Witnessing another person’s strong and grounded faith in action is one of those things that makes you stop and examine your own.
Especially when that person has a life threatening condition that, by all reason and logic, ought to make them turn away from God.
Darius Sheppard is a 21-year-old college junior at the University of Kansas. His cardiomyopathy — enlarged heart — hasn’t stopped the young man from praising God by doing what he loves.
“I live and breathe music,” Sheppard told KSHB. Sadly, doing what he loves was interrupted when a tightness in his chest in February put him in the hospital. He described the feeling as “drowning” when he laid down.
At first his symptoms and pain seemed like asthma or the flu. But the doctors soon found the cardiomyopathy — and it was advancing quickly.
“He may not have realized that he’d been sick for awhile,” Bethany Austin, Sheppard’s cardiologist at St. Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, said.
“The doctors said they didn’t know how I was surviving with the heart as big as it was.” Sheppard added. “It was barely pulsing.”
And so the wait for a heart transplant began. The pain Sheppard experienced was unbearable. “I had to like audibly say out loud … ‘Okay, God. I trust you.'”
Through the storm, Sheppard sang and worshipped. And, fittingly, the call came on Easter Sunday that his miracle had arrived. He received the transplant the very next day.
And so he sings, praising God and giving glory where it’s due. “I reckon that the sufferings of (my) present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed,” Sheppard wrote on Facebook.
His favorite hymn is “This is the Day,” a song he told KSHB fits his story “because it is a day God didn’t have to give me.”
“He’s got a light inside that just shines,” Roberta Gumbel, Sheppard’s KU voice coach, shared with the news outlet.
His mom agrees and even says his voice has changed for the better because of all her son has gone through.
“You can hear the second chance that he has now,” she told KSHB. “You can hear that he is not taking anything for granted in his song. In his voice. There’s a meaning behind it baby. That’s what I hear.”
If you’d like to help support Darius Sheppard and his family with his medical bills, visit his GoFundMe page. Keep on shining that light, Darius! We all need a little more faith in our lives.`
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