Garret and Jennifer Jones

Garret and Jennifer Jones
Garrett and Jennifer Jones

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Brandon Remembered #2: Change in the Chapel

I mentioned last week that I would try to share stories of our journey with Brandon, which I hope you will enjoy.
In January of 1997, Brandon was in a classroom where some horseplaying was going on before school started. Some guys wrestling around fell against him as he stood leaning against a chalkboard. They feel against him and his right femur (upper bone in the leg) split longways, and he was rushed to Childrens hospital. Because of his size, about 6'-4", 275 LBS. and only a sophmore in high school, the head orthopedic specialist for UAB sports medicine was called in. Surgery involved plates, pins and screws to put everything back together. But severe nerve damage was done during the break and he experienced excruciating burning sensations in his foot. At times, he could not stand to have a Kleenex touching it. In March, he was admitted to UAB so the pain management team could try some medications and a TIMS unit to try and improve his condition. During this stay, I came into his room one day after getting off from work, and Janell's mom, who stayed with him during the day while we worked, told me she could no longer stay with him. His personality and demeanor was changing. He was becoming combative, argumentative and disrespectful. She left to go home. I asked a nurse for a list of his medications. She brought it to me, and I told Brandon I needed to go to the chapel and pray about what to do. I was going to eleminate some of his medications, not even knowing what they were, but I wanted God to guide me. I asked Brandon if he wanted to get in a wheelchair and go with me. (note: cancer had not yet been found, but the bone was not healing in normal time and they were getting concerned, but never suspected cancer) He said he'd go with me, and down to ground floor we went. With him sitting beside me, I sat on the end of a pew, and prayed. After several minutes, I told him I was through and asked if he needed to pray or wanted me to pray for him about anything special. He looked at me very sternly, and said "Yeah, there's a few things I want to tell God", and the way he said it sent chills down me. I thought this doesn't sound good. Brandon's anger was intensifying weekly. He knew that football had been taken away from him, even though Auburn coach Terry Bowden had shown some interest already. I watched as he prayed silently and I saw the trembling lips, the tremoring fists, and the cold stern expression on his face get worse. And this silent battle went on for ten to fifteen minutes. I then saw a change starting to come over him. Stillness took the place of trembling, color returned to his relaxed hands, and softness replaced sterness. After about another 10 to 15 minutes, with tears coming out of his eyes, he opened them, looked at me and said he could go back to his room now. I asked what had taken place. He said "Dad, everythings OK now. I am saved now, and I wasn't when I came in here" Talk about shocking! I asked what happened. He said he just told God he didn't appreciate having everything his future had held being taken away, what kind of thanks was that for all the church services, prayers, choirs and things he had "done" for God? He said he pretty much told God if that was what being a Christian meant, having your dreams crushed, he could do without Him. And jokingly, I asked "What did God have to say about that?". Then he replied, "God told me He had listened to me, and now it my turn to listen to Him. He said I knew in my heart I wasn't one of His, that all those things I tried were to fool everybody into thinking I was a Christian, when I was just a hypocrite, and I wasn't fooling Him." By this time I'm beginning to feel like my eyes are gonna pop out of my head. I asked him, "You literally heard God say that? Brandon replied "As clear as I'm hearing you, Dad." I was blown away. Never had I heard an audible voice from God. Just that small little "voice" that speaks when your doing something you shouldn't be, or going over options of a situation, and having that voice let you know when you said the right one. And so I had to ask the obvious follow-up: Did He say anything else? And Brandon replied "Yeah, He said that what I'm fixing to go through, I won't make it without Him." I said What does that mean?" Brandon said, "Dad, I don't know but that's what He told me. But I don't have to worry, cause He's in control now. I just gave it all over to Him. We're in this together." Four months later, cancer is found.
I'll be back......

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