Veteran Motocross Rider Defies the Odds
By Randy Rudder
The 700 Club
CBN.com -“To be good at motocross, you had to be fearless, and you had to have guts,” says G.L. Woods of Morgantown, Indiana. “I was all into that: the faster the better, the higher the jumps the better.”
G.L. loved everything about motocross: the thrill, the excitement, and the danger.
“My number plate on my motorcycle was 911, and I told the guys I rode with, ‘Don’t try to keep up, unless you’re prepared to call 911.’ If you had stitches, or unfortunately had some broken bones, that was just part of the cost. It was no different than buying boots, helmets and equipment,” Woods says. “I always used to say, ‘If you’re not crashing once in a while, you’re not riding fast enough.’ I felt invincible.”
The damage to his body did nothing to curb his passion. “I broke my back in four places,” he recalls. “At 18 years old, I healed pretty quickly, and I think that was a bad thing, because, I had gone through one of the worst accidents that I would go through, and I recovered fine from it. So it almost gave me an even further sense of invincibility.”
As a teenager, G.L. professed his faith in Christ, but as he got older his priorities were on other things. “I was too busy for God. I was too busy for that relationship,” he says. “I knew He was who He was, but I just didn’t take time to really understand Him.”
Eventually he married Tina and they had two children. He also became a successful financial planner. Even now, in his late 30s, G.L. was still riding motocross bikes. And still feeling invincible.
“The year my twins were born, I actually broke both of my shin bones, and they stuck out of the skin,” he says. “But even that, a little surgery and some pins and rods and screws, and I was back on the bike again. So it didn’t scare me. And I wish it would have.”
Now making money and motocross were the only things that mattered. “I knew there were parts of my life that were not pleasing to God,” he says. “I kind of convinced myself that this was OK, because I would just make sure that some day, before I died, I would change. I would reconcile with God. I would make things right.”
G.L. almost didn’t get that chance. In 2004, he was riding with a friend in the coal mining country of West Virginia. “I came around this corner and I realized there were a couple of people that were on ATV’s. They were coming out of the mountain, and I was going up into the mountain, so we were going in opposite directions. And in all of the commotion, trying to get stopped, I got sent over the handlebars.”
The next few moments were a blur. “It happened so fast, but yet everything was in slow motion. When I came to a stop, I was on my back, and I was staring up into the air. I couldn’t catch my breath,” G.L. recalls. “At that moment I panicked, because I realized that I hadn’t just knocked the wind out of myself at all--I had just paralyzed myself.”
While others went for help, G.L. lay helpless on the ground. “I call that my moment of truth because at that moment, I didn’t have one thought about how big my house was, or the amount of money I had in the bank, or what I had parked in the driveway. Lying on that ground, all I really wanted to do was play with my kids.”
When G.L. finally got to a hospital, he called his wife. Tina recalls that day. “I kept thinking, ‘Maybe once I see him, maybe it’s not true,’” she says. “I didn’t want to face the fact that he would be a quadriplegic.”
His doctors then told him the prognosis was bleak. “The doctor came into my room. I asked him, ‘How long am I going to be paralyzed?’ He said, ‘Mr. Woods, I’m sorry. I don’t think you understand. There is nothing we can do for you.’ To me, that was final. I knew I had done the unthinkable. Here I had led the life of that ‘911’ mentality, and all of a sudden that mentality became reality. And I realized, I’m not invincible.”
G.L. was sent to a rehabilitation hospital. Tina and other family members prayed for him to recover, but the odds were still not good. “Luke 18:14 says, ‘he who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. I spent most of my life exalting myself, and going to that facility was the most humbling thing I ever experienced, having to count on total strangers to do everything for you. I remember thinking ‘I can’t do this. I’m not prepared. I’m strong enough for this.’”
G.L. was ready to give up and began asking God to let him die. About that time, a friend’s dad came to visit him. He asked G.L. some tough questions. “What he asked me was, ‘If God had decided to end your life that day, would you have at least been ready?’ And I thought, ‘I don’t know.’ He said, ‘Let me tell you something, boy. If the answer to that question is ‘I don’t know,’ that’s ‘No.’ I’d spent all my life thinking, ‘I’ve got plenty of time, but I’ll change, I’ll reconcile with God, when I get around to it.’ And that ridiculous thinking not only almost cost me my physical life; it could have easily cost me my eternal life.”
After that visit, G.L. cried out to God. “I don’t know how to describe it. I just remember feeling comfort. I just remember feeling that, however it was going to be, it would be OK. I’ll be able to handle it. And that was my turning point. I started going around with a totally different outlook. I finally decided I wanted to make it. I wanted to get back to be the husband that my wife needed me to be. I wanted to get back and be the dad that my kids needed me to be. I was going to fight.”
“One of the therapists said, ‘While you are here, we’d like to get you to set some goals. What would you like to accomplish while you are here?’ I said ‘I want to walk again.’ She said, ‘Whoa, whoa, let’s not get carried away.’”
Then to the surprise of his caretakers, G.L. began to improve. “I was lying in bed one night, and all of a sudden, one of my fingers started moving, and things started happening. And they were amazed.”
Six months after the accident, G.L. took his first steps. He wrote about the accident and his journey of faith in his book, Faith 911. He also speaks to men’s groups around the country. And even though he now walks with a slight limp, he knows that God is in control of his life.
Woods cautions those who may think they have all the time in the world to get right with God. “Don’t wait until it’s too late. Don’t take time that you think you have because you don’t know. You can be given a second chance and do nothing with it, or you can be given a second chance and actually do something with it. I think it’s important that we take our knowledge of Him, and our love of Him, and do something with it,” he says.
“I don’t understand why God has done for me what He’s done,” G.L. says, but I’m going to spend the rest of my life proving to Him that He made a good decision.”
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