Early on, back when I was about 11-12 years of age, I decided I wanted to be one of the ones who would be “Taking It To The Limit.” In fact, my closest memory to that age was I decided to go roller skating. When I first began, I was a fumbling, falling down mess. But something inside me said you are going to master this as I went to “Spinning Wheels” every Saturday from 9-12 pm in Londonderry, NH.
Like every roller skating rink that is around America back in the mid-1980’s, “Spinning Wheels” had an oval polyurethane floor that made it easy to slip on with roller skates. The first few times I went, it was torture to keep myself upright. Before long, however, I was able to keep myself steady with a pair of boots with death wheels attached to them. Yes, it took months of fumbling around before I became steady on my feet, and it took me a few more months to begin to try and roller skate backwards. Yet, by the time I started roller skating backwards, I had enough experience in skating frontwards that I was willing to give backwards a shot. Pretty soon, I was doing nothing but backwards. I remember weaving in and out around people at the rink. I even started to lift my leg with the other one just skating along. Those were the days.
Yet, my new attitude only did not affect my roller skating abilities, but it now affected my spiritual life. I knew God wanted it all-to “Take It To The Limit” as it were, not just a half-hearted effort into whatever you are doing. So, I started looking for ways to share the gospel, then it happened, nearly 2 years later when I was 14.
Searching my memory, I landed on a specific instance in which it happened that it affected my spiritual life. It was in 9th grade. Less than ominous, but nevertheless grey clouds surrounded that September school day. It was right after school. The school had a make-shift basketball court, and I was shooting some hoops. Figuratively, the basketball came down like someone put cement in the ball instead of air in the ball. The feeling was an ominous. Ever trying to decipher what I went through, God knew how to grab my attention, just like He does you.
See, I was praying that God would use me for about a year before the incident at the school happened. During that year prior to the incident at the basketball court, I was an active listener to overseas missionaries, inner-city youth pastors and leaders, etc. So, I decided the youth was where God was going to send me. And God played along with that until shortly after my high school graduation and eighteenth birthday. During those playing along years that God allowed me to go through, I achieved multiple recognitions and awards for preaching 5-minute sermonettes that were directed at the youth. God was preparing me for what I had to face. I knew that I was going to a Christian college to become a youth pastor from the age of 14.
However, God had different plans for my life. Proverbs 20:24 says this,
A person’s steps are directed by the Lord. How can anyone understand their own way? (NIV)
Well, I was about to find out in a big way what the Lord Almighty had in store for me. Twenty-five days after my high school graduation and eighteen days after my eighteenth birthday (when you become an adult in the USA), I fell asleep at the wheel just working the night-shift as an unarmed security guard. I should have been dead but wasn’t. No, no, no the Lord had different plans for me. But had I known beforehand, I would have changed my actions before June 28, 1989.
See, that was the day I was overtired and driving (not something I encourage anyone to do) on the highway with absolutely beautiful granite ledges that they tore through in order to make the highway. I crashed into one of the granite ledges that surrounded the highway and instantly put me into a coma for one month with my whole right side paralyzed. That left me with a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
One of the doctors assigned to my case said that rarely does anyone see a complete recovery from this type of injury. He said that I would be “lucky” if I progressed any further, but through prayers of much more than my family to the Almighty God I woke up out of the coma.
Although I was out of the coma, I still had a hard and long way to go. For Matthew 7:13-14 says,
Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter it are many. For the gate is narrow and hard that leads to life, and those that find it are few. (ESV)
Remember that prayer I prayed to my Daddy outside this world? The prayer that said I would do anything to proclaim His Word back when I was just 13-14 years of age? Yeah, that prayer. I almost protested to God, but thankfully I didn’t. Instead, I eventually accepted it nearly 3 weeks into my rehabilitation process, and thus began my process of physical and spiritual rehabilitation.
It has been almost 30 years since that almost fatal crash and thirty-six years since I prayed that original prayer of dedication of “Taking It To The Limit.” For 1 Peter 2:21 says this-
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you can follow in His steps. (ESV)
Now, that you have read this, I’m interested in your story of “Taking It To The Limit.” Please comment:
Found a couple of YouTube music video links:
“Take It To The Limit”-Whitecross (no lyrics)