The first time was a long, long time ago…
Pain’s branding iron pierced my right side. Tears rolled hot. I was alone. I was a boy. And I was dying… I knew it.
Standing straight was out of the question. So hunched and holding my side I made it to the phone.
Pain’s fingers strangled my voice to a whisper.
“Please, I need to talk to my mom.”
I waited and whispered a painful prayer.
My mom walked and whispered a fervent prayer.
In that instant when we whispered…
The pain vanished forever, before she reached the phone.
No theology, I just know it was real. God intervened—and I was healed.
That was the first time I can remember—there have been more.
Like the time the pain wasn’t physical but emotional. I was embarrassed and ashamed. Dad prayed a simple prayer. And I never wet the bed again.
No fancy words. I just know it was real. God intervened and I was free.
And then, the blizzard of ’76 sent my snowmobile sailing through the air and me to the hospital. A concussion and broken collar bone later it was said I should have been dead.
Oh and there’s the Oklahoma rodeo, I thought would take my head.
And the snow storm where the power went out, the furnace wouldn’t light, the phone lines were down and the drifts were high. Miles of nothing surrounded the drafty old farm house. The temperatures plummeted below zero. The house turned cold and we were freezing. I knelt in the cold dark basement next to a cold oil burning furnace. With no idea what to do, almost audible I heard the words.
“Lay your hands on it.”
I thought it was crazy. Maybe I was freezing to death, and my mind was playing tricks. But, what did I have to lose?
I stretched out shivering fingers and touched the cold dead furnace. A rumbling sounded, like a hundred bowling balls rolling, slow. I jerked my hand back, startled. But then I reached out again…and felt the warmth of the most beautiful blaze.
I could go on and would if time would allow. I’d tell you about the time my toddler, Travis fell off the top of the slide, a split second after I had whispered a prayer of protection. He cried so hard, but not because he was hurt—because he spilled his cup of soda. And I could tell you how a drunk bumped us from behind as we traveled about fifty miles an hour down a dark icy freeway. He spiraled out of control and sent several cars into the ditch. We fishtailed like through an icy maze, but managed to stay between the ditches. Was it simply good driving or did Jesus take the wheel?
You, too, could list near misses; moments that could have turned out so wrong, but ended up all-right.
But everything is nothing, compared to what I really want to share.
The ultimate experience is when someone steps in front of a bullet that was meant for you.
I knew better but I did it anyway. I’d gone where I shouldn’t have gone. I’d done what I shouldn’t have done. I’d said what I shouldn’t have said and thought what I shouldn’t have thought. I know this. I had it coming. But He took my place. He stood in the gap and paid the price.
On an old rugged tree my Savior died for me and by His grace I’ve been saved from hell for eternity.
He took the bullet for me…for you.