Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The 4:30 a.m. phone call, and radical faith

The things that I will write about today may leave some of my readers thinking that I was two eggs short of a dozen, out of my mind, off my rocker, a bit deluded, or at the very least, not accepting reality. However, I share them because I have never talked about that day in any detail with even my immediate family.  Not that I expect to go anytime soon (I have always told my kids that I expect to live to be a healthy 120 years old!), but I don't want to leave this world without my family and friends really knowing me, whenever that happens.  What better time to write about it than now?  I'm not sure why, but I also want Duane's friends to know about these things.  If you have not read my last post, written yesterday, please read that first.  It will help you understand my worldview, not only that day, but for most of my life.

The phone rang at 4:30 a.m.  It was Palm Sunday, April 13, 2003.  The phone was right next to the bed and I was immediately upright saying, "Hello?"  Brandon's voice said, "We've had an accident."  My immediate thought was, "This is a test."  After all, I had just returned home from three days of learning about the supernatural power of God, and I knew that we have an enemy who wants to immediately rob us of what has been planted in us.

Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown.
As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away
the word that was sown in them.
Mark 4:15 NIV

They were just down the road from me, a small fraction of a mile.  Brandon had been driving.  A deer had run in front of his car, he attempted to hit his brake, he hit the gas instead and the car hit a tree.  I immediately woke Mike up and we drove down there.  The first faces that I saw were those of my sister and brother-in-law.  She had a grave look on her face.  There were quite a few other people already there, and they wouldn't let me go to the car.  I didn't understand why.  Duane was still in it.  Brandon had crawled the long distance of the neighbor's driveway to get to the phone.  He was in the house.  So I paced up and down the road, praying and singing to God.  I knew that no matter what had happened, nothing was too difficult for God.  When the helicopter arrived, I thought it was there to take Duane.  Brandon was injured, but had made it to the house, and so surely an ambulance would take him and the helicopter must be for Duane.  I continued walking and praying.  The helicopter left, but it hadn't come to get Duane.  When at last the state trooper approached Mike and I and said something like, "I'm sorry, your son didn't make it," the only thing that was in my mind, in my whole being, was "I have to get to him to pray for him."  Jesus raised people from the dead, He was doing it today in other nations.  Why not here, why not now?  I was not frantic, I was not panicked, I was not delusional, I was not grief stricken.  I was determined.  I knew that with God, nothing is impossible.

Oh, Sovereign LORD!  You made the heavens and the earth by your
strong hand and powerful arm.  Nothing is too hard for you!
Jer. 32:17, NLT

For nothing is impossible with God.  Luke 1:37

They let me go into the ambulance, where I laid my hands on Duane and prayed a short prayer for him to return to life.  Then my sister and her husband drove Mike and I to Chris' house to tell him and Katie.  Or maybe Mike drove and they followed.  I'll never forget Chris' face as he grabbed the sink to steady himself.  I told him I had to go to the hospital to pray for Duane to come back.  He said, "Mom, he's dead."  I asked my sister if they would take me to the hospital where they were taking Duane, and asked Mike and Chris to go to Darren and Gina.  I came home and called my pastor and told him that Duane was in an accident, that he didn't make it, and I asked for him and anyone who would pray for resurrection to meet me at the hospital.

When we arrived at the hospital, my pastor and I think his wife (not all details are clear in my mind about who was there), and about eight other people from my church had already arrived.  We all believed in miracles.  To put it mildly, the hospital staff probably thought we were strange, but they allowed us to gather around Duane and pray.  They asked me how long it would take us, I said I didn't know. 

We ended up staying at the hospital until about 2:00 in the afternoon.  More and more people came from Palm Sunday service at church and joined us.  The hospital staff let us move from the hallway into the chapel.  When other people wanted to use the chapel to pray, they moved us to a room with a sign on it that said "Classroom."  I thought that was appropriate.  God was teaching us how to believe for resurrection.  Later I read in the hospital notes that we performed some sort of "ritual."  Those words stung.  We weren't a cult.  None of us had ever done anything like that before, but to every single one of us, it seemed completely right, that day.  But in fairness to the person who wrote that, I can understand.  They probably never saw anyone do that, either before or since.

I remember at some point, someone (I think it was my pastor) asked me, "What if Duane doesn't want to come back?"  I wasn't ready to consider that yet, but at 2:00 we all went home.  There were people waiting for me there.  Someone had called Mike from the hospital to ask him how long his wife was going to continue with what she was doing.  He told them "as long as it takes."  I so appreciated when I learned that, that he had supported me, even though he surely didn't understand.

The rest of the next four days are pretty much a blur.  There were people to call, arrangements to make.  I think I was on auto pilot.  But I didn't stop praying for resurrection.  Nothing is too difficult for God.  I called friends who believe in miracles.  When I told my cousin how I was praying, she said that she never knew anyone who did that before, but if there was anyone who would, it would be me, and if there was anyone who would want to try to come back, it would be Duane.  He had radical faith, too.  More than once, he had tried to walk on water.  With his shoes on.  After all, if he had taken his shoes off, he wouldn't have been in faith, would he??  Duane's friend and wife came from North Carolina to pray for resurrection.  They went to the funeral home a half hour before each viewing to pray and believe.  Duane had intended to go to NC with them the following week, and he and Duane had made an agreement with each other, that if either of them died, they would pray for each other's resurrection.  We prayed for a miracle right through the day of the funeral, which was held on Thursday.  We even believed God was giving us signs that we were on the right track.  It was Easter week - what better time for a resurrection?

Obviously, our prayers weren't answered the way we wanted them to be.  But you will be surprised at what I learned a couple weeks later.  Things were happening in the unseen realm, and God gave someone a peek.

So we don't look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze
on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
2 Corinthians 4:18, NLT


  1. I am so glad you are writing this

  2. What a blessing to read this. It will make a great book one day. Especially if you put your inspirational photos with it. Thanks ever so much. Cindy from bethlehem

  3. I never knew all of this. Thank you so much for posting it. You must write a book....

  4. Thank you all for your comments and encouragement. Several people have suggested a book... hmmm....