Victory in Jesus

February 24th, 2014

After he said this, he spit on the ground, made mud with the saliva, and smeared the mud on the man’s eyes. Jesus said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (this word means sent). So the man went away and washed. When he returned, he could see. (John 9:6-7)

It was a beautiful Saturday night in June, and seventeen-year-old Daniel jumped into his pickup after saying good night to his girlfriend. He had just enough time to make it home before his midnight curfew. It had been an exciting day spent cooling off from the summer sun by swimming. He was driving south on state highway 54, barefoot and still wearing his swimsuit without a T-shirt.

It was dark on the desolate little highway — so dark that Daniel didn’t see the black cow that had wondered onto the pavement. He slammed on the brakes, but it was too late. He hit the cow and the pickup started to flip. Since he wasn’t wearing his seat belt, he was thrown through the windshield. His head hit the pavement, and then, his scantily clad body skidded across the caustic surface. The momentum of the ejection finally slowed, and Daniel came to a stop. He was barely conscious, but he was aware enough to move himself commando style to the side of the road. He wanted to avoid traffic although there was hardly any on the highway so late at night.

In fact, Daniel lay by the side of the highway for forty minutes until someone drove by, saw his truck, and then found him. As they were loading him in the ambulance, his parents drove upon the scene as they were now retracing Daniel’s steps. He was rushed to the hospital thirty miles away.

Daniel’s church was buzzing the next day with the news of the accident. The minister went to the hospital after the service. The first person he saw was Daniel’s grandmother. Her face revealed that she was reliving the experience of another grandson who was paralyzed because of a car wreck about a year earlier.

Daniel was in ICU with severe head trauma. He was alive, but unconscious. The extent of the damage was unknown, but the doctors were hopeful. Over the next few weeks, Daniel began to regain consciousness, but only for brief periods of time. With slurred speech, he would identify the people in the room. He recognized the minister but couldn’t recall his name. He simply called him Preacher. It became apparent that recovery would be a long process. His mind was like that of a child, and he would have to start over with his education. He would probably miss his senior year of high school just to relearn the basics in life such as walking, talking, eating, and dressing. After a month-long stay in the local hospital, Daniel would be transferred to a specialized rehabilitation center in Dallas. As soon as the paperwork was cleared, Daniel was moved.

At the end of the week, the minister was shopping at Walmart with his family. While pushing the cart past the men’s wear section, he was surprised when Daniel’s dad stepped into the aisle. The father was equally surprised to see the minister and his family. He simply asked the minister and family to follow him. He led them to the pharmacy where Daniel was picking up a prescription with his mother and his brother. Daniel had been released from the rehabilitation center. What was supposed to be months of rehabilitation turned out to be a week. The doctors couldn’t explain it. The area on his brain that was bruised had mysteriously cleared up on its own. Daniel’s motor skills were still a little slow, but they were functioning normally.

Two days later, the minister fully expected to see Daniel and his family in worship. He was a little disappointed to walk into the sanctuary as the service started and see their regular pew still empty. But dismay soon turned to a joy. As soon as the congregation began to sing the chorus of the first hymn, the family walked in. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. Shivers went up and down many a spine as they sang “O victory in Jesus, my savior forever!”

The doctors couldn’t medically explain Daniel’s recovery. But it was obvious to the church people. After all, they sang about it in the hymn. There is victory in Jesus. In this case, that victory meant the physical healing of a young man. Thanks be to God.

This article originally appeared in Lectionary Tales for the Pulpit, Series VI, Cycle A Copyright © 2007 CSS Publishing.

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