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‘Problems Have a Purpose’: Phoenix Suns Chaplain Returns to Pulpit Two Months After Massive Stroke

travis hearn
Screenshot from YouTube / @Impactchurchaz

After Travis Hearn survived a hemorrhagic stroke last November, doctors said the Arizona pastor should count his blessings because he was fortunate to be alive. Yet just two months after what had been deemed an irreversible medical emergency, Hearn was back in the pulpit at Impact Church in Scottsdale. His sermon title? “Reversing the Irreversible

Hearn, a 47-year-old former star athlete, has always been healthy. So the brain aneurysm and stroke he experienced mid-November were a complete surprise. The pastor, who also serves as team chaplain for the Phoenix Suns, credits God’s miraculous healing for restoring his mind and body.

Travis Hearn: ‘God Does Modern-Day Miracles’

Travis Hearn’s stroke occurred just days after the Impact Church worship team released its first song, “He Is the Miracle.” It quickly skyrocketed atop the iTunes Christian Music Charts. On November 13, Hearn told congregants, “I don’t just believe in the miracles in the Bible. I believe God does modern-day miracles. He still does miracles today.”

The next day, Hearn was rushed to the emergency room, unable to recall his own name. Doctors warned his wife, Natalie, about the severity of his condition, saying if he survived he’d be severely incapacitated. But “she’s a woman of faith and a woman of prayer,” says Hearn, who credits both prayer and therapy for his swift recovery.

The pastor, who still has some numbness on his right side, also expresses thanks for the Suns team and coach, Monty Williams. The coach, an outspoken Christian, gathered players to video-chat with Hearn and let their chaplain know he was in their prayers.

Despite Spiritual Attacks, ‘There Is Always Hope’

For Hearn, the timing of his stroke and his church’s first worship song isn’t coincidental. “I feel like every time in my own life when I make these massive strides to do something good for God, for the community, for people, there is always opposition,” he says. “And a lot of times you get hit with an attack after a great success.”

Despite the health scare, the pastor calls 2022 one of the best years of his life. “Sometimes God’s got to knock you flat on your back in order to get you to look up at him, and that was one of these situations for me,” he says.

“I can count it all joy knowing that God is working on me,” Hearn adds, referencing James 1:2. “I can count it joy knowing that pain has a purpose. I can count it joy, knowing that problems have a purpose.”