I had been happily married to my wonderful wife for 10 years.
I was the father of two young and healthy children.
I was a well-respected and successful small-town family doctor.
But then on May 3rd, 2012, my life suddenly and permanently changed, and I never even saw it coming!
I was driving back to my home in northwestern Indiana after picking up a couple items at the local hardware store when I was involved in a near-fatal car crash. From the scene of the accident, I was immediately taken by helicopter to a hospital in Chicago where I was diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
As is the case with people who suffer a TBI of any severity level, my prognosis was relatively unknown at first. But based on the sheer amount of damage done to my brain, the doctors were not very optimistic. They would often talk about how people who suffer a brain injury similar to mine would become a different person, that I’d need to find what is commonly referred to as a “new normal.”
But much to my doctor’s surprise, as well as most everyone else’s, I would start to improve in ways that they’d never anticipated. I would even go on to return to my medical practice in just five short months, something they initially thought was nearly impossible.
Now, I was beyond thankful for this unexpected and rather miraculous recovery. But it led me to carry the false belief that I’d be back to my old self in no time. I thought my doctors had been wrong in their initial predictions.
However, despite my best efforts at getting back to who I used to be, it simply didn’t happen. This was the time during my recovery when I began to more fully understand and grasp that my doctors had been right all along:
I was going to be different.
I would have to find a “new normal.”
When I finally started to feel the weight of my new reality, I became overwhelmed. I’d always been sure of what lied ahead but now it all seemed so unclear. I had no idea what my family and I’s future was going to look like.
All this uncertainty and confusion resulted in me becoming quite upset with God and frustratingly asking him all kinds of questions:
”God, why is all this happening to me?”
“What had I done to deserve this?”
“Hadn’t I been doing everything a good Christian’s supposed to do?”
“What are you trying to teach me and wasn’t there an easier way to do it than this?
It was during this difficult time, one where I was struggling and wrestling with all these unanswered questions, that I begrudgingly agreed to join my wife at a “church” conference in Dallas, TX.
As we were preparing to go, I remember thinking to myself,
“Why do I need to go to a “church” conference?
“I already know everything there is to know about my Christian faith.”
“How much more could there possibly be for me to learn about God and Jesus?”
Despite my negative attitude and lack of enthusiasm when going to this conference, I heard a Bible verse from one its speakers that I’m now certain was the reason I’d went!
“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 different! I heard it in a brand new way! You see, in the past, I'd always be thinking, “Man, I'd hate to be one of the lukewarm." But this time I felt like, “That verse is talking about me! I'm one of them!"
I will never forget how I felt at that moment. It was what you might call a “spiritual awakening,” an awakening that I didn’t ask for and one I didn’t even know I needed at the time.
I realized that God hadn’t saved my life just so I could go back to being the same person I was before. It was like God was just waiting for me to give up and to start letting him rewrite my story. He was giving me a second chance to live out my faith differently. He was offering me an opportunity to leave behind my lukewarm ways and to completely surrender my whole life to him. He was telling me to stop trying so hard to earn my way to heaven or to earn his love but to instead trust and depend on what Jesus had already done for me.
*** Jeff’s new book is now available to purchase at www.jeffhuxford.com/bookstore!