While serving as chaplain-on-call one night at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida, my beeper woke me up around 2 AM. I called the number, and a nurse, in the Trauma Center, asked me to come quickly; a young man named David had been brought in after a terrible traffic accident, involving the 18-wheeler he was driving, and he wanted to see a chaplain. I rushed through the emergency section and found a young man with doctors huddled around him lying mangled and bloody on the operating room table. When the doctors saw me, they drew back to let me get near him.

With fear and pain showing in his eyes he struggled to tell me how he once went to church and lived a good life as a Christian, but after becoming a truck driver, he drifted away from what he believed and fell into a very sinful lifestyle. He planned to repent one day but kept putting it off. So he believed that God used this accident as a way of getting his attention, and he wanted desperately to make things right with God. I asked him if he saw the impact coming and he nodded “Yes.” So then I asked what his thoughts were at that particular moment. With fear filling his eyes as he replied, “I yelled, ‘O God, save me!’”

I bent over nearer to him so he could hear me, and while holding his hand, I brushed the blood-soaked hair away from his forehead. Then with all the tenderness and compassion God poured into my heart I said to him, “I can tell you now, God heard your prayer.” Then together we prayed for God to forgive him and make things right again. As I stepped back to let the doctors try and save him; with tears streaming down his cheeks he looked up at me and with a peaceful smile on his face whispered, “Thank you Chaplain….” For David, his dilemma was not caused by an accident, but by disobedience. So in his moment of despair, he called out to God for understanding and mercy.

When I woke up the next morning, I hurried over to the Trauma Center to see if they had transferred David to a hospital room. I wanted to go visit him before going off duty. When I asked the nurse about his status, she just shook her head. In hospital language, that meant he didn’t make it. I’m confident that God doesn’t respond to His children in emergency situations out of pity or because of moral pressure, but out of a compassionate, loving, and caring heart. Since God was willing to listen to David’s plea in the trauma center, I’m sure He’ll hear your prayer as well. Just remember, God went to great expense to save you, and He’s not about to lose you without a fight.

As I left the Trauma Center, I thanked God for the privilege of being a messenger to delivering a word of hope and assurance to this young man who was about to meet Him. And when I look back on that incident, for the first time in my ministry I had a new understanding and appreciation for John 3:16. – Dr. Robert R Seyda

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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