Death Answers to God, and He Said No

This is my cousin, Ron Coleman, dancing with his beautiful daughter, Mandi, at her wedding last year.   There is medical evidence to say this is not possible; but as we know, with God, all things are possible. 

The year was 1988.  It was a stormy August night, 30 year old Ron was working with an electrical contracting company at a Florence department store.  In his own words: 

“We had been working at night after business hours; this night I was working up in the ceiling on top of a scaffold, somehow that 277 voltage put the chomp on me. I don't know how long it had me or how it all actually happened, but I fell out of the WalMart ceiling and landed on the back my head.  At that moment I lay there, not breathing, bleeding from my mouth and nose, and a hole was blown out of my right index finger to the bone from where the electricity left my body after passing through from one hand and out the other.”

The father of one of Ron’s co-workers was the pastor of a church near the job site.  The co-worker called his dad and told him that Ron had fallen and his life was quickly slipping away.  The pastor arrived before the paramedics, and immediately began to pray.   Kneeling beside Ron, he said, “Ron, you will live, in the name of Jesus.”   Looking around at Ron’s co-workers, the pastor noticed that all of them had laid their hands on Ron in prayer.  Ron began to breathe again.

Friend and foreman of the job, Bill, called Ron’s wife, Jane, at 10:45 p.m., to tell her that Ron had been hurt, and was being transported to Humana Hospital (formerly Colonial Manor) on Cloyd Boulevard, the hospital nearest the site of the accident.  Before she left for the hospital, she called her pastor’s wife, Shelly Silverberg, and asked her to begin to pray (by the next day, there was a prayer chain formed by people in many states for Ron).  Jane beat the ambulance to the hospital, and watched helplessly as they wheeled Ron in, realizing that he was unconscious.  After an initial evaluation, the doctors told her that Ron needed a tracheotomy, and though he was not conscious, he still responded to pain.   The hospital had Jane sign a release form holding them not liable in case Ron moved while they performed the procedure, because any movement could kill him.

The situation was dire.  Ron was critically injured from his 20 foot fall, strong storms were rolling through, and the CAT scan machine at Colonial Manor was broken.   The doctors there performed the tracheotomy and transported him by ambulance to Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital (ECM), but their CAT scan machine had been damaged by storms earlier in the evening.    They loaded Ron back into the ambulance and sent him across the river to Helen Keller Hospital.   On the way, they were stopped by a train.    Helen Keller was able to do the CAT scan; but had no doctor available to read it.   Ron was loaded back into the ambulance to be transported back to ECM, but before they arrived, they were stopped by yet another train. 

When they finally arrived back at ECM, one of the pastors of Calvary Fellowship, Parke Crisler, was waiting for them, along with many of Ron and Jane’s fellow church members.   Parke worked in the CAT lab, and he was present while the neurologist, Dr. Ray, looked at the scan.   Parke told Neil Silverberg, the senior pastor, “We all need to be praying and praying hard, because without prayer, Ron is not long for this world!” 

Dr. Ray came out to tell Jane that Ron was in very serious condition, and needed to be transported to a head trauma center immediately.   He very matter-of-factly told Jane that he wasn’t sure that Ron would make it there alive, and if he survived the injuries, he would be either a vegetable or severely brain damaged.  

After Dr. Ray gave Jane the grim update on Ron, she was overwhelmed by fear and anger.  Her words: 

“When Dr. Ray told me he was going to be severely brain damaged or a vegetable, I ran out of the room and through the halls.  Somehow, I found a door that led outside, and I was nearly yelling at God when I got out there.  I said, 'Why?!!  Why couldn't You just reach out Your hand and spare him?  He is a good man who loves You!   Why did you do this to him and our children?'   I heard, not really an audible voice, but it was audible in my spirit, and He said, 'Trust me, he is going to be ok.'  So I did! I never doubted that Ron would wake up.”

Because of the storms, they couldn’t transport him by air, so they loaded Ron back into the ambulance and headed toward the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center in Memphis, Tennessee, a three hour journey.   On the way, and they had to stop twice to perform CPR.   In addition, he began to throw up.  In Corinth, Mississippi, they were finally able to airlift him to Memphis.

Death was commanded to relax its grip on Ron that night.  

Next:   Memphis

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