Matt Krueger: The Heart of the Matter
By Michelle Wilson
The 700 Club
CBN.com - “I kept God completely out of the picture,” Matt Krueger tell the 700 Club. “Because I was busy having a good time. And I didn’t really want a relationship with God.”
Having a good time was the motto of Matt Krueger’s life growing up. His passion and ability to play sports opened the door to plenty of partying in high school and during his college years.
Matt reflects, “I played sports in college at a small school and had a lot of great friends. But we would party a lot and had a lot of fun. But just at that point in time I didn’t really see a need for going to church a whole lot.”
His partying came to a halt when during a routine physical in college, 18 year old Matt Krueger learned he had cholesterol levels over 400 which could lead to a severe case of c-a-d—coronary artery disease. It’s a condition where plaque builds up inside the arteries feeding the heart.
“Normal cholesterol levels should be around 100 to 150. And the nurses kept on coming back and they checked my cholesterol three times because they couldn’t believe it,” Matt says.
Because Matt was adopted as a baby, he didn’t know the medical history of his family. But like most young men, Matt didn’t think much about his condition, and continued his wild lifestyle like nothing was wrong.
Matt recalls, “We drank a lot and I think one of my excuses was well life is short so let’s party. But it really didn’t sink in. You know I was young and was in great shape playing sports. I wasn’t over weight and so I just kind of shrugged it off.”
Matt ‘s longtime girlfriend, Marina tried to convince him to be more conscious of his health but Matt wasn’t listening.
“I could tell that he felt like life was over.” Marina shares, “Like that he might not have a future. So I guess I took on the role of feeling like I need to reassure him there was still gonna be a future.”
At 22, Matt had a heart scan. It revealed that so much plaque had built up in his arteries that doctors warned he could have a heart attack or stroke at any moment. They recommended immediate surgery. Matt began to get serious about his life.
Matt reflects, “And I remembered thinking to myself you know what maybe it’s time to move on with my life. And maybe it’s time to stop partying and start to have a family. “
Matt and Marina married. Finally when Matt was 26, he agreed to have 6 stents inserted in his arteries to open up the blockages. It was actually during the surgery that he learned why he hadn’t died already.
Matt: “I’m 27 years old. Why do I have the arteries of an 85 or 90 year old. My heart had started to grow it’s own little tiny bypass and capillaries.”
But Matt’s surgery led to an unexpected side effect. For the first time, he really became fearful of his own death.
Matt: “Any little ache and pain that I would have I would immediately go to the thought of ooh my gosh this is it. So much so that I even took two ambulance rides to the hospital only to find out that there was nothing wrong with me.”
Matt’s fear of death began to wreak havoc on his marriage.
Marina recalls, “He really couldn’t concentrate on anyone else. That was taking all of his mental time. I battled with just feeling like you couldn’t meet his expectation.”
Matt’s breaking point came after a day he spent doing yard work. He was sure he was having a heart attack and quickly began to pray.
Matt turned to prayer. “I said God if this is it. If this is a heart attack and I do die then I want to make sure that I’m gonna be with you ok. And it was kind of at that point that I truly with all my heart asked Jesus into my life. I kind of held him off to the side for so many years and it was my last hope and my last option but it was my best option. A peace came over me and now I almost felt like the devil can’t torment me here because if I am going die I’m gonna go and be with God.”
Matt didn’t have a heart attack that day but he says God gave him a new spiritual heart. That’s when things really began to change. Marina was the first to notice.
Marina reflects, “He’s selfless. He’s got an amazing sense of discipline that you don’t see in a lot of people. And he has a heart for God and a heart for wanting to serve which is just 110% opposite of who he used to be.”
Matt: “God did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, and of love and of self discipline. When you let go of your life and you give it to God. He wants to show you how he’s faithful.”
Today, the Krueger’s have four children, a successful business, and a strong marriage. Matt has changed his diet and exercises regularly. All of that has given him a much healthier heart and a much happier life.
Matt shares, “Life is shorter than we think and none of us want to think about death but it will come to all of us. He just wants us going forward to continue to love him and to grow in him so that when we get to that judgment day we’ve done what we can on this earth for him. And we can spend the rest of eternity with him.”
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