July 11, 2021 was a Sunday that started off like any other day. I’m a worship Pastor so, as you can imagine, my morning starts pretty early, around 5:30 am most Sundays. I won’t lie, the days are full yet very fulfilling in the Spirit, and our morning service at Connection Church was no exception. God was on the move. After the service, I promised a buddy of mine that I’d go nerd out with him after the service was over. So after we wolfed down some Panda Express, we headed off to the movies. Things were going along pretty smoothly until I felt my phone buzz in my hand. I glanced down just to make sure it was not important and froze. It was my daughter, Gracie. She said, “Dad, Alex (her friend) was in a bad car accident and had to be life-flighted to Vanderbilt Hospital last night.” She said, “Alex is awake now and asked his mom to get a hold of me so I could ask you to come to the hospital. He wants to be saved!”
We were only about 10 minutes into the movie but I quickly realized that I had to go. I looked at Will and shared the story with him, asked him to pray and left. My wife and daughter arrived in the car and we set off for the hospital together, talking and praying our way there. You see, Gracie has been praying for Alex to receive Christ since they were in middle school. She is 21 years old now. So there was great anticipation on our way up to the hospital. As we reached the trauma center, we saw Alex’s family and some friends standing outside and they greeted us warmly. We come from a long line of huggers so after the southern exchange of hugs was complete, Alex’s mom clasped my hand in hers and through tears, told me that she was excited. She said it again and again. My wife grabbed her in another hug and it became very apparent to me that Gracie’s seeds were not the only seeds sown in the good soil of Alex’s life. There were years and years of sowing invested into this young man, and right now we all stood at the edge of a special harvest, sown in faith and watered with tears.
Alex had a punctured lung, cracked ribs, broken jaw and the orbital socket around his right eye would need reconstructive surgery. I honestly would not have recognized him. That’s how bad his injuries were. It was a miracle that he was alive. All I could think of on our way to his room was how Paul, in his letter to the Colossians, asked for a clear utterance of the gospel and, in this moment, that is what I wanted more than anything. God, give me Your words. When the moment came, we walked into the curtained room and over to his bed. Alex looked up at me with his left eye. I said, “Hey buddy… you took a fall didn’t you?”
“Yes sir,” Alex said. I could tell he was in quite a bit of pain but he held it together as best he could. His mother and girlfriend chimed in, trying to lighten the moment and encourage him.
When the conversation lulled I opened my mouth. “Well…I’m going to jump right in,” I said. “They told me why you asked for me to be here.” Kim, Alex’s mom slowly nodded her head as Alex’s bottom lip began to tremble. He said, “Mr. Wes, I’ve been meaning to call you for six months.” “Well, I’m here right now, buddy,” I said. He put his left hand up and I grabbed it. “Do you want to get this straight right now?” I asked. Alex broke. Tears puddled around the eye swollen shut and more tears streamed down his cheek from his left eye. “Yes!” he said.
I told Alex that God loved him so much and has been chasing him. We talked about having an actual relationship with God. We talked briefly about how we both had sinned but God’s Son died to save us from those sins. Then we talked about how God’s grace is enough. I explained that God would never waste the death of His Son. An all knowing God would never allow His Son to die and it not be enough. God is not wasteful and Jesus is enough!! Alex nodded.
This is the moment! This is where the first tender sprouts of new faith broke the surface of Alex’s heart. We prayed together, with Alex repeating my words and taking them as his own. After Alex asked God to forgive him of his sin, the last part of our prayers went something like this:
Wes- “God will you save me?”
Alex- “God will you save me?”
Wes- “I’ll spend the rest of my life for You!”
Alex- “I’ll spend the rest of my life for You!”
Wes- “I’m Yours,”
Alex- “I’m Yours,”
Wes- “and You’re mine.”
Alex- “and You’re mine.”
Wes- “In Jesus mighty name,”
Alex- “In Jesus mighty name,”
Everyone in the room was a mess at this point, including me. But Alex was not done yet.
“The river” he said, eyes closed and tears still streaming. “The river!” He said again, gripping my hand with all the conviction of a man changed by the miracle power of the gospel of Jesus Christ! I looked at his mom and she said with a smile, “He wants to be baptized.” Alex nodded to what his mom was saying and I started laughing. I was beside myself. You see, at my church, we still baptize folks in the river. “We’ll do it, buddy!” I said, shaking my head. Then, after a short explanation of what baptism means for a believer in Jesus, I told Alex to rest his mind about eternity. “That is straight!” I said. “You just concentrate on getting well and I’ll dunk you as soon as we can!” The room all laughed and you could literally see the relief settle on Alex. We talked a little longer and I eventually left the room, stunned.
By all accounts, Alex should be dead. I don’t know what the statistics are for flipping a Jeep without the top on it over and over and surviving, but I imagine the mortality rate is very, very low. I was stunned by the miracle of mercy that God had granted Alex to survive the wreck and even more stunned by Alex’s divine mercy-path to God through this ordeal. But when I got home and had time to assimilate the whole experience, something else rose to the surface, a hidden piece of heaven’s harvest had sprouted right under my nose. It was the response of a mother whose son had just been on the brink of death. Do you remember what she said to me when we first arrived at the hospital? The first thing she said to me was, “I’m so excited!” and she said it over and over again. Y’all…make no mistake, her response was not of this world and neither was the gift that her son had received that evening. I received a gift as well— the supernatural perspective of miracle-hope. That is the power of the gospel of Jesus! It took a boy nearly dying and a mother’s heart wanting a Savior’s gospel for her boy more than anything else for me to see it, but I sure enough did that night.
Let me write as plainly as I can to you. This world knows nothing of the hope of the world to come. Do you want to know the secret of hope that Alex’s mom knows and the power of the Gospel that Alex received that night? Then put your trust in Jesus, right now! Discover the excitement of a miraculous hope where the cares of this world pale to the hopes of the next, and where the life you now live is only the first breaths of eternity with your God!