If a moment of question or tragedy causes someone to turn away from God, it must be questioned how close that person was to God at all. God doesn’t move; we do. If we turn our backs on the Lord, walk away from the faith that we once claimed as unshakeable, the question must be asked: were you worshiping the Lord God of heaven and earth, Creator of all; or you were worshiping your version of Him? If at any time you have uttered the words “Well, MY god wouldn’t do this or that…” you have been worshiping and serving an image, an idol – a god you have made up is no god at all.
God is so big and multi-faceted that to experience all of Him is too much for us to comprehend. He is Who He is and Who He is does not contradict Who He says He is in the Bible, which is His inspired Word. He is Glory and Love and Mercy. He is Good. Moses only had a glimpse, a passing-by of God in His glory and his face was shining like the sun. If someone looked at God in all His awesomeness it would kill that person. It is too much – only when we are in His presence in heaven with resurrection bodies can we experience all of Him. As we mature in the Christian faith, through a steady diet of the Word, Christian fellowship, study and most of all, prayer, He reveals more of Himself to us – as much as He believes we can handle.
There have been many moments in which I can put an “x” on a faith timeline and say here, this is a time and place in which my faith changed. It either deepened, strengthened, or God showed me a part of Him that I had never experienced before. When my abusive marriage ended, Jesus showed me that He is my Husband-Redeemer. He alone provides my needs.
When my son was diagnosed with autism He showed me that He does not make mistakes – and gave me the ability to teach my abstract-minded boy about God in concrete terms, deepening my faith while growing Sam’s.
When I sat alone on the beach during a faith retreat, praying to God and worshiping Him as the waves beat against the seashore, He showed me the same power that reins in the waves knows my name – even the correct spelling of it. The same God who makes earthquakes roar and rumble in the ocean, pushing up in the earth and forming a new island is the very same God who gently helps a Monarch butterfly break through its cocoon and spread its colorful wings.
When I was weakened from a virus the night my cancer-stricken dad died at my house, it was the Lord God Who heard my desperate cry to stay my fever and weakness so I could help my mom, and there it was – instantly, no fever, no weakness. That night He showed me His healing mercy and grace even as He welcomed my dad into His arms.
All these moments in time had one thing in common: God taught me something about Himself. He used these things for His glory.
In August 2015, in prayer, God revealed to me that He was about to bless us. I shared this with my husband of eight years. The last time God told me this, we conceived our daughter. Having had a hysterectomy, we, like Jesus’ mother, wondered what God meant by this. Certainly the God who can conceive via a virgin can conceive via a 44 year old woman who had already birthed three kids.
But a baby was not in order. God kept on revealing that a blessing was coming. Now, we often think of a blessing as something incredibly good, like a baby. Due to circumstances that were out of our control, a violent incident caused my husband to become permanently paralyzed from the waist down. Severe nerve pain is crippling, making him cry out. I’ve had to stop homeschooling our daughter due to the intense care he required. I had to stop writing for a while. The shooting devastated our family.
But, in this time, God showed up the moment the gun was fired in his back and he fell on his nose, causing it to bleed profusely. Church family met us at the hospital and our entire church lifted us all in prayer. The prayers were tangible. God’s presence was tangible – we could almost feel His breath on our necks as He embraced us and held us up. Every prayer that was prayed was answered.
The blessing was His presence. He showed us His presence and glory that was almost too much to bear. I’d sit on a bench outside the trauma ICU and just cry-pray: Lord, it’s too much, Your presence is so powerful, it’s so powerful, we are not worthy…
At one point when his meds kicked in and the pain subsided enough for the tears to run down his cheeks without him screaming in pain, my husband told me, “Now I understand…looking at the pool of blood from my nose, now I understand…His body was broken and His blood was shed for us. It was real, it happened. He took the beating and the nails for us, willingly….now I understand…” and the pain took hold, sending him back into holding his hand up and yelling, “Praise Him in this storm! Praise Him!” Tears coursed down both our faces.
When, at 4:30 a.m., a pain medicine cocktail was given to him that knocked him out for a couple of pain-managed hours, I prayer-walked….Oh Lord, the needs….ramp to get in the house…will he be able to work? Christmas, Lord…He won’t be able to roll on the carpet in our house…what will we do?
Friends and family and total strangers heard about the incident. Funds poured into a GoFundMe site that was set up to meet our many needs. Our church told us to not worry about the house; several contracting companies had already heard about our story and had volunteered to do whatever was necessary to make our home accessible. God met each and every need we had through His Church. God used a terrible situation that satan meant for evil and used it to bring people closer to Him. He used it to show the world what the Church stood for instead of what it was against.
God used a terrible incident to bless not only us, but others through the outpouring of love and support shown to us by our church family. God’s strength in this time of desperation fueled our faith and we were outspoken about it. People in the community were amazed.
So were we. We were amazed that the Lord God of heaven would choose us to be His witnesses during this time. We are not worthy of the blessing that He bestowed upon us to be His vessels, yet, here we are, covered in grace and the power of the blood of the Lamb.
Oh, but the needs are still great. We’re dealing with the permanent aspect of this which is emotionally traumatizing. We’re dealing with the financial stress that huge medical bills are causing. We’re dealing with maintaining a home, helping our kindergartner with her reading as she is in public school and helping our 18 year old son find direction in his life. We’re dealing with my many panic attacks both seen and unseen. We’re dealing with him driving now and going to work, coaching t-ball….life did not stop or slow down even though my husband’s legs no longer work.
Most of all, we’re so beyond grateful to God – not only for the blessings of hardwood laminate throughout the house or a shower room that is incredible, or the ramps and deck that are mind-blowing and fully accessible, but in His presence and power. We’re so thankful that He works through His children. We’re so thankful for the GoFundMe account that has been used for the house rehab and the car with hand controls.
Having been in this unthinkable journey in which all our lives were changed the instant that gun was fired, we realize the blessing God was telling us about was Himself. He was about to show us His power, presence and peace in ways we could not fathom them before. But going through this journey, we cannot understand how people can do this, go through similar tragedies, without Him. Without Christ.
We couldn’t do it. People have told us many times that we are so strong. I disagree. We are weak. We are puny and small and nothing without Jesus who lives in and through us. We are strong not because of our own faith, but because of Jesus. Jesus’ empty tomb means that He has victory over death and evil. What satan meant for harm, Jesus has used to glorify Himself. He is victor. He is sovereign.
UPDATE: Greg continues to have no feeling below his waist. His paraplegia is permanent, due to this senseless act of sin and aggression. However, God in His grace has allowed Greg to exercise by playing wheelchair basketball, which is amazing (but oh,my.goodness. is it aggressive!). In the past three weeks, he has learned how to do his nightly self-care by himself with transfers and everything. All four of our children are now living with us (which has created more financial issues) but we're managing. God provides and we trust Him. Jacob did indeed get a replacement truck after his was totaled last year, but the engine blew in the new-to-him truck. Maybe we should get him a mule and cart instead. Beloved: no matter what you're going through, God hears and sees your tears. He loves you. I think that the shooting and Greg's paralysis happened for a reason, and that reason could very well be this: if you are encouraged by our story, that's reason enough.
Many people from around the world have asked how they can pray for us. As a believer in the power of specific prayer, here are the current needs that we humbly ask you to lift to the throne of heaven. We know God hears them.
- That God will continue to be glorified throughout this
- That the perpetrators would come to know Jesus
- That the book I am writing about Christ's faithfulness in this entire ordeal will be accepted by a publisher so that it will bless others and glorify Him
- For God to show us how He wants us to serve Him in ministry because of this powerful testimony He has given us. We have the strong desire to share this testimony at churches and in groups, to show what Jesus can do and therefore encourage others in their faith or, glory! Lead people to Him because of this.
- For the financial provision for ongoing medical supplies that are not covered by insurance or the state.
- For his pain to be managed
- And especially, for others who are facing disabilities like Greg, that God would move in them and create healing and wholeness of the mind, body, and soul. Please pray especially for a young man named Bobby -- God knows.
- And yet again, for Jacob's transportation issues.
I constantly hear of people lifting us in prayer -- and for that I am so very grateful. Thank you for lifting us up to our Mighty Savior.
God is so very good. He has shown His tenderness and compassion even as he has shown us His power and might. To God be the glory. Always.
In His Name,
© 2017 Terrie McKee