November 20, 2017

The Most Significant Moment In My Spiritual Journey

ArmyReserves18Yup, that’s me. The summer of 1981. The photos were taken on the front lawn of my house in Peterborough, Ontario. I think more than a few laws were broken to take the picture on the left! The pictures represent the culmination of a story, a story of how I ultimately came to trust God. The recent posts about life in the military brought some memories flooding back. What happened to me while in the military has been without question the series of events that led to my most significant spiritual moment.

the_wordless_bookAll stories have a beginning, and there have been many other significant spiritual moments. It was on that same lawn at age five, that a worker with Child Evangelism Fellowship, told us the story of the wordless book. Although I never told her, I decided at that moment that I wanted what she had, and I prayed along with her to “receive Jesus into my heart.”

When I was eleven, our family rented our house out to friends, and moved to Zimbabwe for over three years. When I was thirteen, a Missionary and writer named Les Rainey was preaching his last sermon in our church before returning to North America after decades of service. He challenged the young people to make a deeper commitment to Christ. I realized that I did need to make a deeper commitment. Several weeks later I was baptized, and participated in communion for the first time.

A year later I had another significant spiritual moment when attending a Youth For Christ camp in South Africa. At an all night prayer meeting I experienced the Holy Spirit visibly moving for the first time. I commented on this in an earlier post that this event was one of the factors in becoming a “quiet” charismatic.

However, by far the most significant moment for me occurred after I joined the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves. When I was seventeen, and living back in Canada, an announcement came over our school intercom that the Militia was hosting a job information session at lunch. I went to see what was going on. It sounded interesting, and so, with the permission of my parents, I applied and was accepted.

regimentThe unit that I joined was the Hastings Prince Edward Regiment. The Regiment had a storied background. In World War II then won more battle honors than any other regiment. These war stories, are recounted in two books by Farley Mowat, “The Regiment”, and “No Birds Sang”. Mr. Mowat served with the Regiment as an Intelligence Officer and Platoon Commander. I went in with high expectations but soon had a rude awakening.

The two people who led my basic training seemed to have the evening goal of getting as drunk as the possibly could. One evening I saw them fill a table with sixty empty beer bottles, consumed by just the two of them. It was followed by a trip to the hospital the next morning to treat the alcohol poisoning. I started to drink heavily as well. The thought that was communicated at the time was that if you were old enough to die for your country you were old enough to drink. So drink I did: Up to fifteen drinks a night. Things were bad in other ways as well. I cannot come up with adjectives that describe the absolute moral deprivation of the marching songs they taught us. If it had been 2015 they would have gone to jail for expressing the vile hatred of those songs. Songs that are forever burned into my brain. As an impressionable seventeen year old I went right along with all of it.

From their perspective I excelled. I finished third in my basic training. The following year I was invited to join Canadian Peacekeepers for a year in Cyprus. I declined as it would have delayed the start of my University. Instead I was sent on a Small Arms Coaching Course, where I would learn to teach others how to use the FNC1 Rifle, the Sterling Sub-machine gun (pictured at top) and the Browning 9 mm Pistol. To graduate from the course we had to get a score of 52 out of 80 in a shooting competition for each of the three weapons. (63 out of 80 would qualify you for sniper courses.) When it came to the Pistol competition I shot a 76, an unbelievable score! I was recruited to join the Militia’s Ontario team and was paid for the next several weeks to shoot at targets. I ended up making the team for both Pistol and Sub machine gun, and ended up doing very well at the Armed Forces National Championships, shooting against members of the regular forces, the British Army Rifle and Pistol Team, and several large Police Force teams.

All this time I was still drinking very heavily. I had a drinking buddy Dan, who I would go out with, get smashed, and then come back to barracks and pass out, and do it all over again the next night. Drinks were a dollar apiece, so it just consumed (no put intended) a small portion of our salary. One weekend we were on a military exercise in Fort Drum, New York, when Dan and I went out to drink one evening. We each had several drinks, and shared a bottle of “Grape Wine” I had had enough and decided to turn in for the evening. Dan continued to stay out drinking. I don’t know what went on in the next hours, but when Dan came back to barracks he was clearly out of his mind. First he was ranting along the lines of “I have sinned against Sodom and Gomorrah… I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” Suddenly he yelled out “Open the gates of Heaven Lord, here I come!”. He opened a window and went to jump. I had to physically restrain him until help arrived.

That night I said to myself. “Alright, enough is enough, I have to stop drinking.” A few days later I was drinking heavily again. I tried again with the same results. And again.

I was getting desperate, and in my desperation I finally prayed. “Okay God, I think you are out there. I am supposed to be a Christian and I am supposed to believe in you. I have this problem that I can’t deal with by myself. I need you to take care of it for me.”

I have been sober ever since.

That was the moment in which I believe that I truly put my trust in God. The moment at which God became more than just an abstract figure. It is also my most significant spiritual moment, because there have been many times in the past 33 years where I have had other moments when trust was needed. In each of those cases I have been able to look back on that moment and say, “God handled that problem, he can handle this one.”

As usual, your thoughts and comments are welcome. I would also love to hear the stories about some of your significant spiritual moments.

Comments

  1. Peterborough.
    Wow.
    I was a reporter at CHEX for awhile.
    Our News Director was a Christian also.
    I don’t recall having any significant spiritual moments in Peterborough, what I do remember is working hard.:^)

  2. flatrocker says:

    Mike,
    I lovre to read about the unfolding story of your life. It is real. Thank you for your vulnerability.

    (although, as I read today’s post, I kept expecting you to talk about being a ping-pong champion and moving to Louisiana to captain a shrimp boat with your friend Dan. I guess the drinking must have gotten in the way.)

  3. What became of Dan?

    • He left the military shortly after this incident. I tried to make contact a couple years later, but never succeeded. I tried once to find him on facebook, but did not succeed.

  4. Where is Steve, on vacation? I expected today to bring a comment or two. Miss you Steve.

    • Thanks, Hanni!

      I dunno. Reading and contemplating, lately. But for some reason I don’t feel like chiming in.

      (and the crowd roars with approval…) : )

  5. Great story, thank you for sharing.

    I don’t want to detract from it, and I think you know where I’m coming from, but I have to ask: I have been sober ever since.…what if that moment never comes for someone?

    • StuartB, this way my God moment. Many people will have similar moments. I certainly do not expect it to be normative.

    • David Cornwell says:

      StuartB, I do not presume to give the answer Michael Bell might give to this question. However one should never give up hope. One thing we can be sure of, addiction to any substance is not the will of God. Our pastor, during the pastoral prayer each Sunday, almost always prays for those who struggle with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. When I attend church I know for certain that there are those in the pews, close at hand, who are suffering deeply — along with their families. There is hope, and there is healing.

      Michael Bell, this is an amazing story. Thanks for sharing it.

      • addiction to any substance is not the will of God

        Going to lightly, in good nature, push back and ask for proof. Many things people call addictions really aren’t. Although I’ve heard a sermon or two about coffee being our master, but that’s more often than not the pastor wanting us to give up our Starbucks once a week so he can have it instead.

        • “push back and ask for proof” [of Addiction or its relation to “God’s will”?]

          If Addiction then the issue is more complex than that. There are various forms of addiction from behavioural to chemical dependency, and some people are more prone to addiction to different substances in different ways then others. Addition is a very real issue, but one subject to frequent gross simplification – but in any case it certainly marshals suffering.

          I don’t know if Addiction is or is not “the will of God”. I never speak concerning “the will of God”; “”the will of God” is little more than a trope as far as I am concerned. . However Addiction usually brings in unconsidered/unreflective behaviour, which is bad. That is all the further I need to go to have Addiction be a bad thing and a substantive issue.

          “the pastor wanting us to give up our Starbucks once a week”

          Only once a week?!?! Still seems to me like a pretty good example of reflecting on day-to-day life in the context of declared values. Continue to drink your Starbucks or not – it is a valid thing to question. A starbucks a week is ~$250 a year.

          • David Cornwell says:

            “”the will of God” is little more than a trope as far as I am concerned. ”

            For certain “the will of God” can be a minefield and probably should be avoided without an understanding of shared definitions. Which without shared theological understandings can never happen. And which is one of the reasons I do not like theology!

            But when discussing a serious addiction with a person who is suffering, it’s difficult for me to tell him that this is God’s will. This person probably cares less about any theology.

          • “This person probably cares less about any theology.”

            We agree.

        • David Cornwell says:

          StuartB, I agree with you. I’m speaking about dangerous chemical addictions such as drugs and alcohol. And some heavy drinkers may not fit the definition of addiction. Labels can sometimes be harmful. But a person can end up dead nevertheless, because of behavior.

          I have a friend who just turned 50 who has, to this point, been unable to cope with what drinking has done to him. He has served a lot of time in jail, lost his driving privileges, and been unable to hold jobs. He goes to AA, attends my church part of the time, and is a very caring, loving, sane person when he is not drinking. I worry about him, pray for him, talk to him (not preach). I think I know what must happen for change to come. But this isn’t something that can be handed to him by any person.

          Hope I’m not way off the track here.

        • Coffee is absolutely my Master, and we shall spend our entire vacation in Stockholm this year!!!

    • “What if that moment never comes?”

      That moment never comes for a lot of people. Even Christians. The beauty and awesomeness of Jesus Christ is that even as we still wallow around in the muck, he loves us, forgives us, and can still cleanse us.

      • “even as we still wallow around in the muck, he loves us”

        And those who have to live adjacent to that wallowing life utter a fatigued and deflated: “oh,.. yay”.

        “and can still cleanse us”

        Which is not to say holy expeditiousness is not appreciated

        • -> “And those who have to live adjacent to that wallowing…utter a fatigued and deflated, ‘oh…yay.'”

          Indeed. A few years ago our church tried to help a homeless family through some tough times. After a MANY months (over a year, possibly) of time, energy and money, those of us who tried to help the most became utterly fatigued and deflated by the fact nothing was changing. When we all compared notes, it became clear that their homeless problem wouldn’t resolve until the husband/father made some changes. (For example, we tired of buying birthday/Christmas gifts for the two kids while watching the dad buy himself packs and packs of cigarettes a week. Nothing against smoking, but when you’re asking me to buy toys for your kids while you spend $50 for YOUR cigarettes…well, the time will come where that ain’t gonna work anymore.)

          There were many, many things we tried to work through with this family that kept getting undermined by the father/husband’s poor behavior. We ended up drawing a line and saying, “If you don’t seek help for this and take steps to change, we’re done.” None of us liked it because kids and a wife/mother were involved, but…man o man, there reached a point when all of us had had enough with him.

          Coincidentally, it was about that time when a change occurred OUTSIDE the father/husband that removed the family from our midst, but I imaged he/they are still struggling.

          • I hear and feel your frustrations! I have been there many times.
            I have learned in the last 10 years of working with recovery people to just try and love them where they are, how they are. I try to wait on God to change them His way, in His time…. I pray for them and help when I can. Sometimes it’s with money or food. Sometimes it’s a ride but very often it is just listening to them and remind them of recovery principles or the promises of God. …Not always easy to do. Especially when it is my own children.
            I commend you and your church for trying to help these people for such a long time. Most people get frustrated and give up long before that.
            Also, I am very thankful that Jesus is so very patient with me in my weaknesses and stupidity. As He reminds me all the time “My grace is sufficient. My power works best in your weakness. For when I am weak then I sm strong”.

          • Heather, several of us in the church learned A LOT through that year, like there’s such a thing as “toxic charity’ and “enabling.” If there hadn’t been a wife/mother and two kids in the picture, we probably would have given up earlier. There was a huge spiritual element that we brought into the whole thing that we hope some of it “stuck.” Yes, God’s grace is sufficient.

          • How would you feel about the church ‘facilitating’ a divorce in cases like this?

            Objectively speaking, this would apparently have been the best way to help the mother and her children.

    • God moment is good, but I guess I’m asking about the post-God moment deliverance or supernatural cleanup. It’s a common theme (Unshackled has thousands of them), and is often used as the watershed moment for many (“I wasn’t saved, then this happened, now I’m saved, here’s proof”)…but as often as you hear those stories, how common are they really?

      What if the person remains an alcoholic (full use, not recovering) and God/Holy Spirit doesn’t supernaturally clean them up in a heartbeat. I’ve heard some (not on IM) imply that if there isn’t a cleanup, the person isn’t really saved. Not sure how that all squares away. (especially if trolls trot out the “such *were* some of you” verses)

      • “as often as you hear those stories, how common are they really? ”

        How commonly are the stories one does hear even True?

        Aside: I believe Mr. Bells retelling of his experience.

        “Not sure how that all squares away.”

        It can get ugly.

      • Christiane says:

        so someone tries to overcome a burden of addiction and reaches out to Christ, but falls again, and again, but still reaches out for help? . . . and some say this is proof that the person ‘is not saved’ ?
        Nonsense. Why? Because the long-suffering person continues to reach out to Christ for help
        and it is said in the Church that the waters of life will mercifully cover all who seek them.

  6. My God moment takes a lot of words to unfold. Michael, please feel free to edit for space if needed.
    My father was a southern Baptist preacher, so I grew up with that child-like view of God. It was easy for me to envision the stories from the bible, and the image of God as seen through the sermons from my father.
    When I realized as a young adult that I was gay, I felt I had a decision to make. I had been taught that gay was an “abomination”, which sounded akin to a plague in language, and I couldn’t be Christian AND gay. I “chose” gay. My first relationship last 7 years, and when it ended, it ended badly. We both drank too much, made really bad decisions during those drunken moments, and that was that. I moved to MS to live with my parents, went to church each week as required when living in the preacher’s house, and sunk into the deepest, darkest depression of my life. I tried to get the relationship back, going back to where my ex lived every other weekend. She moved on and found a new girlfriend and my heart broke into pieces.
    One weekend I said goodbye to my parents for what I considered to be the last time. I was going to kill myself that weekend by driving my car off a mountain. It was settled in my mind. I went back to the place where I lost my love and my joy to mourn it one last time, and I found my ex there. She showed me kindness and forgave my infidelity. That moved me from the edge enough that I drove back to MS on Sunday instead of off that mountain. When I got there I realized it was revival time. Mom’s favorite evangelist singer, Lois Jane, was the musical guest for the week. When I saw her I perked up, She was adorable! So pretty and sweet and kind. We connected that week. Her sound engineer/ driver was a woman who looked like me…butch. She was married and travelled with Lois Jane in an RV.(LJ’s husband had died years earlier from cancer.) I became friends with this sound engineer, as sound was a passion of mine, and when they left we became pen pals, writing up to 10 pages per letter at times. She told me later that when she and LJ were driving home, LJ told her to expect to hear from me, and don’t be surprised to hear that I’m gay. That week of revival changed my life forever. God snatched me from the depths, and he did it by bringing to me the prettiest, shiniest servant in His ranks. She was, and is my equivalent to a Billy Graham type Christian, which is the highest praise I can give. She will be in ministry until she dies, and there will never be a scandal involving her. Her heart for God is the truest I know.
    I’m realizing how lengthy this story is and will make an attempt to wrap it up quickly.
    I moved to TN to live with the sound engineer and her husband for a while, became great friends with LJ in the process. I tried my best to go straight. I changed my appearance, started hanging out with straight men with the mindset of dating. I always felt like I was dressed in drag and pretending, but I had hope that it would begin to feel natural at some point. I gave it 2 years. It didn’t work.
    One day LJ told me she had been in her prayer room that morning praying down her list, and when she got to my name God told her to remove me, HE will take it from her. She saw it as a warning sign of some sort, but in my heart I knew what God was saying. She wasn’t really ready to accept all that was coming for me, and God knew that. LJ didn’t know I had spoken to a gay preacher I had just met, had spent hours with him in private talking about the bible and what it says about gays. God was telling me in many ways that I was knitted in my mothers womb by Him, that I was wonderfully made. He brought me into the light and put me on solid ground. I met the love of my life a few years later, and we have been together 12 years this past December.
    I will never get over the grace of God on my life, and His unconditional, fierce love for me.

    • Amen. We often find hope and life and God in people we’d never expect or told never to expect. There’s always that one in a million, and they are the greatest gift and grace from God ever.

    • Thanks for sharing your story, Debra. Great testimony.

  7. Thank you for posting, Debra. I will just agree with StuartB, as your story is so powerful, it has left me at a loss for words.

    We all need to hear more from our lgbtq brothers and sisters, and i can’t imaginenhow painful it must be for many to try and be heard, knowing that there’s such a risk involved. That people will close their minds and hesrts, try to silence them and fworse.

  8. I’m glad for you Mike that God took away your desire to drink. He fairly did the same thing for my husband who was an alcoholic for 20 years. He now has 6 years clean and sober. At the same time, I cry for my friends who still struggle with addiction. It is such a hard fight, and a lot of times seems unfair. Personally I think their are many addictions, some of them are just more accepted than others. (Gambling, food, shopping/spending money, sex, relationship, perfectionist, hoarding). It helps me to have compassion for those who struggle with drugs/alcohol addictions when I remember my own. Mine is just easier to hide and cover up.
    Thanks for sharing your story, I find it offers some hope.
    H

    • Hi Heather,

      One reason why I never gamble for money. I am deathly afraid I would become a problem gambler.

      I find I can now enjoy a drink. But I only have 1 or 2 a year!

  9. Wow Mike thanks for sharing your testimony. A landmark for me was several years ago I attended our denomination’s districts men’s conference. I was in a good place. It was not one of those years where I went because I really needed to hear from God. At the last session the Pastor who was speaking asked us all to turn around and kneel down at our chairs. I had never been a big on kneeling but out of obedience I did. I then felt an incredible presence of the Holy Spirit and started to cry uncontrollably. It seemed like all my stomach muscles were contracting in response. I asked God what was that I was feeling what was going on. I then believe he spoke to me that I was feeling the groaning of of the lost of my community. Their spirits’ are crying out to be redeemed by God and they don’t even know it. I know this may sound weird to some but my passion for the lost has grown immensely since that event.

  10. I’ve met Les Rainey on a few occasions. Heck of a guy. Oh those shared Plymouth Brethren roots!

    • In Zimbabwe he lived 4 houses down from me. I have a memory of him going to the bus stop and offering rides out to the townships when he was on the way there, and having 8 Africans piling into his car!

  11. Joseph (the original) says:

    The automobile accident and its aftermath:

    This was my epiphany when I was 20 years old after an amazing automobile accident. I was the back seat passenger of the car my good friend backed off a mountain cliff September 7th, 1974…

    Nope…my life did not ‘flash’ before my eyes as we slowly rolled off the turnout that had no guardrail. The actual events of how that accident happened were never replayed for me via divine/angelic video feed. However, about 2 months later after being out of the hospital Jesus invaded or became ‘present’ in my consciousness (my best effort to explain this). I was off any strong medications since being out of the hospital. My left leg was in a cast with a steel rod from knee-to-hip (it’s still there). It was late morning (no drowsy half-dream influences) and I lay awake stumped by the details of my survival and started going over the possible scenarios in my mind, but was always baffled by the obvious violation of the laws of physics as I understood them. I was in this state of mental frustration once again, when He ‘entered'(?) or invaded, or became manifest in my mind. It was like my consciousness literally retreated at His appearing; it was as if my mind bowed down and ceased its futile considerations. He ‘spoke’ (about as close to an audible voice as I have ever experienced): “I AM responsible for the results of the accident…” (sans video replay). That was it! I had my answer! He satisfied my curiosity even without revealing the details. He revealed the source. I think I laughed out loud…and smiled, a lot. I was so aware of His providence (good theological definition). After a few minutes of joy and giddiness, He spoke (hard to define here–mental telepathy?) again: “You can go back to the way you were (came?), or come, follow Me.” Yeah. That was the easiest decision I ever made, but it was also the most challenging one as I have discovered after 40 years of fits and starts, stumbles and many, many questions, still unanswered.

    More details about the accident itself will be posted if anyone is truly interested…

    Saude!

    • Well, the “…baffled by the obvious violation of the laws of physics…” is certainly intriguing! Can you share some of the details?

      • +1

        • Joseph (the original) says:

          (cont’d)

          As the car rolled off the edge of the turnout (in reverse) and slowly tipped downward, the left rear wheel the first to go over the edge, I braced myself in the backseat without seat belts and the vinyl covering caused me to slip down to the opposite back door. I remember mostly the smells. Yeah. Imprinted like an olfactory tattoo in my memory. Sequences did actually happen in slow motion (a very odd experience). Right before I hit the back door I was sliding toward, I blacked out…or I simply don’t have this recollection…

          Anyway, not too long after that (minutes?) I woke up. Strangely though, I was laying down flat on my back underneath Russ’ car (1962 blue Chevy II). Yup. My legs draped over a fallen log that fell across the dry stream bed both I and the car ended up landing on. The car was upright with its rear wheels resting on that very same log. The rear suspension had come down and snapped my left femur; a clean break too. When I saw the x-rays later in the hospital I was amazed at the perfectly squared ends of the bone; not crushed. No splinters, it was a clean snap…

          I woke up staring at a hot muffler (it had rusted holes in it). And the gas tank was ruptured, dripping gas down on my right shoe. I never have experienced a level of claustrophobia as I did when I came to my senses enough to recognize what had happened. I was temporarily paralyzed from the waist down. I attempted to get up 3 times and each time I burned my right arm on the hot muffler, but felt no pain. After the 3rd try I smelled the burnt flesh and realized I had to stop rubbing up against it…

          I was not pinned beneath the car, but my left leg was in a space too tight to wiggle free of. And my left foot strangely pointing toward my right as the knee was bent and the bottom part of the leg where it was broken was twisted to the right. It looked very, very bad, but I didn’t feel any pain or fear or panic about that…but I simply had to get out from underneath the car!

          Eventually I had my friend take off my left shoe and I rotated my lower left leg to its correct alignment (felt very strange, but then again I was in shock) and was able to pull my upper body out from under the right side of the car.

          Still interested in other details?

          • Are you kidding me? Yes, more, more! Fascinating stuff!

          • Joseph (the original) says:

            (cont’d)

            As you can determine, I was very perplexed about how I ended up underneath the car that had just tumbled off a mountain cliff. If you were to go back to the actual site (the road to Ward Lake and Florence Lake, California) you would wonder also how I avoided the huge granite boulders on the upper half of the very steep incline we backed off, then there was the extensive manzanita thicket on the bottom half of a drive stream bed with this very old fallen tree both the car and me ended up on. To this day I cannot figure out how I got thrown out of the car at just the right moment to land on my back with my legs draped over the log before the car ended up resting upright on top of me…

            There were 3 of us in the car: the driver went through the windshield as the car rolled off during its second tumble, hit the boulder on the back right side, tipped over and hit the lower boulder at the right front side. Russ said the windshield shattered in thousands of pieces in spectacular slow motion. Bruce, riding shotgun stayed in the car all the way down. He said he was tossed from the front seat to back seat a few times during the tumble down. He claimed he didn’t remember me being in the car with him during its tumble to the bottom. He ended up sitting in the middle of the front (bench) seat with a sprained wrist (no kidding). He was the one that was able to help both Russ and myself and flag down help too.

            Unable to go back up the way we fell, Bruce had to follow the dry stream bed to where the stream and road eventually merged close enough to flag down any cars. It was about 1/4 mile and the first car he flagged down said they would keep driving back the way we came to the Ranger Station to report the accident. The next car he flagged down happened to have a passenger that was a nurse! Yeah. Her name was Mary. She was the one the assessed the situation with Russ and my condition, knew I was in shock, kept talking to me to make sure while she tended to Russ.

            Russ compressed a vertebra in his back when he was ejected over the steering wheel out of the car. There was no windshield to smash through as it had already been shattered. He landed laying down parallel to the same fallen log on a bed of decayed wood. There was a broken branch stump about 12″ to the right of his head, and a big rock right to the left. It was as if he was positioned there deliberately…

            He was the most in pain because he was not in shock like I was. As you can see, the results of the accident seem to defy logic. Since the 3 of us survived the event, but cannot clearly recount the exact chronological order of what actually happened and its sequence, I cannot to this day claim that it was mere happenstance, nor can I claim that real angelic intervention occurred. What I do know is that my life was preserved…

            I was in the hospital for about 3 weeks, in traction, waiting for the wound behind my left knee to heal sufficiently for the orthopedic surgery. When the car’s rear axle snapped my leg, the force literally scrapped all the skin off the back of my knew. It’s all scar tissue now with no nerve sensation. I have the scar on my upper left thigh where the axle hit my leg so hard it left a permanent impression in the skin. I have 3 burn scars on my lower right arm that represent the 3 attempts I made at sitting up under the hot muffler. There are bits and pieces of car ‘gunk’ embedded in my left elbow (scrapped all the skin off of it also). There are also scars on my forehead from the experience; not noticeable unless my hairline recedes some more. As I attempt to recount the experience I am reminded that really, I don’t know with certainty how it actually was orchestrated. My curiosity remains, but not in a nagging sense, but simply a puzzled wonderment. That episode was enough though to get my attention, consider life’s fragile condition, wonder about the details that to this day cannot be verified, and prepare me for a divine encounter of life changing proportions…

            Saude!

          • Thanks for sharing thw whole story. Wow! Amazing. I’ve known a few people with similar “how could it have happened this way” experiences and accidents. I have one of my own, but certainly not at that dramatic a scale.

            I also look at my own salvation story – all the little pieces and details of a puzzle that had to come together for me to hear Jesus and decide to follow Him. Much like the your story of “how could it have happened this way, except by some sort of hand”?

    • My Father-in-law’s God moment was something similar. An epileptic seizure while driving on a major multi-lane highway. No one saw the accident, but from the tire tracks (when the car wasn’t airborne) we determined that a couple inches either way and he would not of survived. As it was he walked a way with just a scratch. He came to faith several months later.

  12. Although I’ve had one, maybe two, compelling, visceral experiences of God’s presence with me, I’ve never had the kind of transforming experience of God moving in my life described in the post or some of the comments. But I’m glad others have had such experiences,and I’m glad they’re willing to talk about them, because they give me hope that things won’t always remain the way they are, that I won’t always remain the way I am, that my faults and habitual sins and personal dysfunction won’t have the last word; either now or maybe later, if not here then perhaps hereafter, things may indeed get better, I may indeed get better, and there is hope. This is a lifeline.

  13. I’m trying to figure out the type of gun you’re holding. Looks like a Sten, but I thought Canada phased out its use by the 60’s.

  14. Regarding God’s concern, or lack thereof, for the outcome of the Super Bowl: “Even though I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there…”