It was a cool late October morning. The air was in the low 40s-perfect weather for a bike ride into work. This was the third ride on what to me was a new bike from eBay. As I cruised down the hill I saw the oncoming car, lurch impatiently at the two cars ahead of me. I made myself as visible as I could, including making sure my headlight was flashing directly into the driver’s eyes. I remember thinking to myself, “I trust the Lord.”
The next thing I can recall is being loaded into an ambulance via stretcher. My whole body hurt, but the reason for the ambulance made perfect sense to me. I remember, scenes from the ER, ICU and week at the hospital, but I have no real reference for time. For me early on it was a blur with voices like a Charlie Brown special, then a face would come into focus and say something to me. I’m told I was quite lucid, answering questions about current events, the date and so on.
As my loving wife sat beside me one of the days, I remember weeping. She, immediately concerned, asked what was wrong. I said, “I get to look like Jesus.” And then recited the verses the Lord had given me, Romans 8:28-29!
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
That Sunday in the hospital, after the meeting, my parents visited, and my Dad said, “I have a verse for you – Psalm 51:8.” I knew the opening verses of the Psalm because the Lord had used them to get a hold of me and lead me to repentance. But verse 8, no, I didn’t know that one.
So, he read to me Psalm 51:8, “Make me know joy and gladness that the bones you have broken may rejoice.” I told him, “I don’t like that verse.” We chuckled nervously, but it was the truth at the time. It would be months before I would prayerfully seek to know what the Lord intended me to know about that verse.
Opportunities to witness
I have no recollection of this event, but I’m told by my Dad that after this exchange I fell asleep, which my wife tells me was a routine occurrence. The hospital I was being treated at was a Catholic hospital, so it was normal for a friar or nun in traditional regalia to be around. One nun came in, I was asleep as my Dad recalls.
She observed my wordless book bracelet and commented it must have been special as the EMS didn’t cut it off. At that point, I woke up, showed her the bracelet and what the colors mean, sharing the glorious gospel, and then passed out again. Another scene I do recall, included brother John, a Franciscan monk who stopped by. I don’t know what he expected but we shared quite a bit from the word. He was a regular visitor whom I appreciated.
It was likely Sunday evening I don’t know, when my brothers in the Lord, Bruce and Ben came by with a guitar and we sang hymns and choruses.
Bless the Lord oh my soul,
Oh my soul,
Worship His holy name.
Sing like never before,
Oh my soul.
I’ll worship His holy name.
Prayers of the saints
Brother Creston…Dr. Tate, that is, came in to see me. I was deeply touched for the first of many times when the body of Christ would come and encourage me, and my wife. My family was caring for my children, so my wife could be with me. My in-laws drove the 12 hours to stay at home with my children when I was eventually moved to a rehabilitation hospital. A sister set up a meal train for folks to bring meals to the home.
Young and older saints visited. People drove for more than an hour in some cases just to speak a word of encouragement or pray with me. My plans to visit other meetings were now all cancelled. It was disappointing for me not to be able to get around even in my room, much less in a car. Yet, I’m reminded of something brother Nate B. said about praying. This incident brought countless members of the bride of Christ to intercede on behalf of another member.
What does the future hold? The doctors say I’ll make a full recovery but then they say I’ll never be the same? Spiritually, both are true. Physically, I didn’t want to think about the distant future.
I can honestly say, I don’t ever recall thinking, “why me?” Rather, I, recall thinking, “Ok Lord, what now? How will I serve you now?”
Right where you are
One night a nurse came in and the Lord opened a door for the gospel with her. I never saw her after that. One plants, another waters, God gives the increase.
Another evening, one of the nurses who recently moved to the area was shown scriptures confirming that she should not be floundering but should be actively in fellowship with other believers locally.
Another morning a nurse came in with a dour look on her face. She asked me what I was so happy about reminding me I could have died. I said, “yes, but I know where I’m going when I do.” She too heard the gospel. The Lord graciously allowed for open doors to counsel three therapists who are soon to be married.
My therapy in rehab consisted of learning to cope in my new normal. My new normal contained a lot of pain. But I trust the Lord. Don’t I?
Yes, I do trust my Lord and My God.