“I need to call my wife to say goodbye.”
Have you ever been so hurt you thought you were going to die? I know it sounds pretty dramatic, but on Monday, September 16, 2019 I found myself broken and laying on the side of the road in Kathmandu, Nepal. I had left our hotel on a run and was crossing a major road. I remember looking both ways and then stepping out into the street, and then turning just in time to see the shape of something about to hit me. The next thing I remember is being on all fours in my own pool of blood, not really thinking, but trying to crawl and find safety in the weeds on the side of the road.
I’ll remember laying in those weeds for the rest of my life. I didn’t realize at the time, but I had just broken nine ribs, fractured a fibula, separated my shoulder and my lung was collapsed. I was alone, without a wallet or phone, and in a country I didn’t know, surrounded by people who didn’t speak my language. It feels weird now, but I remember trying to get my Apple Watch to work – somehow knowing if I could get the cellular modem to work I’d be able to call my wife, maybe to say goodbye. I remember praying for God to take care of me, I remember wanting to go home, wanting to hug my wife and kids again. I remember being afraid, and I remember seeking God. I remember saying, “Jesus… Jesus… Jesus.”
Eventually a crowd of helpful strangers gathered around me and stuffed me into the back of a taxi and sent me down the road to the nearest hospital. I spent the next 10 days in two hospitals, and another eight days recovering before the doctors cleared me to fly home. I had two surgeries, rounds of physical therapy and had to relearn even the most basic motor skills.
I learned a lot of lessons during those three weeks in Nepal, I experienced God’s protection and provision, I saw God’s healing plan for me as I was forced to be still and rest, I learned to value the protection and care of a close friend. Even in just a few short weeks I was able to see how God works everything together for His good. I think most profound for me was simply the power of home.
I thought about home often. I longed for my family, my place of peace, comfort and love. I think all of us can resonate with this hunger for home. Maybe we especially long for home in moments of pain, when everything feels so far away and scary. Home is a place of peace, of protection and nourishment. As I longed to return to my earthly home I couldn’t help but think of God’s promise for a forever home. We live now in the tension between what was once perfect and what will be again. We know one day, all things will be made new. Pain, tears and fear will be gone.
I love what the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 5: 1-5:
“For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.”
Maybe you can resonate with my experience of peace and comfort and love and you have a place to go home… or maybe you don’t know what that sort of home feels like, and right now home is lonely or scary or even violent and hurtful. Whatever your story, I believe God has hope for you. Even in my scariest moment I felt God with me, I cried out and felt him there, taking care of me. If you’re looking for home I encourage you to check out our City Groups. I believe we’re designed to do life with people, and I know there are people out there who need you in their life. The time to reach out and find community is not when you’re broken and on the side of the road. If you can’t find a City Group I’d also love to connect with you and share more of my experience.
Kathmandu gave me a taste of what is ahead and Heaven made a deposit on my heart. I am headed home with a new understanding of what it means to simply go home and I have a deep gratitude for what I am returning home to.