Photo by Butch Vernon
I grew up in a home with good parents who loved the Lord. We went regularly to the Primitive Baptist Church, but I never connected. When I was 16, my 14-year-old brother died in a car crash. I felt so guilty and felt that God should have taken me because I had been so disobedient to my parents. Not long after that, I became a coal miner. In 1983, I met my wife. She had a three-year-old daughter whose father was killed when she was two. I loved her as my own daughter and she accepted me as her father.
I hurt my back in the mines and could no longer go underground. I went into the trucking business. Right before our youngest daughter was born, I was driving the truck and was T-boned by another big truck at an intersection. It was a terrible accident. I was hurt and the other driver was killed. One of the police officers that came to the scene said that I had run a stop sign and I was guilty of manslaughter. But I had stopped at the stop sign and thankfully there was a witness that had seen me stop and said so.
I was in the trucking business for 20 years, but in 2000 it became clear that we would lose everything because of bankruptcy. We pooled what little resources we had and moved to another city for a fresh start. Because of our credit, we couldn’t rent or buy a home. We were on the verge of being homeless when we found a home that was owner-financed which we could purchase. The owner was such a kind person. This was such a blessing for our family. But the move was hard on my wife and youngest daughter, who was still living at home. My daughter hated her high school, to the point of working extremely hard to graduate a year early.
She got married her freshman year of college. Then she was rear-ended in a car accident and had back surgery. There were complications and she was in a wheelchair for six months and then had more surgery and more serious complications. Then her husband left her for another woman. She became very depressed and tried to take her own life two times. One night, when my daughter was living by herself, I couldn’t get in touch with her. I felt the Lord urging me to go check on her. Her car was there but she wouldn’t answer her door. I looked in through the window and saw her… I broke down the door and took her to the hospital where they were able to help her.
Meanwhile, my wife started drinking. She drank every night. I kept thinking that all of this was more than we could bear. But God was at work in our family, and things began to change. My daughter began seeing a therapist. She started going to church and got baptized. My wife and I started going to church with her. My wife checked herself into a recovery program. You could see God working in her life. She continued to go to church and gave her life to Christ. She finished the recovery program and hasn’t had a drink since then. Our oldest daughter and her husband started going to church and were both baptized as well. Our neighbor went to the same church and she would stop by and talk to me when I was outside. She was very encouraging to me about my faith. On September 16, 2012, the sermon spoke to me in a powerful way. That day I gave my life to Christ and was baptized.
One by one, the members of our family surrendered their lives to Christ. This was the beginning of our new lives and a journey of healing. God healed our daughter’s depression. She went back to college, became a nurse, got married to a Christian man, and now has two children. God healed my wife and gave her the strength to stop drinking. And God delivered me from terrible guilt. For years, I had felt so guilty—guilty about the truck wreck years ago and guilty that I had struggled to provide financially and that led to our moving and the beginning of such hard times for our daughter and my wife. I wanted so badly to “fix” everything, but as hard as I tried, I just couldn’t make things better for anyone in my family. But God could and God did. Years ago, I prayed that God would keep our family together and help us. God answered my prayer. He has been so good to our family. Again and again, I have seen God working in our lives. I am so thankful.
Praise the Lord; praise God our savior!
For each day he carries us in his arms.
Our God is a God who saves!
A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.