I know that I’ve already talked a lot about May 3rd, 2012. You’ve probably heard me call it “the day I can’t remember but the one I will never forget.” It’s the day that changed my life forever. It’s the day I was in a near-fatal car accident and suffered a severe traumatic brain injury.
But about a year later, there was another day when the same thing happened. This time, though, I wasn’t involved in a car accident. I didn’t almost die. I didn’t sustain another brain injury. It wasn’t anything like that! But I still feel like I need to tell you about it! But if I’m going to tell you about the second day that changed my life, I think I should start from the very beginning, or at least try to go back as far as I can remember.
So from my earliest recollections of being in the hospital, I remember hearing over and over again from my doctors, nurses, and therapist that people who suffer a brain injury have to find what they call their “new normal.” And because my brain injury was so severe, I was told there was no chance of me going back to who I was before.
However, for the first several months, I shocked nearly everyone with my unexpected, unexplainable, and rather quick recovery. This led me to believe that my brain injury wasn’t nearly as bad as my doctors had suggested and that I’d be back to my old self, my old normal, in no time at all.
But it wouldn’t be long until my recovery slowed down to a proverbial crawl and it became worryingly and disappointedly clear to me that this simply wasn't going to happen. The permanence and long-standing effects of my brain injury became undeniable and I realized my doctors had been right all along. I was never going to be normal again!
I felt overwhelmed when I came to this conclusion. I started to constantly wonder about me and my family’s future and didn’t know what that was going to look like. This is also when I started having a lot of questions for God about why all this was happening. I just couldn’t understand what he was doing. I had no idea what he was up to and couldn’t figure out what he had planned.
Now, do you remember the second life changing day I alluded to at the beginning? Well, it took place during this difficult time, during this time of confusion, doubt, fear, and frustration. It happened in Dallas, TX at a RightNow Media conference, which I had begrudgingly agreed to go to with my wife. It was where I heard a speaker read the words from a single, simple verse, changing the trajectory of my life, once again!
“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.
Now, this wasn't an unfamiliar verse to me. It was one I'd heard plenty of times before but this time something was very different. It affected me in a way it never had previously. Every time I heard this verse in the past, I'd be thinking, “Man, I'd hate to be one of those lukewarm guys spit out by God!" But that day I said to myself, "I think I’m actually one of them!”
You see, I had always "tried" my very best to make my faith an important part of who I was. I never strayed too far from the church or God and most people thought of me as being a “good Christian." But I had an awakening that day and realized how “lukewarm” I truly was. I started to understand how confused I’d been about what it meant to be a Christian, or what it was supposed to look like to follow Jesus. I’d been following an “inverted gospel.” I claimed to be following Jesus, but in reality, I’d just invited him to follow me. I’d always focused on not doing certain things so God wouldn’t punish me and conveniently ignored what he actually wanted me to do. I certainly wanted to go to heaven after I died but I was not aware that Jesus followers were called and empowered to bring a little bit of heaven down here right now. I had heard of the Holy Spirit before but really had no clue who he was, that he was actually real and not just some vague “idea,” and the miraculous power he can bring to your life. (Note: The list of things I’m learning just keeps growing!)
But when I heard those words from Revelation, it was like God was speaking directly to me. I suddenly became aware, and convicted, of my own "lukewarmness.” This would light a fire inside of me that I’d never experienced before. I wanted to learn more about who Jesus truly was and what a life completely surrendered to him was actually supposed to look like. I felt like I’d been given a second chance to leave behind my lukewarm ways and to live a life completely for God, the only kind he deserves and the kind I should have been living all along.
My whole escape from “lukewarmness” was not a single, instantaneous event. It has been a journey, a journey where I keep on learning more and more everyday. It’s one that continues to this day, and one I don’t expect ever to end. And the other thing is I had nothing to do with it. I didn’t see it coming. I didn’t ask God to change me. He just did it. He made it happen.
I’m not sure where you are right now or if any of what I said about being “lukewarm” resonated with you. But I imagine that a few of you might be able to somewhat relate. And if that’s the case, I hope you know that God loves you, he forgives you, he’s just waiting for you to surrender everything to him, and he can change you, too!