Miracles Are Still Possible
March 12, 2013
Four years ago when I was out to sea with the Coast Guard, we got into some heavy seas; 20+ feet, and well... long story short... that was the storm that broke my back, literally. Surgery happened
December 2008. Two rods and six screws. I was in the hospital for 5 days, learning to walk again; 5 steps out, 5 steps back, then sleep for 24 hours. The next day 10 feet out, 10 feet back, sleep......
Finally, by the end of April, I was walking up to 5 miles at a time without any problems. No pain, no nothing, and I was on my way to recovery and actually was scheduled to go back to my boat August 2009.
My back surgeon told me to go get on my bicycle and start to get strengthened for riding. Two days after, on Saturday May 2nd, I was riding my bicycle and got hit by a Dodge
Truck in a hit and run accident. First I was on the ground, then back to the hospital and sort of had to learn to start walking again. It was so painful to walk that I really had (and am still having) a hard time.
The police never found the man that hit me. My life as a captain in the Coast Guard and at sea was pretty much gone now.
By July the physical pain was too much to handle, as well as the mental anguish of my life being over, forcing me to bend to my knees to ask God to help me. Not long after, I
started seeing signs from God that I knew was Him trying to communicate to me but I didn't know what to do. Signs, something as small as a license plate that said HEVANS, or a road sign to "Surrender Road",
(that I had driven by every day and I never noticed before) and it had never occurred to me to surrender my heart to God.
As I was walking in the woods, I was about a mile deep in the woods and stopped at the same bench I have stopped at a hundred times before, I saw the words scribed on the bench
"Jesus Loves You". I put my hand on those words and I could feel something in me stir right then and there; God was calling me.
I told my wife for these few weeks, more than once, that God was calling me. She asked me, "For what?" I said I do not know, but He is calling me. So I called the only friend
I knew who had given his life to Christ, right in the middle of our crazy partying days, and told him, "God is calling me and I do not know what to do."
He asked if I had asked God into my life and I had. Then he proceeded to tell me God was trying to answer my request and I needed to draw near to him too. He told me about
John Bevere's book "Drawing Near" so I read the prayers and the first chapter. I was completely overwhelmed by the love of Christ immediately, and the tears flowed like a river for an hour. The Holy Spirit
had descended on me. The last words I read after the prayer were "Welcome Home".
Our neighbors had asked us to join them at church more than once for 18 months. Well I needed to go to church that morning (Sept 13th) so I went by myself. The 1st service
was still going so I stopped in the lobby area and the first person I saw was a big black man by the name of Coach. He came up to me, gave me a huge hug and said, "Welcome Home".
I knew I was in the right place and that all of this was real, and that Christ was alive, and I belonged to Him. I did not believe in Christ until that day. Though there is
still a lot of back pain, it is only a reminder that I am part of God's wonderful plan.
Around the September/October 2010 time frame, a year and a half after my salvation and accident, a friend of mine was trying to get me to go to a Tuesday night men's group at the "Garage".
The first time at the Garage I sort of listened, did not join in much, and wanted to see if the Lord's presence was there.
Although I didn't immediately feel God's presence, I met a few nice people, one of whom had asked the group to pray for him as he had a court date for that Thursday. His name
I decided to go back a couple of weeks later to try again. Again, I did not feel His presence but asked about Kevin. For some reason he was on my heart but he was not there.
After that second group meeting, I was driving home and was thinking that I would not come back to the Garage again, as I did not feel the Lord's presence and felt that this was
not the place for me. When I got home I went to my knees to pray when God, as audibly as if he was standing next to me and before my knees hit the floor, said, "You have to go back to that group in two weeks."
"Excuse me, God?"
Then again, "You have to go back in two weeks."
And before I could question Him again, He said, "Two weeks!"
I told my small group leader from church and my wife about this. Of course they said, "Well, you have to be obedient and go back in two weeks."
During this time I was reading a book called "The Bait of Satan". The book was about forgiveness, given to me by my neighbor's (pastor's) wife. Through this book, Jesus cleansed
me of all of the past hurts and anything else I was harboring that would be in the way of our relationship.
Two weeks had come. The date was Dec 28, 2010. I remember telling my wife I really didn't want to go and she told me, "Then don't go". But then something reverberated inside of me;
something my small group leader said:
"God told you to go, you need to go, you have to be obedient."
So I went expecting something, but not knowing what, as God had a reason for me to be there this particular evening.
I stopped and chatted with Kevin, as he was back. Another guy was in a wheelchair and was asking why I had such a hard time standing up and walking. I proceeded to tell my
story about being hit by the truck and my coming to God.
By the end of the story about 6 or 7 people were around listening. The guy in the wheelchair asked where this had happened and I told him the intersection and I described the
mid-1980s Dodge truck that hit me. I proceeded to tell them the whole story. But I finished the story with my appreciation for being struck by the truck, as God used this to bring me home to Him.
That was the end of that.
The group meeting started off with some worship music to invite the Holy Spirit. During our music worship time that evening, I started praying and worshipping God when God
again said to me, "Things are getting ready to get difficult, but I am here with you, do not worry." I was freaking out a bit by this time as I never hear from God, especially when it is about me, but I know He is with me.
Nothing happened after the worship music, even though I had come expecting something, and we continued to talk about any praise reports, specific prayers needed, or anything else
that was on their minds. The meeting ended without anything extraordinary happening.
After the meeting and a little small talk, I walked outside to go home and Kevin (the guy who went to jail) stopped me outside and said, "I need to tell you something. But I do not know how."
I told him, "It is just you, me, and God here. You can tell me anything."
He said, after about a 10-second hesitation, "I am the one that hit you."
I was awestruck, dumbfounded. A jaw-dropping pause would have been appropriate. A thousand emotions may have stirred in a split second but settled on one. And in that split second after,
as if I was not in control of myself, I threw my arms around him and said, "I forgive you, completely" and I did immediately.
He apologized from the bottom of his heart and asked if he could do anything for me, and even offered money. I just told him to draw closer to God. I also told him to forgive
himself and that God had already forgiven him, as I had.
There are no coincidences. Truly a miracle, if ever I had experienced one. This is my story of coming to God and proving to the world God is real, and that He is still in the miracle business.
--- Copyright © 2013 J.A. Elliot
J. A. Elliott was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia. As a poet for thirty years, a technical writer for the US Coast Guard, and a disciple of our Lord Jesus, Andrew has accidentally positioned himself to be a writer for God. He and his wife have three children and live in the Tidewater area of Virginia.
Stop by his blog: http://elliottverve.wordpress.com/ or by his book "Miracle at the Garage"
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