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The 700 Club with Pat Robertson


Discovering New Life After Broken Dreams

By Christine McWhorter
The 700 Club -“You know, horror enters your life so unexpectedly. One minute you’re fine. One minute you’re sleeping. One minute you’re working out, and then all of a sudden the world is just- it’s like this earthquake comes and shakes you up. And that’s what we felt like,” said Heidi Burke.

“It was 3 in the morning on a Sunday when Heidi Burke received a phone call that her 19 year-old son Daniel had been in a car accident. His neck was broken and paramedics were rushing him to a hospital in Birmingham, Alabama, near his college.

The first thing she and her husband Michael did, was turn to God. “We were immediately on our knees together pleading to the Lord,” said Heidi.

They caught a flight from Virginia to Alabama and met with doctors. Daniel had a C-4 crushing spinal injury. His spine was not completely severed, but it was damaged badly. Doctors believed Daniel had only a 1 in 100 chance of ever walking again.

“You can’t grasp it all. The grief comes in waves, and goes away, and comes in waves,” said Heidi.
Doctors performed emergency surgery to repair as much damage as they could.

Daniel remembers waking up. “I couldn’t move anything at all or feel anything. It was like waking up and having just a head; not being able to move anything else; not being able to talk; barely able to breathe on your own – actually not able to breathe on your own;  just living life through your eyes,” said Daniel.
The reality that he might never walk again led him to examine his relationship with God. “I would always think, “Why has this happened? If there is a God, why would He let this happen?” said Daniel
Daniel doesn’t remember much past those first two weeks. But for months his parents, friends, and church members prayed for his recovery.  

Heidi shared with us the scriptures she used in her time of prayer. “Colossians 1:9-14, ‘and we pray that the way Daniel lives will always honor and please You, Lord, and that his life will produce every kind of good fruit. We pray that Daniel will be strengthened with Your glorious power. So we include physical strengthening, spiritual strengthening, mental strengthening, so he will have all the endurance and patience he needs,’” said Heidi.

Then one day he had a breakthrough. “The first movement we saw was in Alabama when he was able to [move his arm]. And then we started praying for his body to wake up. We would lay hands and say, ‘Lord please just wake up his arms. Wake up his legs. Wake up his feet.’ and so the big toe on his left foot would twitch,” said Heidi.

Progress was slow, but steady. Soon, he was strong enough to transfer to a rehab facility. His family and friends kept praying, and Daniel worked hard. After two months, he did something he had thought he might never do again.

“I was able to stand up very, very gradually and with a lot of difficulty. But that was the biggest accomplishment at that time.” said Daniel.

The first time I saw him standing I thought, ‘Gosh, he’s so tall.’ But that was huge. And I thought, ‘Look Lord, he said, ‘I’m going to do that and You gave him that ability,’” said Heidi.

And after just one more month of rehab he reached another milestone.

“I was able to walk; not very far, and not for very long, but I was able to walk, which was a great accomplishment. Then my recovery started to progress much more. I was able to walk with crutches and walk with more confidence. And I was able to take strides forward,” he said.

“My son can stand, and my son can walk. That’s huge. It’s huge.”

Today, Daniel he is able to walk on his own. He only uses crutches for safety. Since his injury, he says he’s thought a lot about his relationship with God. “I’ve had to re-evaluate why I believe in God and why I believe in Christ. Why do traumatic injuries happen? Why do traumatic instances happen?  To test our faith and help us to re-evaluate why we believe what we believe. My relationship with God is much stronger for having this happen.”

The Burke family is still praying that Daniel will recover fully. They say that Daniel’s progress came through good medical care, hard work, and prayer.

“It’s so very clear that we had a Heavenly Father who was very involved in this whole process,” said Heidi.

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