The presence of God
I was in high school when my accident happened. It was 1980, and I just made the varsity team as a freshman, and decided to take a day off from class and play “hookey.”
It was December, and exceptionally cold outside, which is typical of Idaho. I went down into the basement to light a fire in the stove heater, and used kerosene to ignite the stove.
When I struck the match, I became engulfed in flames and flung myself in horror and excruciating pain.
As I listened to my own skin sizzling off my body, I ran to the door out. It wouldn’t open. I ran throughout the basement, desperately looking for something to put the fire out or get me out of the basement.
The seconds I was on fire felt like hours. I thought for sure I was going to burn alive down there, but all of a sudden I heard a voice I didn’t recognize before. “Go to the door,” it told me.
As I looked over to the doorway, I noticed that it was now open. I ran up the stairs, and buried myself in the snowdrift just outside the door.
I called my mom, who was head nurse at the hospital, and told her to send an ambulance.
I had 3rd degree burns on 85% of my body, and the doctors told me I had less than a 20% chance of living. Right there, I made a deal with God that if he would let me wrestle again, I would never defy him again.
I spent six months in the hospital, and then had to wear a mask and protective singlet for the next year of wrestling season to prevent my new skin from rubbing off.
The next year and my senior year, I was state champion. I made the All-American wrestling team, and have never doubted the presence of God since that day in the basement. It was Him who guided me out, and gave me the strength to survive in the hospital.