Nov. 10, 2016. I remember the day like it was yesterday. It was a beautiful Thursday, about 50 degrees, and Lake Byron was as smooth as glass. The air was still with no wind.
I had come to work just like any other day, part of a construction crew building Byron Bible Camp’s new gym. Having set all but 16 rafters the day before, we braced the rafters up for the night, confident to leave and return to finish the next day.
That next morning I asked God to show me his power and protection, but as I busied myself with work, I didn’t think much of it. The wakeup call I received from God later that morning as a result of a construction accident gave me a new perspective on life.
The crew and I began our day by setting and bracing the last 16 rafters. When we were comfortable with how things looked, we went down to the ground for our break. Usually when it’s warm out and not windy, we’d take our break in the shade of the building project. But that morning, one of my coworkers insisted we take break in the main retreat building.
It was 10 a.m. The 10 of us on the crew sat around a table eating doughnuts and discussing who would go up and start sheeting the roof. At 10:15, a noise like claps of thunder broke our conversation. Moments later, a few guys burst into the room saying the rafters had fallen in. In disbelief, we ran outside to see for ourselves what had happened.
Crumpled rafters littered the gym floor like so many wooden chopsticks. As we surveyed the damage, a somber reality hit. Fifteen minutes before or 15 minutes after, we would have been up on the rafters again.
To this day, no one knows exactly what happened. I don’t believe God caused the accident; I believe God, in his sovereignty, allowed Satan to do it. I know for a fact God was looking out for us that day, and the power and faithfulness of Jesus Christ changed my heart.
There were too many things that took place before the rafters fell for it not to be God. There wasn’t a reason for the rafters to fall, and there wasn’t a reason for us not to take break inside the gym, but God led us to a different building. We had just been up in the rafters. Why didn’t they fall then instead of during break?
I wouldn’t have been in the area working on the crew had my girlfriend and I not broken up six months before. But it wasn’t until after the accident that I recognized my girlfriend had not been a good influence on me, and I was becoming someone God didn’t want me to be. I wasn’t living my life for Jesus. I was stuck in my sin, drinking heavily, and Jesus set me free. I realized the breakup was a blessing, and God had a bigger plan in mind for me. He has been showing me what is important in life, what the purpose of life is and how to put my trust in Christ.
I also sensed a calling to ministry. Today, I serve as a counselor at Byron Bible Camp, the very place where God got my attention. The staff has welcomed me with open arms of love, and God provided great friends to me when I needed them most.
God’s work is all over the place if we pay attention to it. We grow when we take steps of faith outside of our comfort zone, not letting fear get in the way. I’ve stepped outside my comfort zone by accepting leadership positions at church, which include teaching an adult Sunday school class, serving as a deacon and doing missions in our community and other countries.
God saved me the day the rafters fell. It’s been almost two years since then, and I am still in awe of that experience. The only thing I can think is, “Thank you, Jesus, and God is good.” My heart is changed, and I seek to be an obedient follower of Jesus. I sometimes fall short, but living in step with Jesus is a priority because he bought me with his blood on the cross. —As told to Janae Rempel