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The Day God Saved My Life 

In April this year Baptist minister Ross Dilnot was involved in an accident that would shatter part of his body. He describes its impact 

Ross DilnotOn Friday, 8 April 2016 at approximately 12:15pm my life changed forever. The events of that day, and the following three weeks will forever be etched onto the fabric of my mind; and the realities of that fateful day will be with me for the rest of my life.
In September 2014 I was called to Shenley Christian Fellowship as their Senior Church Leader, my first pastorate in charge, and it had been a non-stop roller coaster journey. In short, my work pace over these past two years had become increasingly unhealthy. It was consuming me – and people noticed! So I decided to invest in a passion of mine to give me something else to focus on. I love cars, bikes – anything with an engine. So I invested in a motor tricycle - a three wheel adapted motorbike. On Saturday, 2 April I journeyed down to Guilford and bought my beautiful new machine. The following week I was on holiday so the trike sat in the garage. But on Friday, 8 April, back from holiday, I took it out for my first proper ride. I was only riding it for some 15 minutes and all was going well until somehow, slowing down to round a corner, I lost control. I’ve heard it said that fear paralyses the mind and in that split second of realising that I had lost control, I felt a fear that I’ve never experienced before. So great was it that I lost consciousness.
I came too lying on my side with the trike, smelling strongly of petrol, on top of me. I’d hit a 30mph speed sign. My right knee was shattered, my lower leg ripped open top to bottom and my ankle twisted and pretty much destroyed. I came close to dying at the scene of the accident having lost a lot of blood.  Members of the public, two fire engines, an ambulance, at least one police car and the Air Ambulance rushed to my aid. My injuries were so severe that I had to be airlifted to the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

My first operation was to try and rebuild my leg through some seven hours of surgery. However in the early hours of the morning I faced death for a second time as the leg started to die and I went into multi-organ failure. Early on the Saturday morning I was rushed back to theatre for my second operation where they amputated my right leg through the knee. Thankfully my organs started functioning again and I narrowly avoided Intensive Care. On the following Tuesday I had my third operation, to remove more of my right leg, now a stump, to prepare it for a prosthesis.

I spent two weeks in Oxford. The first week I remember little about, pumped full of pain controlling medication, oxygen, at least five units of blood and scans to identify a potential blood clot in my lung. The second week I was more lucid and I was then transferred to Milton Keynes for a further week to convalesce, before being discharged. I returned to work on a phased return plan in mid-July.
Since the accident my physical healing has proceeded very well overall and I am the proud owner of a prosthetic leg (which has earned me the nickname ‘The Prosthetic Pastor’). However the psychological trauma is hitting me hard and that will take quite some time to come to terms and deal with.
But in all this I know one thing above all – Jesus commands my destiny! On that fateful day and shortly afterwards the devil sought to take my life.  1 Peter 5:8 says “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”.  I understand more now the depth and reality of this verse. But I also know the power of God to thwart the devils schemes. Someone from our church had a picture that at the time of the accident God sent His angels to catch my arms, back and head. Psalm 91:11-12 says “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”. Despite the severity of my destroyed leg, I had no other injures at all, save a small fracture on my cheekbone. That verse – and the picture are true.
I don’t have all the answers. I still don’t understand why it happened to me. I find myself questioning things that before I was decided upon. I stare in the mirror, struggling to understand that the physical image I now see is actually me. I find myself crying at different times, unable to explain why. I ask myself the question ‘who am I now’?  ‘What am I to do now’? I wrestle with feelings of guilt as I see what I’ve put my family and church through.
However, in my confusion, grief and struggle, I cannot and will not turn my back on my Saviour. I know Jesus will use this experience to build His Kingdom, of that I am assured. Now my life is more about Him than me. People have already been impacted by my story and I am here to be used by Him as a testimony to the day God saved my life!

Ross Dilnot is Senior Church Leader at Shenley Christian Fellowship, Milton Keynes


Baptist Times, 16/09/2016
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