The events of November 16, 2006, changed my life forever. I will never forget what happened on that day; it will be with me as long as I live. Many of us can think of defining moments in our lives. Sometimes they are marked by tragedy, sometimes by triumph; rarely are they marked by both. But this was one of those uncommon days.
I was a self-employed diesel mechanic who performed on-site repairs. On this particular day, I was at a customer’s shop about 45 minutes from my home. The vehicle that I was working on was a Peterbilt logging truck. I had worked nearly 12 hours that day in order to complete my portion of the engine repairs, and I was just finishing up. I had been working with the driver of the truck, and after we put the engine back together, we began checking it over and testing the repairs. The rest of the truck had not been completely reassembled, but the driver planned on finishing the remaining work the next day. I began to put my tools back into the tool boxes on my service truck as the semi engine ran up to operating temperature. The driver asked me, since I was there, if I could also diagnose a non-related oil leak before I left. I was in a hurry to get home, but I thought this task would only take a few extra minutes.
I rolled underneath the front of the truck feet first on a creeper and started wiping off the area that appeared to be leaking. All of a sudden, the truck fell off the jack and crushed me against the concrete floor. The front axle had come down across my midsection like a blunt guillotine, nearly cutting me in two. From my viewpoint, it looked and felt like I was cut in half. In a moment of panic, I tried to bench press the ten thousand plus pound mass off of me. When reality set in, I realized the gravity of the situation and called out “God help me!” twice. I listened as the truck driver called 911. The large chrome front bumper was just behind my head, and I reached both hands back and grabbed the bottom of it. It took all the strength that I had for me to pull myself far enough that my head was out from underneath the truck. I stayed conscious long enough to see the first person who responded to the 911 call.
The next thing I remember, I was at least 10 or 15 feet above the scene, looking down at myself and the whole situation. The strangest part about my “out-of-body” experience was feeling like I was just an observer to what was happening below me. It was as if I was watching a movie. I felt no emotion, only a sense of peace. I heard one man say to another that there was no way I was going to live, and it didn’t matter to me one way or another. From my viewpoint, I could tell that my body was still mostly under the truck but that my head was sticking out from under the front bumper. I could see that my eyes were closed and that my head was turned toward the driver’s side of the truck. The man I had been working with was on his knees above me and was crying and patting me on the head as he was talking to me. I could hear and understand every word he said.
The most incredible thing wasn’t that I was having this experience; it was what I saw next. On either side of my body were twin angels, also on their knees, facing the front of the truck. From my vantage point, I was watching from above and behind them. The driver of the truck is over six feet tall, yet the heads of these angels were at least a foot and a half taller than his head. If they would have been standing up, I think they would have been close to eight feet tall. They had very broad shoulders and looked to be extremely muscular. There were no wings. Each angel had positioned his arms under the truck, angled toward my body. The angels had ringlets of long blond hair that fell at least half way down their backs. They were wearing white or ivory robes. It was hard to tell the exact color because of a yellowish light surrounding each angel. They seemed to be glowing. I also noticed that the robe fabric was very unusual. It was a woven material, but the thread size was very large, like miniature rope. It appeared to be very strong and durable. The angels never moved; they were as steady as statues. I couldn’t see their faces because my view was from behind them, but from what I could see, they were identical in appearance.
More people began to come to the scene of the accident, and I continued to watch from above. A red-haired emergency worker arrived, talked to someone, and walked up to the driver’s side of the truck. She moved the truck driver out of the way and asked him my name. She held my head, patted my cheeks, and told me to open my eyes. She kept repeating herself in a loud voice, and the next thing I knew, I was no longer watching from above but was looking at her through my own eyes. She told me that it was very important for me to keep my eyes open. I thought about what she was saying and realized that I had been out of my body until she got me to open my eyes. This made me believe that what she said was true and important; I was on the verge of death! Then I thought about the angels that I had seen. I looked where they had been, but I could see nothing there now with my human eyes.
As I lay there, I heard a voice in my head telling me to shut my eyes and just give up. When I did shut my eyes, the incredible pain stopped, and I could feel my spirit drifting away from my body. But there was also another voice; this one was quieter, more like a whisper. It told me that if I wanted to live, I would have to fight, and it would be a hard fight. It was almost as if the red-haired emergency worker could hear that voice too because she then asked me what I had to fight for. All I could think of was my wife and four children. These two voices, or conflicting thoughts, volleyed back and forth in my head. The louder voice that was telling me to give up and die was not from God, but the whispering voice that told me to fight was. As always, the devil promotes death and God promotes life. It’s also interesting to note that God will always tell us the truth. He warned me that it was going to be a hard fight, and it has been. It seems that, most often, the right choice is not the easiest one.
I believe that the Lord allowed my accident to happen so that His plans would be accomplished in the end and so that His name would be glorified through it. Right from the beginning of this nightmare, my wife and I have clung to the promise that God gives us in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”
It is too early to see all of the good things that God has planned to come out of this tragedy, but we can already see some things clearly. I have seen my wife’s faith grow by leaps and bounds due to this event. She is now closer to the Lord than she has ever been. Our family is more compassionate toward the needs and problems of others. I have become more patient than I used to be. Our home church has rallied together to support our family in a way that many senior members of the church have told us has never happened in the past. Some people who were not involved actively in church or prayer life have been drawn back to the Lord again or for the first time. Some have said that the accident has caused a small revival in our community.
Some people have been permanently affected by my story of seeing the angels who saved my life. It makes it hard for even skeptics to argue with the reality of these miracles when they are shown the medical facts. More than once, I have seen people break down in tears after hearing this story because it touches them deeply. People are affected when confronted with the truth of God’s reality, mercy, and love. Because of this fact, and because Lori and I want to be obedient to what God is telling us, we have decided to go into full-time ministry. It is clear to us that, although this accident started out as a tragedy, the Lord has used it’s timing to bring triumph for His Kingdom.