The video is here.
Two weeks ago I had an accident while leading some horses out of a corral. My memory was thankfully erased by the concussion, but somehow I got my head stepped on by one of my friends… 30 stitches, 10 staples, fractured skull and broken collar bone. This all led to a helicopter ride, a day in intensive care, brain scans, etc. My recovery has been miraculous; thanks to the prayer of friends, I missed only a week of work. What I’ve noticed is that many others are going through similar setbacks or trials of some kind that seem “beyond coincidence.” My recovery is a miracle… but the nature of the accident is also a miracle in a twisted way.
Where is God? – When something goes wrong, the first question our hearts ask is, “Where is God in all this? What happened to my shield and protector (Ps 91)?” So… when I asked Jesus this question, He just said, “Trust me to work good out of this and turn it to glory.” Since I lost about 30 minutes of memory, it’s hard to analyze and argue with this “trust” approach. Resurrections are like breathing for Christians… losses, setbacks, and trials are part of life in the Kingdom… yet Jesus in our hearts always floats us to the surface and brings us to a place of even greater victories. Faith trusts… when all the logic evaporates. When we sign up for Kingdom we are actually giving the Lord permission to put us in the battle. The enemy would like to knock us off. Our Father would like to refine us with fire.
Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. John 12:23-26 NIV
This is another thing the Holy Spirit spoke to me. Notice that He is with us “in trouble.”
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Ps 91:14-16 NIV
Feeling abandoned – Jesus understood resurrection, yet when He was on the cross, He still asked His Father why He abandoned Him. The second thing that goes with every near-death experience is that it feels like God must have abandoned us. Prayer is difficult. Answers evade us. Depression is often a fact of life. Ten days after my accident the doctor sat me down and warned me about post concussive syndrome… the inability to concentrate coupled with a tendency toward depression. Near-death experiences threaten our vision, even our purpose for life. Loss of relationships, health issues, accidents, divorce, business failures, financial losses, job losses, church disruptions, etc. are all real-world examples that throw us off our track and make us reassess everything.
Reassess everything – “Everything” for a follower of Jesus is simply our relationship with Him. Even if all our works and plans and ambitions burn up like chaff, it’s OK because we were going to give Him those crowns in worship anyway. We start with nothing and we leave with nothing… but Jesus and a bunch of friends who love Him, too. All we take to heaven are relationships with Jesus and those we love. Life is pretty simple when we have an opportunity to reassess everything while waiting for our own resurrection. I was amazed at the people who surrounded me with care and prayer from the first moment on – even though I tried to keep it quiet. It was a huge blessing… to feel loved. We all need that… and not much more.
I also felt my Father’s embrace. I love it when we get to do exploits together, when we travel the world and bless the nations and love His people… but this was just me and Him… and that turned out to be the point.
Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” 17 And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.” Ex 33:15-17 NIV
Fragrance – There is a brokenness that goes with our deaths and resurrections. Somehow our hearts are cleansed and our trust is deepened in a way that everyone else can see. The fragrance of our death smells like life to those we touch. Our lives are offerings freely given to Jesus to build His Kingdom. Resurrection into His triumphant procession is our privilege as sons and kings.
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 15 For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? 2 Cor 2:14-17 NIV