God’s peace


In Flying Closer to the Flame, Charles Swindoll writes:

Some years ago my phone rang in the middle of the day on a Friday. It was someone from our older daughter’s school telling me that Charissa had been in an accident. She had been practicing a pyramid formation with her cheerleading squad when someone at the bottom slipped, causing the whole human pyramid to collapse. Charissa had been at the top and, consequently, fell the farthest, hitting the back of her head with a sharp jolt. Her legs and arms had gone numb, and she was unable to move even her fingers. After notifying the paramedics, the school official had called me.

My wife, Cynthia, was away at the time, so I raced to the school alone, not knowing what I’d find or how serious our daughter had been injured. En route, I prayed aloud. I called out to the Lord like a child trapped in an empty well. I told Him I would need Him for several things: to touch my daughter, to give me strength, to provide skill and wisdom to the paramedics. Tears were near the surface, so I asked Him to calm me, to restrain the growing sense of panic within me.

As I drove and prayed, I sensed the most incredible realization of God’s presence. It was almost eerie. The pulse that had been thumping in my throat returned to normal. When I reached the school parking lot, even the swirling red and blue lights atop the emergency vehicle didn’t faze my sense of calm.

I ran to where the crowd had gathered. By that time the paramedics had Charissa wrapped tightly on a stretcher, her neck in a brace. I knelt beside her, kissed her on the forehead, and heard her say, “I can’t feel anything below my shoulders. Something snapped in my back, just below my neck.” She was bunking through tears.

Normally, I would have been borderline out of control. I wasn’t. Normally, I would have been shouting for the crowd to back away or for the ambulance driver to get her to the hospital immediately! I didn’t. With remarkable ease, I stroked the hair away from her eyes and whispered, “I’m here with you, sweetheart. So is our Lord. No matter what happens, we’ll make it through this together. I love you, Charissa.” Tears ran down the side of her face as she closed her eyes.

Calmly, I stood and spoke with the emergency medical personnel. We agreed on which hospital she should go to and what route we would take. I followed in my car, again sensing the Spirit’s profound and sovereign presence. Cynthia joined me at the hospital, where we waited for the x-rays and the radiologist’s report. We prayed, and I told her of my encounter with the Spirit’s wonderful presence.

In a few hours we learned that a vertebrae in Charissa’s back had been fractured. The doctors did not know how much damage had been done to the nerves as a result of the fall and fracture. Neither did they know how long it would take for the numbness to subside or if, in fact, it would. The physicians were careful with their words, and I can still remember how grim both of them seemed. We had nothing tangible to rely on, nothing medical to count on, and nothing emotional to lean on… except the Spirit of God, who had stayed with us through the entire ordeal.

Sunday was just around the corner (it always is). I was exhausted by Saturday night, but again God’s Spirit remained my stability. In human weakness and with enormous dependence, I preached on Sunday morning. The Lord gave me the words, and He proved His strength in my weakness. (I am told by our audio tape department that that particular message remains one of the most requested sermons on tape of all the messages I’ve delivered since I first became pastor of the church back in 1971.)

Amazing! God the Holy Spirit filled me, took full control, gave great grace, calmed fears, and ultimately brought wonderful healing to Charissa’s back. Today she is a healthy, happy wife and mother of two, and the only time her upper back hurts is when she sneezes! When that happens and I’m with her, I usually look at her and ask, “Did that hurt?” Invariably, she nods and says, “Yeah, it did.” I smile, she smiles back, and for a moment we mentally return to that original scene where she and I felt a very real awareness of the Spirit’s presence.

750 Engaging Illustrations.

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