When the other guy became me...


First Published in the Illinois Baptist, April 9, 1997


Can you picture yourself lying in a hospital bed in the intensive care unit? Imagine that the doctors have just completed a post-surgical checkup. Listen quietly as they tell you that you probably will never walk again. 

How would you react? 


Each year 12,000 Americans suffer spinal cord injuries? Eighteen percent of these are women. Thirty-seven percent of these injuries occur because of automobile accidents. I didn’t worry about these statistics because things like this always happen to "the other guy" not to me. 


I never dreamed that I would be the one those doctors were talking with or that I would have to face this challenge. If four or five years ago you had asked me what my reaction would be, I do not know what my answer would have been. But, it did happen to me and God continuously helps me through it. 


The only way I can explain it, is that it was as if God was right beside me. There was this still soft voice talking to me, calming me, as the doctor gave me his prognosis. You see, my son had been driving the car in which I was a passenger. At that very moment God was saying to me, "Your child is precious, and you can’t let this destroy him." 


God does not tempt us beyond what we can bear, and He gave me the courage to keep going. During the 9 1/2 weeks I was hospitalized, I saw other patients fight depression and struggle to make progress. My attitude amazed them. My answer now is the same as then. "Who am I to question God? I know He has a plan. I know He has a reason. I could get depressed, but it’s too hard to get out. I could go crazy, but when I do, I take my son with me." 


Proverbs 17:22 — A cheerful heart is like good medicine; but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. 


Throughout our lives, God’s motivation and purpose in most cases remains a mystery. We often hear that God loves us and has a wonderful plan for our lives. Many believers are not prepared when His plan is not the one we would have designed for ourselves. We must realize that God is in control! He will determine what is best for each of our lives. He knows the whole picture and how the pieces fit together. He also knows the timetable. We must put our trust in Him. 


If our expectation is that only good will come to us, it is easy to be disillusioned and become angry at God. This attitude allows Satan an open door into our lives. We can accept God’s will for our lives and know that the time will come that He will reveal the answer to that awesome question, "Why me?" or we can allow anger and depression to destroy us.  


Each of us has a circumstance in our life that could easily be perceived as unbearable. By placing our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, we can find peace, joy and happiness regardless of personal circumstance. 


While this is not the way I would have chosen to have a closer relationship with God, that has been the result. I have had many opportunities to publicly share my testimony since the accident. I had the chance to speak out as a seat belt advocate in the June 1996 issue of Home Life magazine. Doors have recently been opened (and elevators built) that have allowed me to now use my abilities and work experience to further glorify God’s work. I am now working part time as secretary at Richland Baptist Church in East Peoria. I am dedicated to serving the Lord and have become an active member of Morton First Baptist Church.