In March of 2016, I was a pretty typical nineteen-year-old: I went to church regularly, worked hard, and had dreams of the future. Although things were rough with my family at times, I had a great group of friends I hung out with, and my job was becoming my life. I worked in a cabinet shop during the day, but I did my own jobs with a friend on the weekends. In short, I thought life was going great, and I couldn’t imagine how it could get any better.
That all changed one night while driving home from a revival crusade. A moving van crossed the center lane of the road and hit me head-on, breaking my left arm, crushing my face, and causing instant blindness.
At first, no one thought I would survive— not even the paramedics. Yet the Lord had other plans. My condition stabilized, and after a week of surgeries, I was released to a local rehabilitation facility. The doctors had set the bones in my arm and did an extensive facial reconstruction on me, but there was nothing they could do about my vision.
Since I had no memory of the two weeks after my accident, I didn’t find out about my blindness until I was already in rehab. When I did learn that I would never see again, I didn’t even know what to think. One minute I was angry, the next bewildered, but slowly, a feeling of despair began to settle over me as I realized the work and dreams I cherished were gone.
Over the next few months, I really wrestled with my emotions and trust in God. I knew that He was in sovereign control of my situation, but I couldn’t understand why He had let this happen. I had done nothing wrong the night of my accident, but I felt that I was being punished for something. Knowing my family had a lot to deal with already, I tried not to let my struggles show. In those months, I learned to go around with a cane, read Braille, and even play soccer with a ball that had bells in it.
Yet no matter what I did, I couldn’t shake the question that haunted me. Finally, while sitting out on my porch one day, I raised my head towards the sky and cried, “What did I ever do to deserve this?”
No booming voice came from heaven, but God responded in something just as shocking to me. He quietly whispered to my heart: “This is not about you.” I tried to object, but He gently responded, “Just trust Me, I know what I am doing. This is not about you.”
He reminded me of Philippians 4:6-7, which tells us that He would give us peace, but we had to pray and give thanks to Him right now. It was hard to do that for a while, but as I began to praise Him for who He was and the blessings He had given to me, He changed my entire world. I had been focused only upon myself, but when I looked to Him, He gave me the peace He promised. No, my situation didn’t change, but my mindset did, and that made all the difference.
As I continue to keep my focus upon God, He has opened opportunities I would never have imagined. For instance, He has given me dozens of opportunities to preach at local churches, enabled me to finish my degree in preparation for seminary, and has given me opportunities to share the Gospel with people I would never have met— had I not become blind.
None of this came about because of any strength I had, or because of any power of positive thinking. Rather, it all came from the Lord and the Holy Spirit. I had to get my “eyes” off myself and onto Him, and as I did, He gave me His perfect peace and assurance that He would always be with me, no matter what. I am so grateful for what He has taught me through this journey, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.