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Greetings in the name of the Lord! Here is my Christian testimony.
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
2 Timothy 4:2
My name is Reverend David Prestridge (Reverend David) and this is my story. I had always been a very “religious” man, but I had ignored God’s calling on my life to preach and, like Jonah, fled to Tarshish instead of going to Nineveh. I became a maintenance engineer instead of a preacher.
It’s never a good idea to run from God. When Jonah ran, God caused a great storm to come on the ship that Jonah was on and the weather didn’t let up until they tossed Jonah overboard, where God had a great fish waiting to take him to Nineveh. This is the story of my “fish.”
I woke up in a strange room. But hold on, it gets even better. Not only was I in a strange room, but I couldn’t move either. The only muscles I could control were my eyes. But hold on, it gets even better. When I tried to cry out, I discovered I couldn’t talk. But hold on, it gets even better. I had two tubes. One tube that ran from just under my belly button to drain into a bag and the other tube that ran from my lower left side, connecting to a food pump. I had an oxygen hose running to a tracheotomy in my neck.
I began to look around the room to try and figure out where I was. It was almost like a hospital; I could see people in smocks walking in the hallway outside the door to my room, but it didn’t seem quite like a hospital. I looked around the room I was in. On the ceiling above my head there was a picture of my wife (she’s so pretty).
A woman in a nurse’s smock came in and turned the food pump off, disconnected the hose to my side, and started to pour a cocktail of medicine down it using an over-sized syringe.
“Well! Look at you! You have your eyes open and everything!” I looked up at the picture of my wife on the ceiling and looked back at her. “Mr. Prestridge, blink if you can understand me.” I blinked. “And now do you want me to call your wife?” I blinked again. “This is a miracle! I’ll do that right now!” she said as she hooked my tube back up to the food pump before she left the room.
After what seemed like an eternity (really about an hour) the voice of my lovely wife landed on my ears. “David, do you know me? Blink if you do.” I blinked. “Do you remember how many kids we have?” I blinked five times. “Five! That’s right!” she wiped her eyes. “I wasn’t sure if you would remember Jeffrey or not, seeing as how he was born so close to your accident.”
What accident? What happened to me? Would she tell me?
“Do you want me to tell you about the accident?” I blinked. “Well, in around the end of July of 1997, you had been laid off as an engineer. From a crew of three, they could only keep one. So you went job hunting on a motorcycle. Do you remember that? Blink once for yes, or twice for no.” I blinked twice. “Well, you took that black motorcycle you just bought. Do you remember buying that?” I blinked twice again. I remembered test-driving the black motorcycle, and really liking it, but not buying it. There was a mischievous twinkle in Margie’s eyes. “Even if you don’t remember, it’s still toast. You were on your way home from job-hunting. When you decided to stop at your Grandmother’s house to show off your new motorcycle to your big brother you were hit by a truck as you turned in. You were knocked over fifty feet on to the highway and you rolled another twenty five feet, breaking your left arm in three places. Feel your left collar bone.” She took the fingers of my right hand and placed them on a suspicious bump on my left collarbone. “And you broke your left cheek bone. But as bad as that was David—that wasn’t the worst—your brain smashed against the inside of your skull, putting you in a thirteen-month coma. Sweetie, you have been out for more than a year.”
Could she be right? Could I have been in a thirteen month coma? I must have been. Why should she lie?
“After you were hit you were taken by Life Flight into the hospital, where you spent the first twelve weeks in intensive care. Then, after you were stable enough to move, you stayed in the hospital for four months. During those four months, you had poisoning in your blood three times. Each time they told me you would die and that I should get the kids ready. The third time they told me that, I just smiled at the doctor. He looked at my smile and thought I must be in denial. ‘Why are you smiling?’ he asked. ‘Doctor, you are a mountain, and you’re about to be dropped in the sea.’ I told him. Then I made arrangements to bring you here, to a nursing home in Collinsville.”
I took in the information, and as it sank in, I could feel the wet blanket of depression wrap around me. “Well, Sweetheart, I better get home.” She bent over and kissed me on the head. “I’ll be back tomorrow.” She switched the light off in my room, leaving me alone to brood in the dark.
In my mind, I was a burden. I couldn’t be a good husband or a good father in a wheelchair. (Or so the devil told me.)
The very next day they sent me to rehab. They worked with my head and neck until I was able to once again turn my head from side-to-side and up-and-down. I also had speech rehab. My voice was gravelly and weak—hard to understand. I was in rehab a total of three weeks. I worked hard. At the end of those three weeks, I had limited control of the right half of my body. I could use my right hand well enough to operate an electric wheelchair! My right index finger worked well enough that I could type with it.
At the end of the three weeks, the local paper sent a reporter out to interview my wife and me. He dubbed me “the miracle man.” But to tell you the truth, in my mind I was a failure.
Nursing home again
After my three week stay in rehab, they brought me back to the nursing home. All the staff was amazed at the progress I had made. But in my mind I had failed miserably. Satan had stolen the joy out of my heart. I was a burden and a freak. I didn’t deserve to live. That evening, in the quiet of my room, Satan convinced me to end my life. If I pulled the tracheotomy out of my neck, that should do it. If I couldn’t breathe, then I couldn’t live either, right? I took my right hand and felt my throat. Once I had my index finger wrapped around my tracheotomy, I began to pull. The pain was . . . intense. It would all be over with soon (or so I thought). I was very angry. I was angry with myself for ever riding a motorcycle, and I was angry with God for allowing me to live like this. At last the tracheotomy came out of my neck. There was a major flaw in my suicide. I could still breathe. So there I sat, with a gaping hole in my neck and a bloody tracheotomy hissing oxygen in my right hand. I was like that when the housekeeper came in.
She looked at the hole in my throat and the bloody tracheotomy in my right hand and screamed for the nurse. The nurse came in and had me put in bed, took the tracheotomy out of my hand and placed it back in the hole in my neck. Then she secured my right arm to the side of the bed so I wouldn’t do that again.
When all was said and done, I was left alone (or so I thought) with my good arm tied down. Then the room was filled with the presence of God. Whether it was God the Father or God the Son, I don’t know. But one thing I did know, it was God.
Why did you try and kill yourself? I heard a voice in my mind say.
Suddenly, I became aware of myself, and how dirty I was. I felt so ashamed.
If you died in that wreck you would have been condemned a hypocrite on the Day of Judgment.
How could that be? I was a religious man; I had gone to church every Sunday.
I had called you to be a Preacher, not an engineer.
The guilt was more than I could bear. What could I do in the shape I was in now?
Nothing is impossible for God. Just know that I am with you, and My spirit will be with you always.
Then the Holy Spirit created in me a clean heart. All the guilt and shame that had bound me to the past had melted away. For the first time since my baptism, I was free.
Home at last
Through a program called the Advantage Program, I was able to go home from the nursing home. I had been given a lap-top computer with a speech program designed to talk for me, but that’s not what I used it for. I had a Bible program I ran on it.
Dying to self
I was reading the Bible one day, and a passage in Hosea jumped out at me.
My people (Christians) are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to Me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
Then I knew what I had to do. I had to put the old carnal me to death—even death on the cross. David Prestridge was put to death, and Reverend David the Preacher of the Living God was born again.