But, why does God allow bad things to happen? is a question that I have had to field ever since May ninth of 1998. There I was, traveling down a quiet Indiana county road, running errands while at the same time a little sports car in oncoming traffic attempted to pass a tractor-trailer and two cars. My first instinct was to veer onto the shoulder and cede my lane. Unfortunately, the other driver panicked and swerved in an attempt to leave the roadway also. According to the traffic analyst, the resulting head-on collision impacted at a minimum of 110/mph.
“The last time I saw a human body in that condition,” my father observed, “was during my two tours of duty in Vietnam.” My pelvis and left hip were shattered, my right hip dislocated, my right foot crushed, and my sacrum (the bone shared by the spine and the pelvis), broken. One laceration allowed me look through a closed eyelid, and another split my lower lip down to the chin. I, of course, was taken to the local hospital, but the magnitude of the injuries was so severe that I was Life-Lined to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. My limbs protruded at such grotesque angles that the paramedics had difficulty loading my body through the door of the helicopter.
The protective fail-safes that He designed into the human body amaze me. Mercifully, I have no recollection of the above events. As if my broken body wasn’t enough, I also sustained a closed-head injury.
In plain language, this means my head really is that thick—the alternative would have been a fractured skull! My concussed and swelling brain had nowhere to go and the pressure intensified within the brain pan.
After two weeks of living in a delusional dream-state, of which I have but a few bizarre memories, the doctors reached a prognosis: after eighteen months of intensive therapy I’d be able to, believe it or not, walk and feed myself again! The best-case scenario was a 60% recovery of my mental capacity. At the very moment this diagnosis was being communicated to my family, my pastor walked by, and entered my room. Amazingly for the first time in weeks, I was able to have a completely lucid conversation. I recall his visit and our closing in prayer, but no details. I fell asleep after he left and when I awoke next, I looked around and asked, “Why am I in the hospital?”
I do suffer from some short-term memory loss and other common closed-head injury symptoms, but despite the medical prognosis, my abilities to reason, communicate and conduct my affairs are seemingly as functional as they ever were! The feet of implanted surgical-steel chain links and screws that knit my hip and pelvis together are, I’m told, irreplaceable and have an expected useful life-span of twenty years. Without serious advances in medical technology, I’m likely doomed to a wheelchair in another dozen years. But I’ve come to learn that doctors don’t know everything and they definitely do not excel at playing God.
I returned to my job at Subaru of Indiana Automotive in less than six-months, but I write this on a day when I am home from work because of the weather’s painful affect on my osteo-arthritis and bursitis. I’m severely challenged in my capacity as an autoworker.
Several times a year I’m asked the rhetorical question about why He allows events like these to occur. What good could come from so tragic a tale? Well, it seems that God had a bigger plan for me and He expedited many new and positive things in my life. Ever since youth I have enjoyed writing and I aspired to be a novelist. Four years prior to this accident, I began my fantasy novella, White Iron, but the story always seemed to meander and jam. For some reason, post-accident, everything flows! Furthermore, had the accident not occurred I’d have never met my wife and editor, Cynthia. And certainly, I’d not be launching my career as a novelist in 2006.
With the life span of my artificial body parts, He has forced my hand in finding gainful employment that does not rely on my physical abilities—beyond a twelfth grade education I am only self-educated and qualify for little white collar work. I really feel that He has moved my life along in this direction to urge me to invest the talents He has provided, to His glory.
In addition, I‘m not presumptuous enough to guess at how He has and will use my experience to affect those who have witnessed my healing. Eight years later, people still recall and refer to the event. I can only wonder at the number of people who have heard of my miracle, and how it has affected their own lives. I am merely called in faith to trust that His wisdom will glean the greater good from tragedy.
Whenever I hear skeptics scoff at Biblical answers to Why does He allow suffering? my soul smiles in sadness at their shortsightedness. In our terrestrial larval forms, who can judge the Judge?