It might have taken 20 long years of schooling, with all those years being in my home state of Indiana, but after graduating from the IU School of Medicine in May 2003, I had finally reached my goal of becoming a doctor. However, at this point in my life, I decided it was time for a change of scenery so I moved to Bristol, Tennessee with my newly married wife, Jacqui, to start my three-year family practice residency. When I finished up my residency program, we (myself, Jacqui, and our newborn son, Jayse) moved back to my wife's hometown of Demotte, IN to begin my career as a family doctor and to start our new lives together. It really felt like we were living the “American Dream” and things were going just as we’d hoped and planned.
Throughout all this, I "tried" my very best to make my Christian faith an important part of who I was. I never strayed too far from it and most people thought of me as being a “good Christian." But after some personal reflection over the past few years, I am not so confident of their assessment. I was confused about what it actually meant to be a Christian, or what a follower of Christ was supposed to look like. I was following what I've heard referred to as the “inverted gospel.” You see, I claimed to be following Jesus, but I had really just invited him to follow me. I didn’t come to this much needed realization without some "divine" intervention.
On May 3rd, 2012, I miraculously survived a near-fatal car accident when my truck was struck by another truck that failed to stop at a 4-way flashing red stop light near our home. My vehicle was then pushed into and wrapped around a concrete pole. This second impact was where I suffered a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) when my head hit the aforementioned utility pole.
For the first few months following my brain injury, I surprised my doctors and everyone else by recovering very quickly, leading me to have the expectation that this would continue and I'd be back to my pre-accident self in no time. But as my recovery started to slow down, it became clear to me that this wasn't happening. I was going to be different. The permanence and longstanding effects of my brain injury were starting to become undeniable, causing me to feel overwhelmed and unsure of the future. I was also beginning to question God about why this all was happening.
It was during this period of doubt, fear, and frustration that I begrudgingly and unenthusiastically went with Jacqui to a RightNow Media conference in Dallas, TX. Despite the negative attitude I had when going there, I heard something from a speaker at this conference that truly changed my life.
“I know your deeds, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm-neither hot nor cold-I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” Revelation 3: 15-16.
This wasn't an unfamiliar verse to me. It was one I'd heard plenty of times before but this time something was different. You see, in the past, I'd always be thinking, “Man, I'd hate to be one of those lukewarm guys." But now I'm sitting there saying to myself, "I think that verse is talking about me! I think I'm one of the lukewarm!"
Now, I'd heard of people having a moment in their life where God speaks directly to them and they're forever changed, but that had certainly never happened to me. However, when I heard that verse that day, I suddenly became aware of my own "lukewarmness" and I knew that God was giving me an undeserved, but unbelievable, second chance to live differently, to completely surrender my life to him.
That day I was changed. I pray I'm never the same.