Please accept my Christian testimony, that all who reads it will glorify God.
As long as I’m alive—I’m relying on GOD’S ability to somehow be a blessing to others because honestly I’ve all run out of my OWN ability a long time ago.
The Apostle Paul came to an amazing revelation through his own suffering, I believe, when he wrote:
Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:10
I don’t see myself on the spiritual level that Apostle Paul was—YET—but with God “all things are possible!”
I hope somehow my testimony will be a source of encouragement to you, especially if you don’t see much left to live for. I know the feeling; I’ve tasted that anguishing reality . . .
Early on a foggy January morning in 1998, I was driving to work, up Highway 10 to Orangeville, Ontario. A tractor-trailer, hauling 37 tons of gravel, drove out in front of me and I never saw it until my windshield hit the trailer. Even though I was driving well within the speed limit, the impact knocked me into the back seat and into nowhere for up to eight weeks.
When I awakened—my job was gone, my car was gone, and my left arm was useless. I was paralyzed on my entire left side and my mouth was wired shut.
Two motorists heard the impact and pulled over to see if they could help. Darlene was driving home from an early morning business meeting in the town of Caledon, just ahead. When she heard the impact, she pulled over to the shoulder and crawled into the back seat of my car which was jammed under the trailer. Holding my hand, she encouraged me to stay alive. (I was to later hand her a couple of gospel-related booklets in a coffee shop, not long after I was released from the hospital).
Ian also heard the impact and pulled over. Working with truck drivers for a living, he walked around the rig to talk to the driver. When he saw my car, he pulled his cell phone from his belt and dialed 911. Two Ontario Provincial Police cruisers were the first to arrive on the scene. While one of the constables directed traffic around the wreck, the other looked into the driver’s side of my now demolished vehicle and saw me lying in a pool of blood with my left arm hanging over my head. I was groaning in an attempt to answer Darlene, who asked me my name. When he saw this, he emotionally doubled over, quickly walked back to his cruiser, radioed for more emergency assistance, then—on a cell phone—he called his wife and let her know he was coming home early.
While the paramedics kept losing my pulse, Darlene screamed at them to keep trying to save me. It took the fire department three quarters of an hour to get me out of the wreck. They slashed my tires, thinking they could lower my vehicle enough to extract me. When that attempt failed, they arranged to dump the trailer of all its gravel and raise the thing off of me. Then they cut me out with the Jaws-of-Life.
I was stabilized at Headwaters Hospital in Orangeville. As my injuries were far more extensive than that hospital was equipped to handle, I was supposed to be air-lifted to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. Weather conditions, however, did not permit for that form of transportation. So, I was rushed via land ambulance, where an MD accompanied me.
Upon my arrival, I underwent thirty-two hours of surgery to my face and sixteen hours of surgery to my arm. The surgeon who operated on my face was not only a plastic surgeon, but was one of only four cranial facial surgeons of his specialty in the country. He fixed on my face so well there are no noticeable scars. What a blessing! As for my arm, it was the chief of orthopedic surgery who worked on it.
I was two months at Sunnybrook, drifting in and out of a coma. The entire pastoral staff at my church of twelve pastors came out to visit me. Also, there came the whole singles group. I then spent another two months at the Rehabilitation Institute of Toronto, where among other things, I had to learn how to walk all over again.
With the exception of my nose and teeth, I sustained two broken eye sockets, two broken cheek bones, two broken jaw joints, a broken mouth in seventeen places, eleven fractured ribs, a bruised lung, brain injuries in three parts of my brain, a dislocated left shoulder, a dislocated left forearm, severed nerves, a crushed left elbow and a crushed left humerus bone. My brain injuries robbed me of my balance, obscured my eyesight, altered my personality and caused my judgments to be unsound.
For over ten years, God did a healing work in me. Now I no longer make unsound judgments. My eyesight is healed—I need only wear reading glasses. My balance is much better now. As for my personality, I used to be a very quiet and reserved guy. Not so much anymore, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’m still quiet to a limited degree but not nearly as much as I used to be.
I still don’t walk all that well because my acquired brain injuries are causing my left foot to invert, but God is in control. After all these years, and after the Lord has brought much healing to my brain injuries, God has now called me to serve Him as a mentor and counsellor in a support group ministry for ABI (acquired brain injury) Christian adults. I suspect He may want me in this ministry permanently.
I now know why God allowed me to suffer this experience. It was to make me grow and to give me first-hand knowledge of brain injuries so as to serve Him in a ministry that will be the only one of its kind in Ontario and probably the country. Ultimately, it will be God-glorifying.
I miss my job, but God doesn’t want me working just any job anymore. As mentioned above, He wants me in this ministry—I suspect permanently—or for many years. I guess this is why I was so well financially awarded. My parents, not knowing if I’d ever walk again or have any kind of normal life, wanted me to be financially set for life.
As for my arm, God meant that for good too. That’s what I’m believing. What good remains to be seen. Eleven years ago, after two surgeons told me I’d never use my arm again, I had in mind to have my arm amputated. I did not see the logic behind keeping an arm that wasn’t going to work. But it was a still, soft, quiet voice, deep down inside, that kept saying, no, don’t do it. Then I got from the Spirit, through many friends and acquaintances, that God would heal my arm. So I decided against amputation.
It took a minimum of three years for me to emotionally get over what happened. At first, I was angry at God because I lost my job. I was also angry at God because my arm didn’t work. I was angry at God because I had to sit myself in a wheelchair eight hours a day. I was angry at God because I had to reside in the Acquired Brain Injury Unit of the place and I was angry at God for letting me live. I was so angry at God, I almost hated Him. I couldn’t play my guitar anymore either. At that time, I had been a guitarist 16 years. This year, 2010, I will have been a guitarist 28 years and an amateur musician for 33 years.
New Year’s day, 2000, I gave my guitar to God as the longing to get back on it was eating me away. Like my health, it’s in His hands. It doesn’t mean God will let me play again after He heals me, but at least I know He’s still in control.
My arm hurts to this day. Aside from prayer for healing, I ignore it. Pain can be controlled. If one can ignore pain, it ceases to hurt as much.
When will God heal me? Not when God is ready, for He is always ready. Holiness is ready twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. God will heal me when He sees that I am ready and when it glorifies Him the most. For God is perfect and His timing is perfect.