Tuesday, April 24, 2012


John Tiller’s life was going along according to his plan.  He was thankful for many things, especially his healthy and energetic three-year-old son, Eli.  But, in a single day, everything changed.  Little Eli was left alone in an upstairs playroom when he pulled a chair up to the window, lifted himself up onto the sill and pushed out the screen.  A few moments later, when John’s wife went to check on Eli, she found the room empty and the window screen missing.  She looked out the window to see the body of her only child unconscious on the asphalt driveway thirteen feet below.   Eli had suffered severe head trauma and was med-flighted to a university hospital.  He lingered between life and death for three weeks.  And although Eli did live, the Tiller family would never be the same.  John has spoken about the three lessons he learned through this life-changing event:

-Determine your values before a crisis hits.  In crisis, you act on instinct.  You default to what you truly believe.  Crisis creates defining moments because it reveals the decisions we have already made.  When John met his wife in the hospital that fateful day, she was understandably distraught.  He looked her in the eyes and said, “No matter what happens, we will NOT let this come between us.”  She agreed.  They hadn’t made that decision that day.  They were simply affirming a commitment they had already made in the presence of God and witnesses on their wedding day…. ‘For better or for worse,’ and it doesn’t get any worse than the prospect of losing a child.

-Work like it depends on you and pray like it depends on God.  The Tiller’s did everything humanly possible to make their son well.  They invested tens of thousands of dollars in uninsured therapy equipment.  They received training to administer home-based therapy.  For three years, eighty percent of their waking hours were spent doing physical therapy on their son.  In addition, they prayed constantly, because they needed supernatural help.

- Be willing to burn your old vision and embrace a new one.  Despite years of prayer and the best treatment available, Eli’s brain injury left him with significant disabilities.  Now, at 12 years old, he walks with a cane and talks with a severe stutter.  His sight and memory are seriously impaired.  One of the hardest things the Tiller’s had to do was to accept, several years after the accident, that it was time to live life going forward with Eli’s disability.  It was a reality they could not change.  They embraced new realities and are experiencing the blessings that come from a new vision, as Eli plays Miracle League baseball and participates in races that he seldom wins, but always finishes!  He also sings and speaks to raise money for organizations that help kids with special needs.

God can redeem our trials.  Our choice is either to grieve our losses indefinitely or to move forward in dependence on Him and partnership with Him to see how he can redeem our suffering to bless us and reveal His grace.

Pray with me…. Dear Father, we have seen it a thousand times…. how you can strengthen and comfort us in our trials…. how you can use our pain to deepen us and equip us to minister to others…. how you can redeem our suffering and use our weakness to reveal your presence and power to save.  We are secure in your care.  We have Your peace that passes all understanding, no matter what life brings.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

Pastor Ken

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