Some jobs are just plain cool. Chad – one of my favorite people in the world – has one of the best. Besides being a faithful follower of Jesus and a great guy, Chad is a helicopter paramedic. We met when our family lived in Ann Arbor, and we have stayed friends ever since.
Chad recently told me an awesome story about one of his late-night rescues. About 18 months ago, Chad and his team were called to a serious car wreck in rural Southeast Michigan. Inside a car that had careened off the road was a seriously injured 18-year-old high school football player. Paramedics do all they can to extricate patients without creating further damage, but this boy’s foot was so thoroughly entrapped in sheet metal that the paramedics finally realized what they had to do to save his life.
Last summer, Chad – who is a beast – was participating in a Spartan race, one of those insane athletic events that combines running with crazy obstacles. As he was climbing a steep hill, he saw a fellow participant with a prosthetic leg struggling to make it to the top. “I’m dying,” the younger man gasped. Being a big-hearted soul, Chad said to him, “Put your arm around me and I’ll help you up.”
On the way up the hill, Chad asked about his injury. Based on the young guy’s age, he thought perhaps he was a soldier injured in overseas combat. “No, I was actually in a real bad car wreck last summer,” he said. As he started sharing the details, Chad realized that this was the young man he had helped airlift to the hospital. Unfortunately, besides losing his foot, he ultimately lost his entire leg. We they reached to summit of the hill, the young guy said with a big grin, “Thanks! That’s twice now that that you saved my life.”
When the boy’s dad, who was at the finish line, realized who Chad was, he had difficulty communicating to Chad the extent of his gratitude. He told him that even though his son was a good kid, before the accident he was starting to make some poor choices. Once, out of exasperation, he said to his son, “I don’t know what it’s going to take to get you back on track.”
In the aftermath of the accident, both the son and his dad – both of whom are Christians – have grown much deeper in their walks with Jesus. Of course, if the son hadn’t been physically rescued from the mangled car, he wouldn’t have been on that hill where Chad was able to “save” him, so to speak, the second time. Nor would he have been around to experience a renewed commitment to Christ. God used that tragedy in both the son’s and the father’s life, and their spiritual walks are far stronger because of the accident and the son’s subsequent survival.
So Chad had a hand in “saving” this young man’s three times: once literally, once metaphorically, and once (in a sense) spiritually. What a blessing for Chad and for everyone who hears how God can work through even the most tragic of circumstances.
I hope this story provides major encouragement to you.