A terrible thing happened two weeks ago that changed my focus towards God. Two friends and I were out for what was supposed to be a short easy motorcycle ride to have lunch with each other. Jeff was in front when he had what appeared to be a mechanical issue with his motorcycle and impacted against the front quarter panel of an oncoming car. The image of Jeff’s impact, particularly the image as I watched his helmet fly off of his head and go tumbling into the ditch seared themselves into my brain. When I saw what was happening I braked hard and aimed for the side of the road expecting to go in the ditch. Thankfully I managed to stop my motorcycle and as soon as I could get the kickstand down onto the gravel of the shoulder I threw off my helmet and gloves. What I didn’t know when I swung my leg off of my bike was that Jeff’s motorcycle had ricocheted back and hit my other friend Rick. I expected to see Rick parked on the side of the road somewhere behind me, but as I ran back towards the accident site I saw two horribly mangled motorcycles with Rick laying between the two downed bikes moaning in pain as he clutched his side. As I briefly checked on him I was thankful when he said, “Yeah, I’m alright. I think I just broke a few ribs.” Unfortunately, the screams coming from Jeff’s still form indicated that Jeff definitely wouldn’t be able to say the same.
Telling Rick that I was going to check on Jeff I ran over to him and knelt down next to the twisted mangle that my friend had become. Jeff was laying on his right side and my first thought was that I was thankful that there didn’t appear to be any arterial bleeding. Except for the watching the slowly spreading pool of blood there wasn’t anything that I could do for Jeff as we waited for the ambulances other than to keep him still and to pray for him. So that’s what I did until the Air Flight paramedics arrived and took him away.
I thought that my prayer life had increased recently since our church had gone through Bill Hybel’s book “Too busy not to pray” but that was before I watched two of my friends laying on the ground suffering terrible agonizing pain. Since Jeff was obviously the most critically injured most of my prayer focus was on him and as I prayed I tried to talk to him and calm him down telling him not to move and that everything would be all right. What amazed me the most while I was praying was that my friend kept thanking me for my prayers. Here was a man who was in obvious agony and yet he was thankful that I was praying for him! The words he spoke while he lay there suffering made me long for a thankful spirit like his.
The next week was an extremely prayerful week for me. I spent as much time as I could at each of the hospitals with both of my friends and was awed at the outpouring of support from the family of God. Fellow motorcycle riders from the Christian Motorcycle Association and from the Tribe of Judah as well as Pastors from multiple churches and family and friends all showed up to pray for each of my friends. It was amazing to see the number of people who appeared to support these two men.
Since the accident I’ve seen many examples of how much God has blessed the three of us. First and foremost is the fact that all three of us survived the accident. Secondly, that though the injuries that Jeff and Rick have suffered have been traumatic to them both physically and mentally the bond of fellowship between us has been strengthed. It is at times like these that families come together. In the past I’ve intelectuallized the idea that we are all a part of the family of God, but until this accident I’d never really prayed for someone with the same intensity that I’d prayed for members of my own family. And third, I’ve gotten to pray with many people about my two friends and those prayers have opened doors for me to pray over complete strangers during this time. For example, at one point while Jeff was still in ICU I was talking to two of the nurses and they both seemed very tense and frustrated. I asked them if it would be alright for me to pray for them and it was really amazing to see the changes that overcame them as they hesitantly agreed. I stepped around the edge of the counter and placed a hand on each of their shoulders and began to pray for them thanking them for their help; their good hearts, and specifically for the skills that God had given them that allowed them to help others the way they were helping my friend Jeff. When I finished praying, the contenance of both of these women seemed dramatically changed. Where before I’d seen tension and frustration, after prayer I saw a change to relaxation, peace and hope. Both women seemed surprised that I would take the time to pray for them and were genuinely thankful for those prayers. As I turned to walk back to the waiting room both of them smiled at me and thanked me.
Because I’ve been blessed to see the peace that prayer has brought not just to my friends, but to those around them I ask that anyone who reads this post will continue to pray for Jeff and Rick. Both of my friends have a long road ahead of them to recover from their physical and mental injuries and they need all the support that they can get. Also I would ask that you prayerfully consider helping support Jeff financially. He was the self-employed breadwinner for his family and this accident has impacted their lives quite severely and will continue to do so for many months. For anyone who is interested in following Jeff’s recovery his family has set up a Caring Bridge website which can be found by following the link
or those of you who feel called upon to help them in a more tangible way a friend of theirs has set up a Go Fund Me account to help pay for Jeff’s on-going hospital bills which can be reached through the link here.
Thank you for taking the time to read about my friends and thank you for your prayers and any other support that you may provide.
May God Bless you and keep you.