I was recently contacted by Mitch Washer, personal friend of mine and founder of The Comforted, a soon-to-be-launched blog and ministry dedicated to highlighting personal stories of trial and tragedy and how God comforted people through the hardest times of their lives.
Tim, I hope you are well man. I am in the process of starting a new ministry called The Comforted. The idea comes from 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 where Paul talks about God as the God of all comfort and goes into detail about his sufferings and how God has brought him to a place of relying solely on Him and ultimately finding comfort. Not so that things will be easy for him, but that he may use that comfort and encouragement to comfort others who are or who have suffered. So God has put it on my heart to create a ministry based on that idea. So I need your help if and only if you feel comfortable. I would like a paragraph or two on a time you have suffered and had to rely solely on God.
Here is the article I submitted. I pray that it encourages you as the God of all comfort, comforts you.
Our story begins in October 2010 when my wife, Tiffany and I decided to take our two oldest boys, Colby who was 4 and Caleb who was 2, on what would be their first ever camping trip. We decided to go to Fall Creek Falls in Tennessee. And though we were late getting to the park due to getting lost we had a blast as we made our way down the trail, spending at least 45 minutes walking to the bottom to see the falls. It was then out of nowhere we heard the thundering and crashing of a boulder plummeting down toward us from 256 feet above. We didn’t have time to react or scream. As soon as we heard what sounded like a cannon blast it was all over. And then immediately the reality of the situation sank in. Our son Caleb had been struck in the head with the boulder while being carried in my wife’s arms.
It is amazing how quickly life can turn on a dime. Some events in life you look back on and it’s hard to remember what life was like before such an event. What happened that day at Fall Creek Falls was for us one of those events. Caleb survived the impact, barely. He nearly died about 5 times between the hour and a half wait for help to arrive at the park and the LifeFlight to Chattanooga. Words cannot express the agony we experienced when our whole word was turned upside down in an instant. We had gone from spending a carefree day in the park with our two precious boys, to now fearing the death of one of our children.
Caleb did not die. But the first few weeks in the PICU were the worst time in our family’s lives. Each night that ticked by the pressure, pain, and powerlessness seemed to overwhelm us. But then something amazing began to happen at about the 3rd week after Caleb’s accident. Caleb’s recovery was noted as one of the most miraculous that they had seen in a long time. He spent about a month in the PICU in Chattanooga and then we spent another month in Atlanta at the Children’s Rehab Center at Scottish Rite. He went from being completely comatose with little hope of survival to walking, talking, eating and playing, in a matter of about 5 weeks.
When I consider the question of how we were comforted through this most difficult time in our lives, I would have to say it was the outpouring of love and prayers from so many across the world that kept us going. At any given moment we would have people stop by to pray, to help us with meals, to care for our other newborn child, Connor who was only 6 months old at the time. God placed special people, some for me and some for Tiffany, to help us process our emotions and get through. God even placed couples into our lives to help us with the mountainous task of adjusting to having a special needs child and to help encourage us to put each other first in our marriage. He sent others who had gone through things we’d gone through to help us and show us the way. Donations came in by the thousands to help us pay skyrocketing medical expenses. Get-well cards came in by the box full and Caleb’s Facebook page grew to over 10,000 strong in just under a week, as people clamored to know more about how Caleb was doing. By the second week Caleb’s story had gone national and we had literally hundreds of churches and tens of thousands of people praying for him all across the world. The love was both incredible and overwhelming.
That was how we were comforted. By God’s love. God showed His love directly to us in all the many little miraculous things He did from the beginning of the accident, to the time we stepped foot back in or home after being away for 2 months. He showed His love to us through all the many thousands of people, from family to strangers. And even today He continues to show His love to us in that we get to wake up every morning to the beautiful smile of our son Caleb’s face.
Caleb is 7 now and is as rowdy and rambunctious and any little boy his age. He still struggles. He goes to therapy and he does have a learning delay as he is now considered a TBI (traumatic brain injury) patient. He goes to therapy weekly and is currently still seeking to master his ABCs and 123s. He has his limitations, but the beautiful thing is that he doesn’t know it. His ear to ear smiles are so infectious he immediately makes a positive impact on everyone who meets him. God too, is at the center of his little life. There is not a day that goes by that Caleb, even at the young age of 7, does not sing praises to God, want to pray, and hear Bible stories. To him the world is a big, beautiful, adventurous place just ready for him to leave his mark on. And for that I am so very thankful, because I know, with God’s continued love and comfort, he will.