I grew up in the small, rural farming town of Rosedale, INdiana. After high school, college, and then med school, I got married and we moved to east Tennessee (Bristol) to start my family practice residency.
After finishing up training in Bristol, I, along with my wife and then four month old son, moved back to Jacqui's hometown in NW Indiana to begin my medical career and to start our lives. It felt like I was living the “American Dream” and things seemed to be going “my way, our way” just as we’d planned!
God and his church were an important part of my life this entire time. I never strayed too far from either of them and most people who knew me considered me to be a “good Christian." But after some reflection over the past few years, I am not so confident of their, or at the time my own, assessment.
I was confused about what being a Christian was supposed to look like and I’m pretty sure I’d been following the “inverted gospel.” I claimed to be following Jesus, but I had really just invited him to follow me.
I didn’t come to this realization without an intervention from God. On May 3rd, 2012, I was involved in a horrible car accident where I nearly died. God saved my life that day and then went on to orchestrate a miraculous recovery, the kind only he is capable of. My most significant injury from that day was a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) caused by my head striking a concrete utility pole.
For the first few months following my accident, I recovered quickly. I had the expectation this would continue, and I would soon be back to my pre-accident self. But this didn’t happen and I wasn’t sure how to handle it.
I would so often hear from others they were so glad I was back to “100%.” But I knew that I wasn’t.
When the reality of the permanence and longstanding effects of my brain injury began to sink in, I was feeling overwhelmed and unsure for my/our future. I also had some serious questions for God about why this all had to happen.
It was sometime around this period of doubt and fear when I "begrudgingly" went to a "church" conference with my wife. While there, I heard a talk that changed my heart and my life. I can’t remember who spoke or what the topic of their speech was, but I'll never forget the passage they referenced.
“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.”
Rev. 3:15-16 (NIV)
This was a verse I'd heard before. And when I heard it, I'd be thinking to myself, “Man, I would hate to be one of those guys.” But now I’m sitting there thinking, I think its talking about me!
Now, I'd always heard of people having a moment in their life where God speaks directly to them and they're instantly changed. That had never happened to me. At least not until this day!
I knew God was speaking a truth in to my life that I needed to hear and giving me a wake up call that I so badly needed. I realized at that moment my life hadn’t been spared because of my good deeds or because I deserved it, but it was only because of God’s amazing grace and unbelievable love.
I realized God was in control of all that was going on and he had a plan. This is something I'll be forever thankful for because his was much greater than anything I could've ever came up with on my own.