We had another “God Sighting” this past week here in Libby, Montana. Caleb, a senior in Libby High School and the son of some Christian friends of ours, sustained a serious neck injury during shop class and began bleeding profusely as the result of a lodged metal fragment. Some classmates, who had been trained in first aid, gave him immediate assistance by applying direct pressure to the wound and holding him down, keeping him talking and responsive until medical help could arrive. The amazing part of the story is that at the school that very moment were some policemen and paramedics who were there to put on a demonstration of the dangers of drinking and driving. One paramedic, who wasn’t initially going to be part of the program, had just returned from a training session on neck injuries! She was not only at the school at the time of the accident, but had an ambulance available to her and, after initial medical treatment, Caleb was transported to our local hospital where a team of doctors was able to stitch up Caleb’s wound, excited that they had “dodged a bullet!”
But then, as they took Caleb off the ventilator, he coughed and there was blood. They knew that there had to be some internal bleeding that they had not been able to detect and decided to air-flight him to Spokane, where a surgeon, without having to crack his chest (as they initially expected would have to take place) was able to find the bleeder and repair it. This all happened last Wednesday morning, May 3rd, and Caleb went back to school today (Monday, May 9th)! He will be awhile healing, and won’t be able to compete in track where he was having a fantastic season, but, Praise God, he is still here. God is not finished with him yet, and I’m sure has special plans for his life.
Could God have prevented this accident from happening. Sure! God is sovereign and all-powerful. When the Lord told Abraham that despite their old age, he and his wife would have a child, his wife laughed but “the LORD said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?’ ‘Is anything too difficult for the LORD?'” (Gen. 18:13,14). God is able to do whatever He purposes to do. In speaking to Isaiah, God said, “My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure…Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it” (Isa. 46:10,11). Yes, God could have prevented Caleb’s serious, life-threatening injury. It wasn’t His purpose to do so, but what He did do, was have policemen and an Advanced Life Support worker on the scene when it happened. Had she not been there he may not have made it until medical help arrived. And the fact that the paramedic had just returned from a course on treating neck injuries. Coincidence? From man’s viewpoint, possibly, by not from the Christian’s perspective. There are no “happenstances.” God is in control and has things worked out well in advance to carry out His purpose. I’m reminded of what the Psalmist wrote in Psa. 46:1,2: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear….” There are times that God will send His guardian angels to protect us from harm, and other times He sets up a “support team” to minister to us during our times of trial. It’s His call, but He is always there. He wastes nothing. It is all “His Story!”
On Feb. 22, 1982, our family was returning from a mid-week Bible study at church when an oncoming car skidded on the ice and we collided. Though the woman and her pregnant daughter in that car flew threw the air and landed upside down by the railroad track, they escaped unharmed! My wife and I and our two children suffered some non-life-threatening injuries and our car was demolished. Could God have prevented the accident? Most definitely. But He had a different purpose. What He did do was set up the scene for support. Some ling fishermen on the Kootenai River “just happened” to be down below us when the accident took place. They heard the crash, saw the lights twirling through the air and thought that their pickups, parked along the highway, had been hit. They came rushing up to the scene. One “happened to have” flares in his pickup and set them out to prevent anyone else from crashing into our vehicle. And, one of the fisherman was the salesman who had sold us our car! He said. “Well, guess I’ll need to find you another car!” (Which he did.). The first vehicle that came along before the ambulances arrived was a gal who had “just happened” to be visiting in the area and had stopped by our Bible study that night. She took our children in her car, where she “just happened” to have a sleeping bag to keep the children warm while we waited for the ambulance. God is so Good! He is definitely “A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…” We know that the “just happens” in our lives are evidences of our loving and sovereign heavenly Father at work.
Do pray for Caleb, not only that he will heal quickly and completely, but that he will also let God accomplish His purpose in his life. Pray to for his classmates who were with him at the time of the accident as it was very traumatic for them. Pray that God will work in their hearts as well. Pray too for Caleb’s folks. It has been a difficult last few days for them and they have incurred some very large medical expenses. Pray that their response to all this will be a testimony to all involved and to those watching.