Published 5:24 pm Sunday, February 12, 2023
I asked church members to tell me stories of how God or our church impacted their lives. Recently, I received this letter from Allen Cheek.
My life changed in an instant. May 26, 2021, started like any other day with a game of pickleball. I felt normal until suddenly, I felt lethargic with 800-pound arms.
I complained of indigestion and told my buddies I was going home. Apparently, as I pulled into my neighborhood, I went into full cardiac arrest. Driving unconscious, I miraculously missed hitting children playing on the street, I’m told. I swerved left, knocking down a fire hydrant, then proceeded down the street another five houses before swerving off on the right-hand side, mowing down a mailbox before hitting a tree in my neighbor’s front yard.
One man pulled me out of the truck. An off-duty paramedic, several houses down was home and immediately began CPR while someone dialed 911.
The EMT crew had to shock my heart five times and took over 20 minutes to get a steady heartbeat. Apparently, my heart started back then went back into cardiac arrest as they continued medical care. I was told that over 30 neighbors came onto the scene circling the team of 14 first responders kneeling and praying.
My cardiologist inserted a stent the following morning to fully repair my heart. Thankfully, I have no further blockage or any other damage to my heart.
Allen then listed nine separate miracles that happened that day.
No high-speed accident while driving. No children playing in the street.
Jeremy, who pulled me out of the truck, was driving behind me. He would already be home except his buddy insisted on one additional workout. That put him directly behind me as I entered the neighborhood. Strangely, the window in my truck was partially open, allowing Jeremy to reach in to unlock my door. I never roll down my window. Will, the off-duty paramedic, was home and performed CPR to save my life before other first responders were on the scene. Those quick actions saved my life. The 14 first responders were resilient and never gave up performing CPR. The 911 came during shift change. Both shifts arrived on the scene. Will’s wife was on the street and saw firsthand to race into her house and get Will. 30 neighbors surrounded me, kneeling in prayer, as CPR was performed. My kids were unaware and didn’t see anything until afterward.
Strangely enough, I recall the very instant I came back to life. I remember, it was dark, quiet and a stillness. Encircled by 14 first responders, I heard no sounds. I shared this with Will, my neighbor, who performed CPR. He shared four words: “Do you remember Lazarus?”
Following my medical incident, I was overwhelmed by the support of family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and my church family. I called my pastor and asked to meet with him. I never reached out to a preacher to discuss mortality before, nor mentioned my neighbor’s reference to Lazarus. He was so kind, caring, while offering words of wisdom. I walked away with a renewed spirit of peace and tranquility focusing on God’s presence in my life.
This medical incident deepened my faith, heightened my belief in promoting health screenings and learning CPR. My life was saved by God who brought two heroes who saw and did something. With cardiac arrest, every second matters and taking immediate action can be the difference between life and death. This miracle has forever impacted my outlook on life.
I can’t imagine not having a church home or being surrounded by a family of Christ followers. I’m a walking miracle and give all the glory to Jesus Christ. I don’t know what he has in store for Allen Cheek 2.0, but I do believe he has a purpose for me!
All I can add is… Amen!
If you would like to send Allen an encouraging note: email@example.com
Rev. Larry E. Davies can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.