One of my first thoughts as I lie on a sterile bed in the cold and well-lit hospital room was a keynote presentation I was scheduled to give down in Memphis, Tennessee in five days. I was determined to give this presentation and I mentioned it to my wife, Alia, several times. I also mentioned it to the burn specialist that evaluated me later that night, after I was transferred to the burn unit up in Indianapolis. She simply looked up at me and smiled, but never responded. Neither did my wife.
It wasn’t until several hours later that the seriousness of my situation began to settle into my consciousness. I was badly injured, and at this point I was lucky it wasn’t worse. Instead of worrying about a keynote presentation, I should’ve worried about containing the damage of the burn I received after a small gasoline fire explosion that left me with 2nd degree burns on 7% of my body.
I went to bed Sunday evening, a day after my accident, exhausted, hurting, and depressed as I realized that I might not have ability to meet my speaking commitment down in Memphis. I was scheduled to fly in three days and I was in no shape to travel. My mind raced to figure out a way. Do I fly and risk it? Do I take my wife with me, so she can take care of me during the trip? Do I find someone to speak in my place? Or, do I simply notify the event planner, explain what happened and cancel the trip. Everyone counseled me to cancel the trip. They noted that I had a valid excuse, and that accidents happened, and the event planner would understand. That didn’t sit well with me. I gave the event planner my word and I wanted to keep my word. I desired to speak at this event.
I woke up the next morning with a solution settled in my heart. I would cancel my flight and drive to Memphis, or to be me more specific, Alia would drive me to Memphis. I asked Alia if she would be willing to drive the 6 hours down to Memphis, with me laying in the back of the van. It was a big ask, and Alia was understandably reluctant. I couldn’t walk, and my wounds needed cleaned and redressed twice a day. Alia was already stressed out from the entire ordeal and I wanted to add to her stress by asking her to drive down to Memphis, dressing me in nice clothes and standing me in front of a group of professional men and women and deliver a speech while still recovering on my charred feet and leg, only a few days removed from my accident. It didn’t make sense, but I had faith.
What is faith? Is it something you believe without seeing? Is it something you feel? I’m not sure if I can define it, I can simply say that I felt a strong desire to head to Memphis, and I just knew that God would take care of the rest.
Purpose is a funny thing. I believe that with life, comes purpose. I was still alive; therefore, I still had purpose. God gave me the ability, the desire, and the talent to communicate. I was meant to communicate and I was scheduled to communicate in Memphis on Thursday and it was now Monday. I would honor God with my actions, and I knew He would honor me with His blessing.
I laid helplessly in the back of that van, while Alia white knuckled her way down the road and fought exhaustion while traversing the backroads and highways to beautiful Tennessee. My son, Adrian, came along to help. I dreaded every stop, because the pain was unbearable when I forced myself to stand up and allow my badly injured right leg to lower below my heart. I could feel the blood rush to my leg with an incredible pain that felt like a cross between hot lava coursing my veins and a million sharp knives cutting through my flesh. Sweat would drip down my back as I struggled to work my crutches and make my way to the bathroom.
“How are you going to do this? How are you going to get up and speak tomorrow?” Alia glared at me at one point during one of our stops.
“I don’t know, let’s just keep going.” I huffed back at her.
Once we finally arrived at the hotel and struggled up to our room, Alia bathed me and tended to my wounds. I collapsed on the bed and stared at the ceiling while Alia applied medicated gel to my raw and open wounds. I could feel the sterile gauze as she carefully placed them on my feet and leg and I could sense the security of the bandages as she meticulously wrapped them around my extremities. The pain pulsated through my body, and my pain medication didn’t seem to help. Alia laid her hands over my wounds and begin to cry out to God. It was the most beautiful prayer, because I could hear her heart and soul through her words. I joined her in prayer and I continued to pray as my eyelids became heavy and my world became dark as I slipped into a heavy sleep.
It’s hard to believe something, until you experience it yourself. I’ve heard stories of supernatural healing and even experienced healing myself, but nothing compared to what I experienced later that night. I woke to a dark hotel room and lying in a bed by myself, with Alia and Adrian quietly sleeping in the other bed a few feet away from me. I felt a touch on my forehead and a rush of energy pulsate from my head to my toes. I didn’t think much of it as it felt like a dream. In that moment, my body felt strong and I fell back into a deep sleep.
I woke to the sound of my alarm a few hours later and found myself sliding out of bed and putting the full weight of my body onto my damaged limbs. No pain. Nothing. I felt completely normal. One would think that I would be filled with joy, but I wasn’t. I had a job to do, and had to speak at the conference in about 90 minutes. I just kept waiting for the pain to remerge at any moment, it didn’t. I cleaned myself, brushed my teeth, dressed myself and went back into the room where Alia and Adrian starred at me. “How are you feeling?” Alia asked surprised at the turn of events.
“Fine, God healed me, let’s go.” I responded
“Oh?” Alia whispered with amazement in her voice as I plopped in the wheel chair that the hotel provided us the night before.
Alia pushed me down to the conference center where I linked up with the event planner. By now I e-mailed ahead and explained my situation. He arranged to have a chair situated up front so I could sit during my presentation.
I was introduced to a healthy applause. I stood up from my wheel chair and paused. I waited for the rush of pain that never came. I could feel the heat around my wounds, but I felt no pain. I walked gingerly to the chair and faced the crowd as I sat down. I delivered the best presentation of my life over the next hour. When I was done, I stood up to the loud and roaring applause from the audience and paused and waited for the pain. Again, it never came. I could feel the sweat collect around my lips and at several points on my body as I could sense my body was working overtime to maintain itself and heal at the same time. I sat in the wheel chair and Alia proceeded to push me out the back of the room. The event planner and several others followed and told me how appreciative they were of my presentation. I shook their hands, thanked them for the opportunity, and then Alia took me back to the room. As soon as we entered the room and I stood up from the chair, the pain came screaming back into my leg and I hobbled over to the bed for relief. The pain was just as bad, if not worse, than the day before.
It was a long trip home that day as I laid in the back of the van and winced every time the van hit a bump and jostled my leg. I could feel the pain, ever present, and taunting me the entire six-hour drive back home. I again dreaded every pit stop and at one point screamed in pain so loud, in the McDonald’s parking lot, that Adrian walked away in embarrassment and my wife chastised me, “Are you done with your meltdown? Because, I’m hungry.”
It wasn’t until later that I received the revelation to what God did for me and the miracle that occurred that morning. God heard our prayers and shielded my pain so I could live in purpose and honor Him. He also gave me a revelation that exploded in my heart a few days later. God doesn’t show up in our lives, He’s already there. Where ever you’re supposed to be, He’s there waiting for you. He doesn’t show up, He waits for YOU to show up and when you do, he gladly pours his blessings all over you.
God blessed me in Memphis that day, I’m convinced of it. There’s no other explanation. I learned a powerful lesson, which forced me to reflect on my life. How many blessings have I missed, because I failed to show up? A voice spoke in my heart that told me to go to Memphis, and even though it didn’t make sense, I followed that voice. I went to Memphis on faith and God was there waiting for me, in fact, He never left me.
I will continue to walk in faith, because I’m convinced wherever this path leads me, God is already waiting, and not only is He waiting, but He’s waiting with anticipation because of the abundance of blessings that comes with a simple act of faith. What can you do today to step out in faith? Don’t worry, God is already there.