Singing carols led to former small-time criminal’s survival
Experienced truck driver Jason Whittaker might have regretted a snap decision to chase after his 30-tonne road train in an unloading shed, except for the many miracles that occurred that day in 2011.
"This accident totally changed my priorities and my direction in life," Jason declares.
As he raced to the cab, the prime mover side-swiped him against the shed's one-metre high concrete wall. He was spun and crushed on the spot, breaking bones in his pelvis and hips and spine, and crushing nerves in his hand, lower spine and foot.
In the next hour, alone and pinned to the wall, the pain became overwhelming and his chest swelled, restricting his breathing.
Believing death was near, Jason began to pray: "God, I'm in absolute agony, can you call me home now? Otherwise, let someone in the control room notice the door has been activated.'"
Five minutes later a control room worker arrived and Jason was soon helicoptered to hospital. His co-worker later said that an unexplainable prompting to go to the control room came over him.
Jason admits he questioned why God did not send someone to rescue him straight away, but now he realises that one hour delay brought co-workers and fellow patients to express interest in the God who saved him.
"My boss' wife has told me that a few co-workers were asking, 'Who is Jason's God?' They know there's no way I should be alive.
"As I look back, I really believe the Lord knows intimately what is going to happen with us. He wouldn't have let my accident happen if it wouldn't show how great and loving He is."
Now four years later, the pain of Jason's injuries keeps him from driving trucks and has instead steered him into community service, motivated by his Christian faith.
He is completing a ministry internship at his local church, and he facilitates free financial counselling courses as part of the community non-profit Christians Against Poverty.
"I run these courses to empower people to manage their money regardless of their financial situation, and help alleviate the stress of being in debt," Jason shares.
"Next year I intend to teach a money budgeting system to teens in the local school. I believe this knowledge is unfortunately lacking amongst our youth today."
Jason has been on a dramatic journey to have such thankfulness in spite of physical discomforts.
He confesses that some years ago he was part of a drug syndicate, for which he would harm people if they did not pay on time.
"I was working for a company that ran an operation not unlike a bikie gang. Knowing I had a criminal history, this business soon had me collecting debts. Some time after I called it quits, I met my wife."
His wife wanted their children sing Christmas carols in 2007, so Jason and his family visited a church in a nearby caravan park. Through this introduction, he began attending an Alpha course, which examines the evidence about Jesus Christ and why He died and rose again.
"When the course ended, the caravan park owner and I gave our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ and we were baptised in the park's swimming pool."
Jason said a simple prayer to God, confessing all his wrongdoings and surrendered control of his life to the Lord Jesus Christ, believing that He died on the cross to take the everlasting punishment he deserved.
Jason understood this forgiveness and new life was a free gift.
"Sometimes, the Devil, God's enemy, tries to tell me I'm not forgiven," Jason adds, "but I just remind him that because I trust in Jesus' Christ's sacrifice for my sin, I have been forgiven once and for all.
"In my new life in Jesus, I try to help people and talk to people, to do the opposite to what I used to do. Everyone at my former workplace knows that I am a Christian, I don't hide my faith."
As a miracle survivor, with a titanium plate holding the front of his pelvis together, Jason thanks God that function in his nerves has returned and he can walk unaided. •