I think of myself as a former athlete but not a long-distance runner. However, my wife, Ashley, has always wanted to train for a half marathon, and, for whatever reason, last fall I agreed to train with her. We began training, and eight weeks into the training I endured a farming accident. As I reflect back on the endless miles my wife and I spent running on the dirt roads, I can clearly see that God was preparing us to endure a different kind of marathon, one that would test my physical endurance and Ashley’s emotional endurance.
It was a beautiful fall day, and we were in the middle of corn harvest. I’d left the combine and was headed home to pick up lunch for everyone in the field. On my way I stopped to start an irrigation pivot that we use to water our soybean crop. I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but as I worked to start the pivot I was electrocuted by 480 volts. I can remember all that I was thinking, hearing and feeling as the electricity took hold of my body.
With that high of voltage and current going through my body, my muscles froze. I had no control over my body. I couldn’t pull away from the electricity. At that point I realized there was nothing I could do to save myself. I remember clearly thinking this was probably it—my life was over.
Eventually I passed out and woke up about 20 minutes later to my phone ringing on the ground in front of me. Ashley was calling, worried because I hadn’t shown up to pick up the lunch. I explained to her what had happened and where I was so she could come and get me. She rushed me to the local hospital, and from there I was airlifted to the nearest burn unit.
The electricity had entered through my right hand on my index finger then exited through my thumb, wrist and the left side of my chest right above my heart. The doctors were amazed that I was still alive. I had irregular heart rhythms and a few other internal issues, but they quickly resolved. Doctors were not able to save my thumb and index finger, and I had to go through seven surgeries and many hours of occupational therapy.
In the following weeks I had conversations with my doctor as I was trying to understand how I was still alive. He told me something that I will never forget: “Dustin, there are some things that you cannot explain. You had bruises on your bicep and shoulder. I truly believe they were from God’s hand pulling you away from the electricity.”
Hearing this reassured me of what I already believed: God had saved me. This gives me so much confidence as I continue to prepare myself for the purpose God has for me. God always sees the bigger picture. In life we are always striving and preparing for things like the half marathon, but God can use our preparations in ways we can’t even fathom.
The peace and hope that we can receive from God can truly get us through anything. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” God has prepared a purpose for us, and the trials and experiences we go through prepare us to complete those good works for God.
Earlier I said that I am not a runner, and I don’t enjoy running just to run. But I found that when I gave myself the goal of completing the half marathon I suddenly had a purpose for running. That extra motivation was all I needed to train hard and even enjoy it. As you read this, I pray that you can be motivated to prepare for the purpose God has for your life, and while you prepare, rest assured that he has gone before you. Through this we can have the hope that God promises us through his Word.