"Jimmy Cook's Testimony"
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
It is funny how life can change your priorities in a matter of seconds. One afternoon in early October, I was in the process of saddling up my son’s Quarter pony to “freshen” up on my riding so as not to embarrass myself on my upcoming Elk hunting trip. My wife was preparing to go to her women’s club meeting. As I climbed up on the pony, I was unafraid of anything. After all, I’m six feet tall, 245 pounds, 38 years old and been outside my entire life. I had life by the tail on a downhill pull. My thoughts were on the Elk hunting trip I had waited a lifetime to take. I was somber in thought though, because my good friend that talked me into the trip had recently had cancer surgery and could not go. I could not wait though to get away. Get away from work, the world, everything I thought I had enough of. I guess that is why God decided to get my attention. In a matter of seconds, the small Quarter pony that I had absolutely no fear of became a bucking 800 pound rollercoaster of terror. I felt my body hit the ground and felt a blinding, crushing pain in the middle of my face as the pony placed her 800 pounds squarely on the end of my nose. The rest was a blur of ambulances, emergency rooms, loved ones standing around telling me they loved me, and doctors saying that everything would be ok. My priority changed from packing hunting gear to just staying alive. When I came to in the hospital, I could not see at all but I could hear my wife and others around me talking, so I knew I was still alive. My injuries were extensive. My top jaw was broken in multiple places. My nose, as well as both cheek bones were broken, as well as having other facial fractures, and my right hand had multiple fractures. My nose was driven up and into my brain cavity. The doctors were worried that spinal meningitis could form. The pain medicine kept me in and out of consciousness but I was becoming more coherent as time went on. I want to stop here and thank all the doctors and nurses that took care of me in the Tupelo hospital because I could not have asked for better people. I remember well the day the Neurosurgeon came in and told my wife Lori and myself that I had punctured the lining in my brain cavity when my nose was pushed up and forward and that I would need a fairly evasive procedure that would leave me without any sense of smell or taste. I don’t mind telling you that devastated me. I felt alone as I ever had. My father had passed away in 1996 and my mother in 2001 and I had always taken pride in not needing help to handle what life gave me. I was now probably as low as I had ever been. I tried to stay up beat but I was dying inside. The doctors wanted to wait for my facial reconstruction surgery until the swelling in my face went down, so the date was set for a week later to have the procedure. Now, in my mind, I had one week to enjoy my wife’s perfume, to taste anything sweet or savory, but the only problem was, with a broken jaw, broth was the best I could have. I was being bathed by someone else, I was being fed by someone else, and I felt completely helpless.
Loved ones came in and assured me all would be ok. Numerous people came in and out that I did not know, but informed me that loved ones they knew informed them of my condition and that they were putting me on their Church’s prayer list. Well, this happened over and over. My family and friends kept coming by and telling me I was on their prayer list. The preacher of my church came by and said everyone that knew me in my small rural town was now praying for me. I remember well the afternoon my father in law stood before me and said “Son, I am going to pray you don’t need that second surgery.” Finally the priority that needed to change did! Laying there in bed I told God, “I just can’t do it Lord, I just can’t!” “Please help me; I give it all to you because you now are all I have.” I cannot explain it, but at that moment, I felt an over whelming peace that fell over me like a cool breeze. I fell into as deep and peaceful a sleep as I have ever known. That night I remember vividly a bright light and my forehead becoming as white hot as an ember and although the pain was great, it never “hurt” enough to wake me. The day came when they were going to let me go home to relax before the 12 hour surgery the next day. I felt better about my situation and was determined to face it with optimism. While the night’s events were still fresh in my mind, the Neurosurgeon came in and said “Put your head down.” and leaned my head forward. As he spoke to my wife, I would try to look up and he would again gently push my head down and say “Keep your head down.” Finally I looked up and he said “I don’t think we are going to operate on you tomorrow.” “I have been thinking about this and it came to me that if the leak in your spinal fluid has not developed by now, then your body can do more for your healing than we can.” I cannot tell you how elated I was! While my surgery still took four hours, it was nothing compared to what I was preparing for. I can honestly tell you that God took me under his wing, healed me and brought me through the physical pain of the surgery. But not only did he heal me, I found out that my friend was now cancer free and we are back planning the “hunt of a lifetime”. This is not only a story of physical healing but I was healed spiritually as well. I was blessed to have a wife and family that brought me to the church and loved me enough to keep me there, but there was just something missing. After my father and mother died, I found myself sometimes questioning “If there is a God, why can’t the people I love be healed?” But as I stand before you on my own two feet, I can tell you that prayer works and do not ever let anyone tell you different. Sometimes it is tough to understand that God’s will is not always the same as we would have it, but that is why he is God. His thoughts are above our thoughts and his ways above ours and as faithful servants we should understand that he never said bad things would not happen to us, but that he would always be there when we needed him most. I went through a lot of physical pain, but because of it, I love and respect my wife now more than ever. I am more humble and respectful to my fellow man and realize that God put us here to help and to be helped. I have physical renewing in that I have lost 30 pounds and problems like my back pain and high blood pressure are gone. But most importantly, I have a new spiritual foundation on which to build. So if there is anything I can leave you with, it is this, please do not ever let anyone tell you that prayer does not work! Please do not let anyone tell that God is not listening, he is! Realize that he is always present and always listening and always willing to help. Sometimes we just need to stop and listen and accept his will. We all need help and with humility and humbleness, and our fellow Christians, we can go about his work building the Kingdom. If you do not know him, then please do not let the sun set on another day without just saying the simple phrase “God I can’t do it alone, please help me!” and I know if you mean it, then he’ll be there.