Dear Hit-and-Runner

Dear Hit-and-Runner,

Yesterday morning you managed to run a stop sign and crash into my wife’s vehicle, leaving both her and our four-month old stranded on the side of the road. We have witnesses, we have statements, a description of your car, and a piece of your headlight that you left behind at the scene.

Obviously you did us wrong—once by hitting my family, and twice by fleeing the scene. Justice has not been carried out.

But I am here to tell you something bold. Something so bold, even some of my Christian brothers and sisters will be upset with me.

I forgive you.

I forgive you for leaving my family behind at the scene without checking on them and I have chosen to not consider the “what-ifs.” “What if my wife had been injured?” “What if my son had been thrashed around?” The good news is (and I thank God for this) that my family is fine. Sure, my wife felt the after-effects of the event later that night, but altogether she’s doing well. I am not going to hold the what-ifs against you because that’s all they are: “what-ifs.” In this case, contemplating them would only make me  pointlessly angry.

I forgive you for the damage you did to our car. It’s not covered by our insurance and will cost a bit of money to fix—more money than we’re willing to invest in it actually. It is fortunate we have acknowledged the fact that we may need a new car over the next few years and that the idea of buying one was not a complete and total surprise. Though you have forced our hand to do this while we are not in the greatest financial state, I still choose to forgive you.

I’ve been told that if we could find you, we would be able to sue you up to a thousand dollars—but neither my wife or I want to do that. As I try to put myself in your shoes, it seems to me that you must be in a difficult financial state of your own. Since you fled the scene, my guess is you do not have the proper insurance to cover the accident (or that you’re covering yourself for some other reason). Therefore, my family does not wish to make your financial state any more difficult than it currently is, even if we do have the full authority to do so. As I put myself in your shoes, I realize I too have ran stop signs and driven recklessly at times. As I put myself in your shoes, I see myself as having the capacity to be like you. As Henri Nouwen says:

“Compassion grows with the inner recognition that your neighbor shares your humanity with you. This partnership cuts through all walls that might have kept you separate. Across all barriers of land and language, wealth and poverty, knowledge and ignorance, we are one. Created from the same dust, subject to the same to the same laws, and destined for the same end. With this compassion you can say, “In the face of the oppressed, I recognize my own face. And in the hands of the oppressor, I recognize my own hand. Their flesh is my flesh. Their blood is my blood. Their pain is my pain. Their smile is my smile. Their ability to torture is in me too. Their capacity to forgive I find also in myself. There is nothing in me that does not belong to them too. Nothing in them that does not belong to me. In my heart I know they’re yearning for love and down to my entrails, I can feel their cruelty. In another’s eyes I see my plea for forgiveness and in a hardened frown I see my refusal. When someone murders, I know that I too could have done that. And when someone gives birth I know that I am capable of that as well. In the depths of my being I meet my fellow humans with whom I share love and have life and death.”

Obviously, what you did was not right, and I hope that you will not do it again should you find yourself in a similar situation. But regardless of what you did, my Savior Jesus calls me to appeal to the backwards politics of the Kingdom of Heaven and extend to you the grace, mercy, and forgiveness that you don’t deserve. He points to the cross and reminds me of the bloodshed on my behalf even though I didn’t deserve it—even though I put the nails through those hands. He asks me to turn the other cheek, to offer you my cloak, and to go the extra mile. He draws in the dust that makes up my life and asks me if I am without sin.

I drop my stone.

I forgive you.

And I ask my Savior to do the same.

May you be blessed and come to know (or rediscover) the great love of the cross,

-Jamin Bradley

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My Car Crash Experience

All around the world supernatural things are happening, because God is still interacting with His creation. He is not a God that only made Himself known throughout the Bible, but a God who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. For that reason His supernatural powers are invading the natural world in all types of situations, proving that God still performs miracles and does the impossible.

I came to find this to be true when a car accident took place outside of my house. In this particular situation a semi truck crashed into a car, causing devastating damage to the victim. In a few quick seconds, the woman driving the car was somehow ejected from the car while having her legs severed from her body in the process. It seems so bizarre that I almost wonder if God teleported the woman right out the car!

The fact that she survived this accident is proof enough to me that God must have had His hand in the situation, but I was even more sure after she explained with incredible certainty that there was someone else in the car with her. While we couldn’t talk with her because her face was in the ground, I did realize that she could move her hand and so I asked her to move it once for yes and do nothing for no.

“Was there someone else in the car?”
Yes.

Are you sure?
Yes.

“There was someone else in the car with you?”
Yes.

“Was it a child?”
No.

“Adult?
No.

“Male?”
Yes.

We couldn’t find anyone. And later, when she was given oxygen she told the medics that there was no one else in the car. I believe that God was using her in that moment to tell me that He or an angel or something divine saved her life.

Many, I’m sure, would argue that God was not the Savior of this dramatic incident, but rather that physics were. But for those of us who are willing to believe that God had a part in this situation, we should also realize that this means that God can and is doing supernatural things around the world. Why would we believe that He decided only to help with a single car accident on the outskirts of Chelsea, Michigan, but refuses to do anything outside of that? As Christians, we must realize that He is capable of doing supernatural things anywhere.

Throughout the Bible, God did some crazy things, both in the Old and New Testaments. He showed His divine providence to His people, often times in supernatural ways. Whether it was raining manna from Heaven, instantly changing people’s language, making the blind see and the lame walk, prophesying about the future, or birthing a Savior out of a virgin, God makes it obvious that He has no limitations. Yet, despite these magnificent stories, many Christians today do not believe that God still works in these same ways, even though He is, and always will be the same. Or even if they do believe that He still does such things, they tend to think that these supernatural events are rare.

However, if a Christian actually searches for these kinds of stories in today’s society, he or she will be overwhelmed with what they find. There have been many, many documented cases of the demonized being set free, the sick being instantly healed (even of cancer), and there are even cases of people being raised from the dead! If a Christian searches for these stories, they will find that there are many supernatural things happening all around the world.

People tend to find such thinking illogical, but if we are to be Christians, we must, to a certain extent, become illogically logical. The logic is that we serve the creator of the heavens and the earth and therefore we should expect that He is capable of doing absolutely anything he wants. The illogical side of this is basically the same thing: we serve the creator of the heavens and earth and He is capable of anything. Therefore, we can ask God to do illogical things and understand logically that He can do it. And we can see through all the stories in today’s world and all the stories in the Bible, that God is fully capable of the supernatural.

My Blog Entry That Night

Incase you’re interested, below is the blog entry I made the night of the accident. But you’ll have to ignore my bad grammar and writing as I was a bit younger and unconcerned with any degree of good writing:

I have never experienced anything tonight.

BAM!!! My brother is upstairs and looks out the window to see a semi drive over a ditch and half way into someone’s yard. Me and Stefan are jammin downstairs and hear nothing. Dad comes downstairs and tells us that there’s an accident. I quickly put on my shoes and chuck it out the door before mom and dad can tell me no and run across the street. Stefan was somewhat behind me but still has his cast for his broken foot.

I found someone from a car driving by looking over a body in an open area and a car with a smashed up back side. We’ve got like 4 people calling 911 while I run out to the bdoy and the other person looking over her.

This happens at about 7:00.

it didn’t take long to realize this lady had lost BOTH her legs. Dad rushed out to us. Now that this stranger and dad we’re looking over this lady I ran to find the semi drivers. We now have about 5 people out there with us.

It didn’t take long to find the semi drivers. They were perfectly alive believe it or not. Their semi miraculously did not even turn over and somehow managed to drive right over the ditch. They had found the person who’s yard they were in and I told them that the other victim had lost her legs. I felt so bad for the guy as he looked like he was ready to cry and throw up. Knowing they were alright I ran across the filed back to the lady.

Stefan and mom we’re in our drive way waiting to be of any help they could. One of helpers told someone to get some blankets. One of the ladies ran to get one out of her car and I relayed the message to mom who ran and grabbed like 3 comforters. Next I had to whip off my belt (actually Stefan’s belt that  I happened to be wearing) so dad could cut off any flowing blood from her legs. We needed another belt. I yelled to Stefan and he ran across M52 taking off his other belt to offer to us. I had to lift her leg as they tied it around it.

This lady is breathing very heavily in what sounded like she was in shock. She tried to move every once in a while but me and adad watched over her and prayed for her and to her to try to stay still.

7:10

Where’s the ambulance!!!!!!???? Every minute counts when someone is in a life threatening situation. 911 is on like 3 people’s phones and they tell us to remove the belts from her legs because her legs have been cut off so high up that the belts can only damage her instead of helping her. So we take em off.

Finally she moves an arm. She still can’t talk only mumble.

Stefan found one of her feet and over time we eventually find the rest of her body.

7:15

Still no ambulance although they’ve been called 2 million times. Finally I come up with an idea and tell dada bout it. We’re now to the point where we’re wondering if there’s anyone else that was in her car. I ask her to move her hand as a yes and to not if it’s a no. Now she still is in shock so we dunno if she heard us or not. But I try it.

“Was anyone else in the car with you?” we ask.

Her hand moves. We’re making progress. We ask that question like 5 more times to make sure it wasn’t a coincidence. It’s not.

Me and dad signal everyone to look for another vitim. They do so.

One of the other helpers asked her to move it if it was a child.

No movement.

Adult?

No movement.

Male?

Movement.

We must have skipped over teenager but we know we’ve got a male out somewhere. So we start looking again.

7:25

I’m out looking for another victim with the others and coming back and forth to make sure dad and her are okay. FINALLY AN AMBULANCE! And it’s about freakin time too. It’s a miracle this lady is still breathing!!!!

Now the emergency people kick us out onto the road cuz they need to investigate although we’ve already done all that.

After a good amount of searching the lady finally gets some oxygen from the ambulance. After about 10 more minutes there’s nothing we can do so me, Stefan and mom go back inside and I change my clothes and luckily didn’t get any blood on me.

One of the workers starts back up traffic and the ambulances are there for quite a long while. Dad receives news around 8:00 that the lady said there was no one else out there so we figured that she was somewhat unconscious and didn’t answer the questions. [NOTE: That’s what I thought at first!] But at least she could answer them and it kept her breathing.

It’s now 9:50 and there’s still flashing lights and flares on the road now. Everything’s cleraed up and will hopefully be over with soon.

I just want you all to know that there’s no way that any of these people could have survived without God being there. We have no idea how the lady got to where she was without any legs cuz the dash window wasn’t broken but the front door was open. But the semi drivers should have flipped and they didn’t and this legless victim amazingly survived.

Thank you Lord for being so awesome.
Please keep her in prayer guys.

Healings and Noodles

As I made my way through the crowded cafeteria and approached the food choices of the day, my heart began to pound.

Could it be?
No. No it couldn’t.

Or… could it?

It could!

I found myself sitting at a table with a ginormous plate of super-salted plain noodles and a giant smile on my face. You can imagine what it looked like:

Whoa… Smiling like that makes my eyes look really creepy.

Anywho, I began to pray and what ended up coming out was “Lord, thank you for noodles.” It was a simple prayer and a true one. Yet, somewhat odd…

Anyways, I plan on telling you about a bunch of cool healings that happened at church yesterday, but first I thought we’d look at some beautiful videos of noodles:

^Jodi, birthday present hint ;)

Okay, I’m sure my time finding all of that could have been better spent, but that is me being to concerned with what was as the wise turtle has pointed out.

Right. The healings.

So yesterday, Pastor James felt God lead him to ask if people needed healing early on in the service rather than at the end and so he did. Quite a few people raised their hands and I remember praying that anything holding people back from receiving healing would be broken and God would just have full control to do what He wanted.

And man, God was at work! Someone was getting their asthma prayed for when he felt that something had moved out of his lung. He decided to test it right then and ran a lap around the church in the cold and came back in perfectly fine when his asthma would have normally acted up!

And then a girl who was in a car accident came up to give her report. Ever since the accident she had a lot of migraines and has been unable to get a full night of rest, but she reported that she had been at our 24 hour worship service the day before and that she had slept a full night for the first time in over a month! And I believe her headache was gone too.

An older gentlemen said he felt a coolness come over his chest when he was prayed for and that he has had a difficult time breathing. I can affirm this to be true because I’ve seen him wearing a breathing device to help him. I believe he was feeling better.

Oh, and one of my favorites, one guy by the end of the service wasn’t wearing his glasses anymore because his vision was healed! He didn’t even need to wear them anymore because his eyes were great! And even though I like my glasses, I think it would be awesome to be healed of it just so I can tell all my friends that I don’t wear them anymore because God fixed my vision for me.

Recently at church someone heard God tell them that someone was having a problem with blood, and so it was brought up during a service. They found out that the person with the problem was watching us online and it had gotten really bad, but within hours of this being brought up, she was healed!

We had a man come in and pray for people at a later service last night and prayed quite a bit for healing.* And on top of that he has seen a TON of healings. He’s seen tumors shrink right in front of him! And although I headed out a little early, I’m sure more were healed last night. He felt God tell him that someone had a hip problem and one person raised their hand affirming it. He mentioned that these “words” are given so that healing will happen which was something I was wondering about recently, so it’s good to know.

Now let’s go pray for people.
And eat noodles.

*Also, just so I don’t forget, the man who was praying for people grabbed me by the wrist, pulled me towards him, and said that I looked really comfortable on stage as I was “jammin” out up there. Then people told him that my name was Jamin and he seemed to say that was significant and that there’s power in a word and that my parents naming me that was appropriate or something along those lines. It’s so odd, because after pursuing a life of music I finally just gave up. Now God has given it such a greater meaning in my life and has brought it back ten fold.

Car Accident

It was just becoming 7:00 PM and I was approximately 35 minutes into a long drive to work and 1 minute and 42 seconds into the amazing song “Royksopp Forever.” This particular drive, however, was much different than the formers. Within seconds this incredibly dull trip and incredibly brilliant song were interrupted by an average sized white car that appeared to be making its way out of the right side of the three lane highway. It moved diagonally across the road towards highway traffic and the median. I then watched it as it went airborne and out of sight.

The van in front of me slammed on the brake and I pulled my car into the right side lane. In such a hurry to arrive at the scene, I forgot to turn on my emergency lights and made my way across the highway while dialing 911. A friendly male voice picked up.

“911, what’s your emergency?”

“A car just went flying off the highway.”

“Where are you at sir?”

“I am right in front of I-275, exit 194A on I-94.”

“And which way are you going?”

Pause…
I’ve driven this drive so many times that the details seem to have left my mind somehow.

“Towards Detroit.”

“So east?”

“Yes.”

“Alright, we will send someone.”

As I approach the scene I realize something quite terrifying. Something I was quite afraid had happened. The average sized white car had gone airborne because it had launched itself off of a slight hill, in between two highway bridges, over a fence, and into the road below. I immediately called 911 back to clarify as I tried to find some road signs to pinpoint the location: Hannan Road.

 

Picture taken from MapQuest
Picture taken from MapQuest

 

 

The car was totaled. The driver’s side ceiling was crushed down a good amount, the hood popped up, oil all over the ground, and a piece of the dashboard stood at a 90 degree angle through the remaining glass in the windshield.

A group of us gathered around the car while many stood at the top of the highway bridges looking down. Somehow the college-aged driver had climbed out of her small window completely unharmed. She walked around frantically, calling people as she cried out about the situation.

Wow, I thought to myself. I can’t believe she’s okay.

 I was relieved that everything was fine. Or at least I was relieved until I realized that there was someone sitting in the front passenger seat and she had not gotten out of the car. As I walked towards the car I saw another woman with her head relaxed on her left shoulder and her right eye swollen and purple. It appeared that she had smashed it on the dashboard and now she just sat there… lifeless.

I didn’t know what to do except wait. If she was still alive then she probably had a serious neck injury and then I wouldn’t be able to touch her without worsening it or getting a lawsuit filed against me. And I couldn’t imagine what the driver was feeling. 

A police car pulled up soon after, within minutes of my call. Quite impressive timing actually.

I asked a well dressed man wearing a buttoned up shirt and khaki pants if he had seen what had  happened. He proceeded to tell me that he had seen the car drive off of the west traffic side of the highway, across the median, bump into the guard rail on the east traffic side of the highway, and then back into the median and down between these two bridges. He also mentioned that the girl had driven through the median as if she didn’t even realize it. He actually thought it was an elderly woman having a heart attack.

A college-aged male lifeguard who was on the scene began to work with the policeman and another male on opening the passenger side door as it had been crushed shut. The three of them yanked and pulled until finally they ripped it open. Remarkably, the passenger had regained consciousness and she continued to sit there, waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

A man was now standing in the median above, taking pictures of the accident. The policeman yelled at him.

“Hey! Get that out of here!”

“Freelance photographer!”

It was sickening at the time. This guy was trying to make some money off of such an inappropriate and life-threatening moment. The policeman walked up the hill to talk to him.

Ambulances, fire trucks, and other police cars arrived on the scene. I looked up at the bridge and there was a man holding his camera over edge, recording the medics as they pulled the girl out of the car screaming. He appeared to be enjoying it, bragging to the people around him that he was recording it. A policewoman yelled up at him.

“You turn that camera off or you will all be spending the night in jail!”

The first police officer who had arrived on the scene took licenses from the man with the khakis, the lifeguard, myself, as well as another woman who had been there who was wearing green nurse clothes. He wanted to use us as witnesses to what had happened. The four of us shared stories as to what we had seen and the officer came back with two witness forms which the nurse and the lifeguard took. I stuck around anyways, waiting to see if there was any other information I could offer.

But I felt quite useless. If you’ve ever been in a situation like this before, then you know that once the professionals show up there is not much you can do except step behind the yellow tape.

But then I realized that there was something I could do. The girl who had been in the passenger side door was still screaming. She had been for awhile.

I could pray. Why didn’t that come to me sooner anyways? That was a huge part of what I was apart of at the last accident I had helped out with. And so standing there with my arms crossed, I closed my eyes and thought to God something like this:

Lord, I know that being a Christian you have given me the Holy Spirit. You know this girl is in pain and I know that your Holy Spirit is capable of doing much more than just healing that. I pray now that your Spirit would be able to move off of me and onto this girl and take this pain away from her.”

As I prayed I got this sparkly, shivery feeling all over my body—a feeling that I’ve come to know as God doing something in cases such as these. When I opened my eyes the girl stopped yelling. She may have yelled once or twice later, but after praying this prayer her screams were no longer consistent or calling for attention.

As they moved her away on the stretcher I realized something I hadn’t earlier. She was pregnant.

For much of the time I spent at this accident I felt quite useless. I wanted to be apart of the devastating excitement. I wanted to make a difference. But it seemed there was so little I could do. But now as I look back, I realize a couple things. 

God was there.

Honestly, these two should have been dead. However, one of them walked out perfectly fine, and the other in pain, but alive. 

On top of that, I feel that God did have me there for a reason. While only the medics could truly touch the woman, I was able to offer a gift that God could truly touch her. And so if you take nothing from this story, at least hear this:

Prayer is not useless.

Prayer is in our lives for a reason. Christians, we probably need to hear this more than anyone as we tend to let our prayer lives become stagnant. Pray with power. Pray expecting something. Even though God could really do whatever He wants, for some reason He gave us the power to ask for Him to do it and in this instance she didn’t stop screaming until after I asked. He allowed me the privilege of being able to ask Him to interfere with the norm and do something. And I imagine that He’s grateful I asked.

I now pray these young women and one’s baby will come out of the hospital perfectly fine. I ask for your prayer as well. Let’s surround these people with our love and hope that God can use this situation to make a difference in their lives.

 

 

 

Note: Later a man rode under the bridge on a bicycle, holding a video camera, just to get yelled at by the police. People, please. If you’re ever at an accident, have some courtesy. Stop turning it into a show.