Pastor Larry Burd
Larry Burd is Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Easton, Pennsylvania.
Down, But Not Out
On Monday, October 18, 2010, I was down, but not out! I believe God spared my life from serious injury, or even possibly, from death.
I was bow hunting for deer with my youngest son, Evan, and a friend, Dave Horvath. We were hunting on Dave’s land in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. We had been in our tree stands for about two hours. I had been standing the entire time, watching for deer and reading my pocket-sized New Testament, when I decided to sit down on a seat that had been built in the tree stand. As I attempted to sit down, one of the 2” x 4” rails by the seat came loose and I lost my balance. I fell about 12 to 14 feet to the ground, landing on my right side and chest. I was in tremendous pain. I called for my son, Evan, who was in another tree stand about 100 yards away. I thought surely I had broken my right hip, ribs, or back, but my greatest pain was in the middle of my chest. The pain was intense, especially when I breathed. In a few minutes Evan and Dave arrived to help me.
I was so grateful to God that I was alive. I had not hit my head on a rock or broken either of my legs or arms. I was in great pain, but able to stand up and walk out of the woods with the aid of a walking stick.
Evan called his wife and told her what happened. She, in turn, called my wife and told her. He then called his sister, Lisa, who is a nurse at St. Luke’s Hospital in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. When Lisa heard Evan describe the intense pain I was having in my chest, she insisted we go to the Emergency Room at the hospital to get it checked out.
The Emergency Room staff at the hospital took me in immediately, put an oxygen tube in my nose, gave me a shot of morphine for the pain I was experiencing, drew several vials of blood and began to assess my injuries. The ER doctor ordered numerous X-rays and a CAT scan to determine whether I had any broken bones or injuries. Several hours later, the doctor returned and said he had very good news for me. The X-rays CAT scan, and blood tests showed that I had no broken bones or internal injuries. The doctor said I had severe bruises but I was “lucky.” I assured the doctor that it wasn’t luck that spared my life but God who protected me.
Numerous verses of Scripture have come to mind through my experience of falling from the tree stand. Psalm 34: 19-20 declares, “A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; He protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.” I am so grateful that the Lord delivered me in my fall and that not one of my bones was broken.
Psalm 91:11-12 says this about the Lord—“For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
Although there were stones on the ground in the area where I fell, I didn’t hit a single one. Instead, I landed between the stones. If I had hit my head or spine on a stone, I could have been killed or paralyzed for life. Truly, the Lord’s angels must have protected me when I fell.
Proverbs 24:16 says, “for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again . . . .” To me, it was a miracle that I fell 12 to 14 feet and was able to walk out of the woods and have no broken bones or serious internal injuries.
The words Job’s friend Eliphaz spoke to him during all his troubles have special meaning to me as I reflect on my fall from the tree stand. Eliphaz said in Job 5:19, “From six calamities He (God) will rescue you; in seven no harm will befall you.”
When I fell, I was “Down, But Not Out.” The pocket-sized New Testament I had been reading was still in my hand when I fell. I do not believe for one moment that it was “luck” that spared my life from serious injury or even death. I believe it was God who delivered me, protected me, and spared my life. I give Him all the praise, honor, and glory.
Jesus saved me spiritually at age seventeen during another crisis moment in my life, and I believe He saved me physically when I fell from the tree stand. During the incident at age seventeen, I realized that I had sinned before a holy God and needed forgiveness. I recognized that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins and was resurrected from the dead so I could have the gift of eternal life and spend eternity with Him someday. I repented (turned away from my sins) and invited Jesus Christ into my life, by faith, as my Savior and Lord. I began to experience a whole new life and had great peace in my heart and mind. The truth of Romans 5:1 became a reality to me—“Therefore, being justified by faith, we had peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Through my experience of falling from the tree stand and not being seriously injured or killed, I have concluded that God must have more work for me to do on this earth. I must do it with all my heart, mind, soul and strength for His glory alone.
Though he fall,
he shall not be utterly cast down;
for the Lord upholds him
with His hand.”
I was down, but not out and for that, I am truly grateful to God.