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A Stroke of Faith

Author Mark Moore shares how he moved from acceptance to surrender, and from hope to faith in the wake of tragedy. Read Transcript


ANDREW KNOX: Mark Moore is a nationally recognized

businessman and philanthropist.

His generosity to hospitals and nonprofits

have helped saved thousands of lives.

But just 10 years ago, Mark had two strokes just days apart.

He was only 46-years-old and fighting for his life.

But Mark says his strokes helped him become

the humanitarian he is today.

In his book, A Stroke of Faith, he

shares how nearly losing his life

helped him find his identity.

Well joining us now is Mark Moore.

Mark, thanks for being here.

Thanks for having me.

Amazing journey, your story.

And I think it all comes together

toward the end when you say, I no longer identify myself

in what I do, but what God has done for me.

But right before your stroke, tell us what you were doing.

You were kind of at the pinnacle, professionally.

Correct, I was as a philanthropist-- oh,

excuse me--

I was an entrepreneur.

I spent my life raising capital for startup companies,

taking them public, selling companies, and growing them.

And that's what I did for about 30 years.

You're growing up, a lot of kids

in the family, not a lot of money.

So you had quite a turnaround here, professionally,

where you were at.

How did you view God in the process of all that,

before your strokes?

Before the strokes, I really viewed God

as being in control on Sundays.

And I tell people, I thought Sunday was God's day.

And the other six days, I was in control.

And with the events of 2007, I realized that was not the case.

So what happened that year?

In 2007, I developed a blood deficiency.

And because of that blood deficiency,

my blood began to clot.

And as you mentioned, Andrew, the Saturday

before Mother's Day, I suffered my first stroke.

The Monday after Mother's Day, I suffered a second stroke.

And due to complications in the second stroke,

they had to perform lifesaving brain surgery.

And after the surgery, I found myself with many deficits.

And one would think that wouldn't happen to you, right?

You were living clean.

That's correct.

You gave God his day on Sunday.

That's correct.

Living for your family.

I was 46.

I had none of the symptoms that you

would expect that people would have

that would suffer a stroke.

I wasn't diabetic.

I didn't have high blood pressure.

I didn't have high cholesterol.

I exercised, and I ate healthy.

So I certainly was not the type of person

you would think would develop a stroke.

But what happened was I did develop a blood deficiency.

And because of the blood deficiency,

my blood began to clot.

And that's what caused the two strokes.

So you had your first stroke.

You come out of it, then another one.

And you had quite a surprise when

you woke up after your second.

That's correct.

The first stroke was on the Saturday before Mother's Day.

The Monday after Mother's Day, I suffered a second stroke.

Complications arose.

They had to perform lifesaving brain surgery.

And when I woke up, I remember waking up one morning,

and one of those early morning newscasts was on.

And I heard the newscaster say, and this week it

will be Father's Day.

And I was stunned.

Wait a second.

Exactly.

Because I'm like, oh, my last recollection was Mother's Day.

That's scary.

It was scary.

And I waited-- a matter of fact, to your point, Andrew--

I was scared.

Nurses came in and out of the room.

I didn't say a word because I was scared.

And I waited until my wife to show up at 9:00 o'clock.

And when she showed up at nine, she said, hey, you're awake.

And she goes, what do you remember?

And I go, I remember the day after Mother's Day being

told that I would be going home on Friday.

I got up, and I just heard a newscaster

say that this weekend would be Father's Day.

What happened?

And she explained to me that I suffered two strokes

and had major brain surgery.

And I had a long recovery ahead of me.

And you're a man who during your business career

was cashing and writing large checks, right.

And here you are after these strokes

having to re-learn even just the process of writing and signing

a check, tying your shoes.

That's correct.

Strokes are certainly very challenging.

It certainly can be debilitating.

And in my case, I lost the use of my left side of my body.

I couldn't walk.

I wasn't able to tie my shoe.

I couldn't write checks.

I mean simple things like getting

in the shower to take a shower was a challenge.

It takes a long time to recover.

So I suppose at this point, you

had a shift in your thinking.

I need to give God every day.

That's correct.

And to your point, people always talk about having an experience

with God.

And I would say that first day after my wife told me

I had had two strokes and a long recovery, you know, Andrew,

you can appreciate this.

She told me I had these two strokes and a long recovery.

She goes, but you know what?

She goes, I stayed with you every night.

I slept in a chair right next to your hospital bed

and made sure you were OK.

In your book, you don't talk about them as my strokes,

you talk about them as my experience with God.

What a perspective.

That is correct.

And because really, the stroke was

just what God used to reach me.

Because my pastor gave his sermon as I

was going through my recovery.

He talked to us, sometimes storms in our life

are to lead us someplace.

And in my case, the strokes were simply God's way

of trying to lead me somewhere.

And I just needed to listen to him.

Did you have periods of anger at God, though?

Oh, sure, sure.

Fortunately Andrew, it was early in the process.

The medical profession talks about when

you have a life-threatening illness,

you go through anger and denial and fear.

And I went through all those.

And I tell people, when I wasn't angry, I was in denial.

And when I was in denial, I was scared.

And when I wasn't scared, I was angry.

And when I was angry, I was in denial.

So you go back and forth.

But the good news is what they talked about

in the medical profession on the back-end,

in order to get a full recovery, they

talk about getting to the point of acceptance and hope.

And the answer for me, acceptance

really was surrendering.

And hope was really turning to my faith.

So in order for me to recover, I needed to surrender to God

and relinquish control.

And from a practical standpoint,

you were really humbled, weren't you?

Absolutely, absolutely.

It's humbling in a lot of ways.

And in some ways, you have to accept who you are.

Because even when I accepted the fact

that this is where God wanted me to be,

I still couldn't quite understand it

because I'm like, well, why me?

But Andrew, real question, why not me, right?

My wife told me at one point, maybe

God allowed you to have two strokes so you could

show people you could recover.

And it was a very telling statement.

And I heard that.

But I also kept thinking, well why would he pick me?

And to answer the question, well why not me?

Why not me?

I love the line in your book when you say,

I was a wealthy man.

But now I'm a rich man.

What do you mean by that?

From the business standpoint, I had a very successful

professional career and was able--

and God put me in a position where I was able to accumulate

a lot of wealth.

And that's wonderful.

But the fact of the matter was I wasn't rich spiritually.

And what I realized as I went through this process,

I attended a church in Fairfax Station,

Virginia called Antioch Baptist Church.

And they talk about, we are called

to do more than just worship.

We're called to study His word.

We are told to do good works in his name.

And we are told to spread his name to the lost and dying

world.

And to your point, Andrew, what realized

is that I'm called to do more than just worship.

And that's all I was doing.

I was worshipping on Sunday.

But I have to go to Bible study.

I need to study his word.

I need to do good work to His name.

And I need to spread his name.

Very likely you'd still be living

as just a Sunday Christian if not for this experience?

There's not a doubt in my mind that if I had not had this--

feeling God's presence in 2007--

I would probably still be doing that, not a doubt in my mind.

You've left the corporate world now.

MARK MOORE: Yes, yes.

What are you up to?

Right now we are basically working on philanthropy.

My wife and I created Family Foundation.

I'm trying to give back.

We realize we've been blessed.

And we try to focus on health care, education,

arts and culture, and Christian evangelism.

So we're trying to really give back some of the many blessings

that God has given us.

ANDREW KNOX: Yeah.

It's amazing journey you're on.

Thanks for sharing it with us today.

MARK MOORE: Thank you.

My pleasure.

Thank you for the opportunity.

And if you want to hear more of Mark's story,

his book is called A Stroke of Faith,

and it's available wherever books are sold.

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