Life has many crossroads.
Sometimes we feel like we sit there way too long waiting for direction. Other times we pass through the crossroads so fast we hardly know we’ve been there. Several years ago I experienced one of the second kind.
I owned a business in the lower part of the state when I was asked to move to Spartanburg to serve fulltime with the Army National Guard. God confirmed this was His plan for us. We settled in and joined this church. About ten years after we moved, I reached a crossroads that changed the course of my life.
I was deployed with the National Guard on a communications exercise at Fort Gordon, Georgia, out in the boonies near Augusta. We ceased operations at midnight and wearily dropped into our bunks, just in time to hear thunder start rumbling. There were three of us in my tent. My metal cot was directly in line with a huge pine tree outside the tent on one side and the red wood center pole of the tent on the other.
All of a sudden lightning hit the pine tree, ran under my cot, and splintered the center pole. I was knocked unconscious and they quickly transported me to the post hospital.
I regained consciousness before we got to the hospital but they decided to run tests to make sure I was okay. When they did the CT scan to check for swelling in the brain, they found a tumor about the size of a tennis ball in the right frontal lobe of my head. I had no previous indication of anything wrong. Further tests resulted in a visit to a neurosurgeon.
One week later back in Spartanburg, I had surgery to remove the tumor. It was benign and I was only out of work for about two months.
Even though I could still perform my duties with the National Guard, I was offered medical retirement as a Lieutenant Colonel.
At that point, God began to open doors of ministry for me. My family joined Mt. Calvary Presbyterian Church and our pastor asked me if I would consider helping him with visitation. That led to a staff position for eight years.
God eventually led us back to First Baptist to start a Celebrate Recovery Group. I had worked with Faith Home in Greenwood and served on their board when I lived there. Faith Home ministers to men who suffer with alcohol and drug problems and aids them in their recovery. I was able to encourage them and knew their need to find a place to feel accepted and plugged in.
I talked to our church leaders and they agreed FBS could have an impact on our community through a Celebrate Recovery group.
This Celebrate Recovery group will be three years old soon. I see men and women every Friday night whose lives are being changed. Over the years God has prepared me to lead this ministry and encourage these folks who come from a very different place in life than I do. And I am blessed.
Where I would be today if lightning hadn’t struck that tree, run through me as I slept, and hit the center pole? That crossroads changed the course of my life. I have seen God’s hand in it from the very beginning.
Sometime God speaks to us in His still small voice. Sometimes He has to hit us over the head with something. In my case, it was a big, red, wood pole!