Fred, Diana & Daniel Adams in 1987


By Fred Adams

        At the time of his injury, Fred was working as a vocational teacher on a regular overseas call at Linda Vista Academy in Chiapas, Mexico--an academy his parents helped create years ago.  The accident that caused him to return to the U.S. with his family occurred on February 17, 1987.  Fred and Diana have since accepted a two-year Adventist Volunteer Service call to teach computer science at the same academy. --Editors


                                     It happened within five seconds.  I was helping with the construction of a large building that would house the school's furniture-making industry.  One truss snapped overhead, and the entire roof structure came down instantly.  The 15 tons of wooden roof trusses flung me down backwards to the concrete floor, and a numb feeling came over my body.  My neck was broken.  I was paralyzed.

            Until that moment everything had been going so well. My wife Diana and I were in our sixth year of happy married life, enjoying the challenge of rearing our lively 1-1/2 year old son.  I was involved in genuinely fulfilling work as a vocational teacher in the mission field.  Now in just five seconds everything had changed.

The Questions
            A long plane trip to Loma Linda University Medical Center in California was followed by surgery and five months of intensive rehabilitation.  I faced the future as a wheelchair rider, with no medical hope of ever walking or even using my fingers again.  Many times the question would come up:  "Why, God?  Sure, these kinds of things happen to other people, but to a missionary in overseas service?  God, I don't understand."

            I have been paralyzed for more than three years now.  I may never fully understand why God allowed me to become a quadriplegic.  But I don't have to.   Something occurred following my discharge from the hospital, something occurred that has helped me to understand the situation a little better.

Partial Answer
            Our son, Daniel had been sick all day, and couldn't keep food or liquids down.  By evening he was weak and very thirsty.  Nevertheless, our pediatrician informed to wait two hours from the time Daniel had last attempted to take liquid.  Then he could have two tablespoons of water.  If he kept it down, he could have increasing amounts every half hour.

            It was 7:00 p.m.  Daniel was already pleading for a drink.  It was an agony for us as parents to hear his heart-wrenching sobs and pitiful cries:  "Mama, wa-wa.  Daddy, d'ink p'ease."  Again and again Daniel pleaded.  The time seemed to go by so slowly!  How we wished 9:00 p.m. would come!

            As loving parents we wanted to explain the situation to Daniel--that he would get the drink he wanted so badly, that we were making him wait only because this was the best thing for him in that situation.  But he was too young to understand.  He kept on pleading:   "Mama, j'oos p'ease."  Oh, how our hearts ached for him!  But if we had given it to him then, it would have done more harm than good.

            As we waited through those long, agonizing moments with our son, I began to think about my situation.  Every day I would plead with God for healing, asking for a perfectly good thing.  Then I realized that God is suffering here with me, and with every other person in this world who suffers.  I can almost feel His big loving arms around me, holding me close to His shoulder.  He softly strokes my head while big tears roll down His cheeks into my hair.

            And He says, "Fred, I love you even more than you can understand.  I have the power, and really want to heal you; but it isn't the right time yet.  My precious child, I am so very sorry that I had to permit this to happen to you.  Oh, what I would give if there were any way to spare you from this!  But Satan must be permitted to demonstrate his works of darkness before the universe.  That old dragon claimed that he should be king!   Well, just let everyone see what Planet Earth has become under his rulership.

            "My child, you are fulfilling the highest purpose you could ever have in existing--to vindicate My goodness to the universe.  When the other created beings see how sin destroys all that is beautiful and causes only sorrow and suffering, no one will ever again question My sovereignty.  Because of your suffering, millions of billions will be spared such agony.

            "My child, someday soon I will make it up to you.  Satan and his followers will be eternally destroyed, and I will wipe away all tears.  Even now I am preparing a new home for you, one that far surpasses your wildest dreams.  Just you wait!"

            And He is sobbing still, squeezing me close--unable to speak anymore.

             Little Daniel was able to have his raging thirst satisfied that night, and by the next morning he was feeling better.  Just as certainly as Daniel was healed, I know that God can heal me at any time, either instantly or gradually.  But if He doesn't, that's OK.  I definitely will be healed when Christ returns.  I can continue to live and work for Him, paralyzed as I am, confident that He will do what is best for me.

            God loves each of His created beings so much more than I will ever be able to love Daniel.  But certainly the love I have for Daniel is helping me to grasp the reality that God is a caring Father in whom I can fully trust!

Published in Adventist Review, March 22, 1990

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