Marshall Evangelical Free Church
Reflections from my accident
Reflecting on what happened: It was Saturday, Feb. 12. I remember it well as the sermon I was to give weighed heavy on my heart. We are in a series on fireproofing your marriage. I would need to talk about the parasites that suck the life out of marriage and I knew it would be a difficult message to give and so it was on my heart.
The snow was heavy on our roof. I was raking the edge off with a roof rake. Joshua was on the roof digging out a vent that was leaking water into our kitchen. He needed a different shovel to break up the ice. I got the shovel and started up the ladder. When I got to the top, the ladder began to slide away from the house and in a blink the top of the ladder slipped past the roof; the ladder came crashing down and so did I.
I landed on my back; part on the ladder and part on the concrete. Joshua jumped off the roof to get me help. Sandy called an ambulance and I was taken to the Marshall hospital and then by ambulance to a Sioux Falls hospital. The result was that I had shattered my wrist and received a compressed fracture in my spine along with other cuts and bruises. I was operated on Sunday and came home Monday to begin the painful journey of recovery.
Reflecting on lessons I am learning:
1. I am a mist. "Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." (James 4:14) As I lay helpless on the concrete, my first thought was "Whose going to preach tomorrow?" Then I tried to move. I couldn't move my left arm and I couldn't get up. So there I lay awaiting the ambulance. I was humbled to realize how fragile I am. We are here today and gone tomorrow. I was able to see that I am a mist. I could have easily died in a moment. I certainly wasn't going anywhere at the moment. Time seemed to stop. I realized the church will get along without me. I realized that I am very dispensable. I am a servant of the Lord and He determines the season of my vapor. Only He knows the number of my days, but when that last day comes this mist will vanish. Life is short and so each day must be seen as a gift to be lived in stewardship to the One who is the giver of life. I hope to steward my mist better and remember that I am but a mist.
2. I am thankful. "In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:18) I was surprised that, as I lay awaiting the ambulance, my mind began to overflow with thankfulness. I was thankful to be alive. How did I not hit my head on the concrete? I was thankful I was not paralyzed. I could move my feet. I was thankful that it was I who was injured and not my son who had climbed the same ladder to the roof. I thought, "When was the last time I thanked the Lord that I lived to see another day that I could walk or see or smell or hear?" It had been a while. I was thankful for the medical personnel and the hospital. As I rode in the ambulance, I was thankful that this happened here and not in the bush in Africa hours from the nearest hospital. I was thankful to learn that my surgeon was one of only two in the city who were able to perform the kind of surgery that I received. I was thankful for my family; my wife, my son and my daughter and son-in-law who were on their way to see me. I was thankful for the prayers, the visits, the cards and texts that encouraged and lifted my soul. I realized afresh how blessed I have been. I realized I was very thankful.
3. I have a faithful companion. "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." (Proverbs 31:10-11:30) These are the verses that I read to Sandy's Father when I ask his permission to marry his daughter. On Aug. 23 we will have been married 31 years. Sandra has been a faithful companion to me all these years. We are doing this Fireproof series at church trying to communicate the mystery of becoming one flesh and choosing to be a lifelong companion. Sandy has been my faithful companion. She's the one that called the ambulance. She stayed with me in the E.R. She slept by my side at the hospital. The Lord is revealing our oneness in these days of pain and intimacy. My back is injured and my left hand pretty much shot for the moment. And so she helps me get up, she helps me go to the bathroom and she gently bathes me. She cuts my nails and cuts up my food. She brings me ice for my wounds and ice cream for my soul. She helps me to bed at night. She reads a verse and prays for me. She loves me and it shows. Somewhere in the middle of one of those baths, my heart went much deeper than romance to ponder all that we have been through together and I looked upon her thinking, "We are truly one." Sandy has become a mirror to me of God's love and faithfulness. She does fear the Lord. She is worthy of my praise. I have a faithful companion. The writer of Proverbs asks, "A wife of noble character who can find?" My answer is, "I did."
4. God can be trusted. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body, And refreshment to your bones." (Proverbs3:5-8)
The Bible tells me God's grace is sufficient. His mercies are new every morning. His faithfulness is great. His loving-kindness is everlasting. He can be trusted. He proved it all through the cross. Christ died for my sins. He rose from the dead to give me life eternal. He who promised is faithful. And so I trust the Lord with my pain and my accident. There is something much worse than my pain or even my death. It is living without hope and dying to face eternity without Jesus Christ. But praise the Lord. I am His and He is mine. The Lord has been with me and has been my strength in this adversity. I can trust him to make my "path straight" even in this affliction. He is worthy of my trust and my worship even in pain for enduring this affliction is far surpassed by knowing the One who holds my affliction. Our God is good and He can be trusted.
(Thanks to everyone who has been praying for my recovery. I'm thankful that my rehab is coming along well)