CBN.com “I just knew something was wrong… I’d had this overwhelming urge to pray for Jeremy’s life… I turned on my radio and immediately I hear a caller say, ‘What happened on I-20?’ And the DJ responds, ‘The bus from Metro Church going to church camp at Louisiana State University has crashed’… I just screamed, ‘Dear God, no, no , no, no, not my Jeremy…’”
Terri DeShazo-Arnett’s 17-year-old son Jeremy was on that bus. It careened off the interstate, crashed into two concrete pillars and ripped apart.
At the time of the accident, the police confirmed five fatalities. Terri thought for certain that one of them was her precious son.
“I knew he was dead,” she says. “I was crying, but somewhere, what I’d prayed over him for two years came up and came out of my spirit. That’ s Psalm 91: ‘He’ll give His angels charge over us.’ As soon as I said that, I knew he would not die.”
Jeremy had been thrown 15 feet from the bus into the unforgiving concrete pillars. His lifeless body was burning in a toxic pool of battery acid and deisel fuel. Paramedics initially assessed him as too far gone to save. But a church youth director began to pray over Jeremy at the scene and convinced the paramedics to give Jeremy a chance.
“They said, ‘We just can’t believe he’s alive. We triaged him dead. He will never make it to the helicopter. He’s too far gone.’”
Jeremy was lifeflighted to Mother Francis hospital in Tyler, Texas. His heart stopped three times en route.
Dr. Fernandez, Chief of Trauma at Mother Francis, recalls, “We have three tiers of activation, and he was the highest level of activation, code 88. He was very critical when he came in.
“He had third degree burns over a significant portion of his body. On top of that, he had severe orthopedic injuries as well. They involved a femur fracture, multiple fractures in his pelvis. His foot was totally turned around, and we thought it was probably non-viable. He had some intracranial injuries.
“We were very, very concerned about him. His ability to survive the next minutes, let alone, the next several hours was our greatest concern.”
A nurse on duty when Jeremy arrived remembers the day well. “I just prayed and thought, this is out of our hands.”
Terri and Kevin, Jeremy’s stepfather, tried to steel themselves for what they would see when they arrived at the hospital.
Terri says, “All these machines are hooked up to him, and I am thinking, dear God, what has happened to my child?”
“It was a horrific sight and just took our breath away,” says Kevin. “It was getting worse, and I kept thinking, how can it get worse, but it did. His chest started getting bigger and bigger. His color changed to this ghastly grayish blue.”
Jeremy was bleeding internally. He was rushed back into surgery. Then Terri suffered another shock. She was asked to identify Jeremy’s personal belongings found at the scene.
“I thought, this is too final. Don’t ask me to do this.”
But amidst the reality of impending death, strangely Terri said she experienced another reality.
“I knew if I started agreeing with everything I felt, everything I heard, it all pointed one way, and that was towards death,” she says. “I thought, there is no way I will let Satan take my child, because I dedicated him to God.”
She prayed: “I declare, Father, in the name of Jesus that You said by Your stripes, Jeremy is healed. Jeremy, I say you are healed and you will fully recover.
“I would stand by his bed and sing,” Terry recalls. “These tears would just roll down my cheeks. The only thing that I would allow to be prayed over him was the Word of God, which is the ultimate authority.”
After two weeks, Jeremy was finally stable. He was going to live. But in what condition?
His bones were broken. His skin seared and multiple organs were traumatized including his brain. Doctors said that Jeremy would never be normal again. But Jeremy’s mother believed a different report.
Terri says, “I wanted the same child that left on that bus on June 24th. It was mine. The Word of God said that I could have it.”
But there were still many dark days ahead -- excruciating skin grafts, life-threatening infections, a brain injury that left Jeremy conscious, yet like a young child. In spite of the circumstances, Terri and her family refused to give up.
Faithful Christians everywhere were praying with them.
“It was the prayer of all God’s people going up and strengthening us so that we could stand, ‘cause boy, we really needed that,” Terri says.
God answered those prayers. Defying all the odds against him, Jeremy left Mother Francis Hospital five weeks after the accident that almost took his life.
He entered a rehabilitation hospital for four weeks before checking into his favorite place – his home.
With the tender loving care of his family and a few more weeks of out-patient therapy, Jeremy’s wheelchair gave way to crutches and then, the crutches to his strong, steady legs.
In January 2003, six months after he was almost pronounced dead, Jeremy made a triumphant entry into college.
Today, he’s a third year student working on a degree in music.
“By any measure, he should have died at the scene,” says the doctor. “He should have died in transit, and he didn’t. That wasn’t anything that we had any control over.
“You see tragedy after tragedy, and you wonder to yourself, there has got to be something better. Then you see something like this. You see the joy in their parents' eyes, and then you realize that this is what you are supposed to be doing.”
Kevin says, “That experience changed my whole life. I know that it was a privilege and a true miracle.”
How about the praying mom who looked death in the face and refused to blink? She’s written a book about the journey.
“I just look and say, ‘God, You’re so good. You are so faithful to Your Word.’ I look at him and say, ‘That is a gift from God that my son is here. He is fully recovered.’ It blows me away, the love of God. It’s made evident in Jeremy.”
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.