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The 700 Club

Broken Body but Unbroken Faith

Ed Heath - 700 Club Producer

“My cell phone rang, and the nurse said, ‘Do you know a John Futrell?’ And I said, ‘Yes, ma'am, that's my husband’." Even half awake, Debra Futrell knew an early morning call from a hospital couldn’t be good. She says, “And then I just asked her ‘was he dead’?”

Her husband, John, wasn’t dead.  He had been airlifted to VCU medical center in Richmond, VA -- a hundred miles from their home in Murfreesboro, NC.  Not long after, Debra and her son, Brent, were racing towards Richmond. Brent thought, “How is he? Is he going to live? How bad is it? I mean, all that was going through me all the way to Richmond. I prayed all the way.” By then they had learned John and two co-workers were on the way to work, when their truck ran off the road, hit a tree, and caught fire. John was the only one who survived the crash. Debra says, “He's always been a backbone for this family. I just, you know, cried out to the Lord and I said, ‘And he just can't die’." With Brent driving, Debra contacted everyone… family, friends, and their church - asking for prayer. Their pastor, Sandy Outlaw of New Vision Ministries, rushed to meet them at the hospital. He says, “It was very heart-wrenching. To hear this news of John, I not only a congregation member, a strong member, a pillar in our church, but as a good friend, yes, very emotional time for me.”

An hour and a half later, Debra and Brent were at the hospital. The doctor told them there was little hope for John. Debra recalls, “She says, ‘Well, he's got a broken neck, broken back, broken shoulder, 10 broken ribs, broken sternum, and third-degree burns.’ Our youngest son, Brent, he said, ‘What's his chances of living?’ She says, ‘Zero.’ She said, ‘If he makes it 24 hours, he's going to have to be a strong man.’ And he said, ‘Well, my dad is a strong man and he'll make it’." Brent remembers, “The first time I saw him laying the hospital bed, whew, it was tough. It was really tough. Is this the last time I'm gonna see my father?” By then their older son, Jonathan, had arrived. He says, “That’s when I hit my knees. I said, ain't nothing I can do physically, but pray. I said, ‘God,’ I said, ‘we can't do nothing. You-you control these doctor's hands. You do what you got to do to take care of him and my mom’."

Although it was touch-and-go, John did survive the first 24-hours. At the 48-hour mark, he had stabilized, and doctors put him in a medically induced coma.  However, John couldn’t lie on his stomach which had 3rd degree burns preventing doctors from operating on his broken neck and back. If they couldn’t operate soon, it was likely John would be paralyzed. There was little anyone could do except wait and pray. Pastor Outlaw recalls, “There was a lot of prayer going up for John during this time. And so, we were confident that God was with him and that no matter the outcome for John, John was going to be okay spiritually. Course we wanted his physical body healed and that's what we were praying for.”
Over the next 3 weeks, John underwent 10 surgeries to repair the damage from his burns. In the meantime, people continued praying, and John’s heartbeat grew stronger. A few days later, John’s neurosurgeon shared some amazing news. John’s neck and back had completely healed! Debra remembers, “He said, ‘Look at the x-rays. He's healed on his own, laying in the bed.’ I said, ‘Thank you, Jesus!’. He did not have surgery. Nope.” John was soon brought out of his coma, and after 41 days in the hospital he was well enough to be transferred to a rehab center where he still had a long way to go. John recalls, “I hadn't slept, couldn't sleep. The pain. I mean, the body brace that I had to wear, it was just more than I could take emotionally.” He says it was the prayers and faith of his family and community that gave him the strength and hope to keep going. John says, “I was begging God that I would not be left like this.”  Pastor Outlaw says, “We believe in the miracle working power of God. He's still God, He hasn't changed. And so, we just believed that. And so, we had a great anticipation and expectation that God would be healing John, and he would come out of this.”

Sure enough, over the next three weeks John improved rapidly. Jonathan recalls, “I mean, that was just a weight taken off. When I first saw him walk, that was the end of it then. I knew right then, I said, ‘It's just a matter of time. He'll be fine’." Debra says, “He was strong man. And he was going to do it. He's not going to lay in that bed. He wanted to get up and do it.” On May 19, just over two months after the accident, John was finally released to go home. John recalls, “Oh gosh, it was. It was one of the most happy, joyous feelings I've ever had.” Debra says, “It made me feel wonderful and the children and him too, I think. The Lord gave him back to me.”

Today John’s back to work as a fulltime logger. He’s made a complete recovery from the accident and attributes it all to the power of prayer. John says, “There was so many people lifting prayer up to God on my behalf.  I believe that was the most strongest thing involved in my recovery, my healing.” Debra believes, “Prayer works, because he'd have never made if it weren't for prayer.” Brent says, “There is a God and prayer does work.” Jonathan says, “I think prayer was instrumental in saving him. I really do.” Pastor Outlaw believes, “No matter what your situation, no matter where you are, prayer works, prayer changes things, and God is still in the miracle working business.”

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