people and even cry with them. I was learning new ways to walk through the valley of the shadow of death.”
Stating that he never thought of becoming a pastor, he said, “It wasn’t on my radar, but God directed me. Now I started serving and volunteering in the church and God spoke to me again and again.”
Bradley, who did not grow up reading the Bible, graduated from seminary after four years.
“When I graduated from seminary, I didn’t know if I would be able to work full-time,” he said of his health.
“I went to be a college pastor at a church in Iowa City. I went there tired, and God’s power is strong, and he gave me back a lot of energy,” he continued.
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“God has opened this new chapter.”
Today, Bradley is the pastor of Grace Community Church in the greater Seattle area.
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“I grew up not believing in God and I didn’t read the Bible because there was only success in my life.”
But trusting God completely will take you on a journey you could never have imagined.
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