Forty-five years ago this month I stepped to the edge of the precipice and looked down into the darkness of death—my death. A speeding car came down the mountain back road that I used as a short cut to get home from church that Saturday. I moved to get out of his way and crashed into the mountain. Physics took over at that point, the mountain did not move but I did, thrusting my body and right elbow forward into the windshield. I was not wearing a seatbelt. This was a rural setting on the outskirts of Birmingham, Alabama. The black farmer’s wife who first came to my aid had just slaughtered a hog. I could see it hanging from a pole. She called for an ambulance, then brought me a towel for my injuries.
A small crowd gathered around me. I had severed an artery and two of the three major nerves which controlled my right arm and hand. A Good Samaritan, who was a traveling salesman, said we could not wait for I was bleeding too much. People helped me into his car. He did not know the area so finding the closest hospital became a challenge. By this time I could no longer see. He kept encouraging me until he said he was lost. My vision returned enough for me to see we were only two blocks away and then I sank into overwhelming darkness. His car must have been an awful mess when he delivered me to the emergency room. I awoke sometime the next day. I never knew his name.
I spent some days in the hospital. I learned that men from the church came and gave blood on that first night of surgery. My father said that when he got to my car the people were still there but that the ambulance had never arrived. I had follow-up surgery a couple of months later to regain the use of my right hand. I had been called to ministry in March three years before the accident. Now I knew firsthand about good neighbors, God’s healing provision and that death is nothing to be feared by those who believe. And I am ever grateful.
Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Live by faith. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.