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I write this from Baptist Hospital East in Memphis, Feb 7, 2011.

Yesterday, my wife Ruthe broke her leg (femur) when the stool she was standing on collapsed. The arrival of police and fire department, trip to the hospital, hours of waiting in the ER, incredible pain of movement, choosing and consulting with an orthopedic, calling of family, prayer from many in the church family, C-T Scan, fasting in preparation for surgery – all have reminded me of a number of lessons:

1. Life can change in an instant, with a single movement, a single phone call. One moment – you are going about your life’s routine. The next moment – life changes.

2. God is absolutely sovereign. Every breath is precious. He holds our life in his hands. Life-altering events are part of his plan (I could end right here, but won’t)

3. God prepares us for trauma. Two months ago, I asked the Student Pastor of the Orchard to preach Feb 6. When the call came about Ruthe’s fall, there was no need to scramble. My responsibilities were covered. God does not leave us without resources, though we may not see it ahead-of-time.

4. Crises reveal what is truly important. I did not give a thought to the Super Bowl until we were in a room, and the game was nearly over. A football game is neither urgent nor important in the grand scheme of things. Life and family and friends and faith are!

5. There are some wonderful people in the law enforcement, fire and medical profession. I’ve been so grateful for the caring, go-the-second-mile attitude and professionalism of so many.

6. There are some real jerks around, as well.

7. Waiting is a test – of patience, faith, strength, and love.

8. Family and friends are indispensable. How could we handle life without their support and prayers?

9. Humor lightens the load. In the ER, tears and laughter mingle freely.

10. Sometimes the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing. Ruthe is NPO (nothing by mouth) and we were just brought lunch. She was given totally opposite information related to the CT Scan. The lesson – double-check everything!



  1. Ten great lessons. God does teach us through trauma, doesn’t He. When I hurt, God gets my attention fast. Thanks for the wonderful witness in times of stress.

  2. So sorry to hear about Ruthe’s fall! We’re praying for all the best for you two –

  3. Thanks for sharing these lessons Pastor Sam! God’s provision for us can not be underestimated, yet it is so easy to forget that He has promised it. He tells us in Matthew – don’t worry – not one sparrow falls to the ground outside of the Father’s will. So what does that mean for our lives – us whom He loves so dearly? For the rest of today I will not worry and I will wake up tomorrow and practice the same! Give Ruthe my love – praying for well managed pain and a complete recovery.

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