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God had brought us to this particular event, at this particular place, and at this particular time in order for us to hear the speaker that night. His name was Bruce VanNatta, and he was there to support the Christian mission in Honduras and to share with us the story of how God healed him.
He began his talk with the basics, the life and times of Bruce VanNatta. It was the story of a young boy growing up, living life, finding success, making mistakes, and trying to find God in the process. He shared with us how he had started his own business repairing semi-trucks, and how he often traveled around his home state of Wisconsin fixing huge trucks in need of repair.
Working on trucks was his specialty. It was what he knew, and he had a lot of experience doing it. His business grew over the years and became very successful. He knew fixing trucks like he knew the back of his own hand, and it was his livelihood until...it wasn't. It was his life until...the accident.
It was one of those unexpected moments in life where everything gets turned upside down. In an instant, agendas and priorities are wiped out as you are confronted with the real possibility of your own mortality. One minute Bruce was lying under a big semi truck making some adjustments, and in the blink of an eye the truck had fallen on him. The axle had practically cut his body in half. He had five completely severed arteries, and his chances of survival were next to nothing. Actually, as it turned out, his chance of survival turned out to be zero because he soon found himself having an out of body experience.
As he watched from the top of the truck garage, he saw angels ministering to his body and paramedics attending to his injuries. He felt no pain, just peace until he heard a paramedic say his name. Then as he bent near to see "who" was underneath the truck, he suddenly found himself back inside his broken body looking up at the paramedic who had spoke his name.
Because his injuries were so severe he was not expected to survive, but God had other plans. No one in the world has ever survived with five severed arteries except Bruce VanNatta. The doctors have no medical answers to explain away the healing miracle that God did in Bruce. He is a living, breathing testament to God's healing power.
I sat in my chair listening to every detail of his story, and it was the details that tweaked my soul. He used medical vocabulary that I knew, and he spoke about procedures I was familiar with. That's when God started to whisper into my heart. I kept hearing Him tell me that I needed to go talk to Bruce, that I needed to tell him about Christopher. Instead of saying yes, I made excuses like...he will be too busy to talk with me, and he will be overwhelmed with people wanting to share their stories with him. My excuses were no match for God's plans. He simply told me not to worry. He would clear the way.
Still, I was reluctant, but God didn't give up. It was loud and clear inside my head. He told me there was a reason that Bruce was "speaking my language," using words I knew and talking about medical procedures that I had seen Christopher endure. My excuse parade continued...but I can't just leave my friends and run off to talk to someone else. We invited them. That would be rude, but God countered with...they will understand.
Bruce continued to speak to the crowd, and God continued to speak to my stubborn heart. Looking back now, I can't believe that the God of the universe was speaking to me about His plans, and yet I had the audacity to think that my plans might be better. God was directing my steps, and I was trying to walk the other way.
My arrogance was no match for His plans. He continued to gently reassure me and encourage me to move in the direction He was leading. When Bruce finished speaking, I excused myself from the table. Then I made the choice to take God up on His invitation, and it has made all the difference.
The room was filled with tables and people, but they all seemed to just fade away as I walked to the front of the conference room to the table where Bruce was seated. I was on a spiritual mission that I hadn't planned on. When he saw me coming, he got up from his chair as if he was expecting me. Maybe God had been talking with him too preparing his heart for Christopher's story.
I began to tell him about Christopher. I could hear the intensity and years of sadness in my voice. Bruce listened carefully, and then he asked me a question I found curious...has anyone ever prayed for him? The question took me by surprise because, of course, Christopher had been prayed for tons of times at church, at school, at home.
But...Bruce had never prayed for Christopher, so he asked me if he could pray for him. He wanted to know if Christopher had come to the charity dinner, so that we could pray over him. I explained that at 16 Christopher enjoys spending time with his friends, not attending boring charity dinner with his parents. Bruce, being the father of four children himself, needed no further explanation.
Psalm 37:5 Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him, and He will help you.
Special Note: I gave limited details in this blog entry about Bruce's testimony, so I invite you to learn more about Bruce's inspiring story of healing. Only he can tell it like it really happened. He has written a book about his experience called Saved by Angels. He also has a website at sweetbreadministries.com
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ into your life, you can pray something like this: