“I had to learn the lesson that my timing is not God’s timing, and God knows everything.” Nancy Hunter
Sometimes no matter how well we plan out our lives, things don’t go quite the way that we plan them. We plan and we save and we set everything up to go the way that we want it to go. We line our lives up so that things will go according to plan. And everything works out. Until it doesn’t.
Matt fell in love with water at an early age. He started wakeskating (think skateboarding, but on the water) and it wasn’t long until the sponsors came knocking at his door. He teamed up with Nike and Malibu Boats and before he knew it, he was thrust into the world of professional wakeskating, traveling the world and doing what he loved. All at the age of 15 years old.
There was a tugging at Matt’s heart, He couldn’t shake this sense that he was being called to the ministry, even though he felt supremely underqualified for a life of sharing the gospel. But sure enough, God spoke to him clearly through a friend and it wasn’t long before he was enrolled in school to study theology.
Matt was set to graduate and enter the world of full time ministry. He and his wife were ecstatic. The weekend before his final exams, though he had pretty much given up a career in wakeskating, he entered a pro tour contest to earn some extra money. Matt was the first rider out of the gate, and through a freak accident, found himself pulled at nearly 30 mph into the shoreline, which was lined with cinder block and rebar.
Matt cracked his skull in 16 places, had 13 screws and 3 plates put in his face, broke his jaw, crushed his hand, broke his tailbone, and had rebar go through his leg. Matt’s ministry career suffered its first setback. Over the next 8 months, Matt made a slow but full recovery and was struck at how, just like Paul says in 2 Corinthians, God’s power was truly made perfect in Matt’s weakness.
It’s not that we were courageous or brave. We had fears and doubts. What was bigger than our fears or doubts was our trust.
About a year after his accident, Matt was asked to help with a ministry that taught inner city kids how to water ski, wakeboard, and wakeskate. The job came with a chance to not only teach what he loved, but to share his story and testimony, which seemed like a perfect fit.
Shortly after making his decision, he was helping at a local church in his area, trimming trees. Somehow, a power line arched to the metal bucket that he was standing in, sending 14,000 volts of electricity through Matt’s body.
“The power company told me, ‘At a minimum, this is the same as if we hooked you up to 6 electric chairs and flipped the switch. We’re not sure why you’re alive.”
Matt suffered 4th and 5th degree burns, melting most all of the skin off of his chest and arms, and going deep enough into his body to kill bone and muscle. Matt’s wife was working at the church at the time, and once the ambulance got there, they told her to say goodbye because they thought there was no way that anybody could possibly survive injuries like the ones Matt had sustained. He was rushed to surgery and though he was alive, he was in a coma.
There would likely be brain damage, they’d have to take Matt’s arms, his kidneys would fail, and electrocution injuries almost always come with heart damage. But God wasn’t done with Matt.
A few days later, Matt woke up and began to speak. His kidneys never failed, his heart was just fine, he kept his arms, and there was zero brain damage as a result of his injury. The injury that should have killed him. The doctors were amazed, but Matt wasn’t. The doctors told Matt that he’d be in the hospital for at least a year.
He was released in 3 months, and was even able to make it out of the hospital to be there for the birth of his first child, who his wife was carrying at the time of the accident. He’s undergone over 70 operations in the past few years. As he puts it, healing from injuries like these is a full time job.
Matt is now a highly sought after public speaker, telling his story to thousands of people. He is living proof that no matter how big your problems, or just how dark things seem, God is faithful to carry you through the hard times. God is bigger than your problems, and bigger than your disappointments. God will carry you through.
Laddie Calloway, deacon at First Baptist Orlando and founder at Dieago’s LLC, learned this when he faced sexual addiction. His reliance on God and his brothers in Christ is what ultimately led him to leave his life of sin, and begin living his life for Jesus. Laddie came to know the Lord personally, and now uses his past with sex and porn addiction to relate to and inspire others facing similar struggles.
Addiction can take hold of anyone it does not discriminate. Tim Ryan of A Man in Recovery knows the consequences of this disease firsthand. He has gotten clean, by the power of God, from the inside of a prison cell. He lost everything . . . but still found hope. He now tours the country sharing this hope with others.
Kristi Overton Johnson experienced many falls on the water but always had her father on the shores calling out to her “Hit it. You can do it, baby”. Just like her dad called out over the waves, our Heavenly Father wants to say the same to us whenever we face our own seas of despair. In Episode 2 Kristi explains the lessons of failure and victory and how she overcame the voices of defeat. She believes every one of us has a voice of truth and encouragement calling out over the waves.
Kristi Overton Johnson spent over 20 years as a professional water skier and learned a lot of lessons during that time. She’s put those lessons to practical use with her ministry, Kristi Overton Johnson Ministries. In this inaugural episode of The Victorious Living Podcast, Kristi shares why she wanted to start a podcast, and what you can expect from each episode.