Western star Clint Walker remembers a moment he had to rely on his faith after a skiing accident in 1971 where he was pronounced dead.
“I shoved off down the slope, gathering speed as I followed the contours of the twisting, irregular terrain,” Walker recalled in an essay published by Guideposts. “I still don’t know how it happened, but all at once I was tumbling out of control, and then—an abrupt, violent stop.
“As I fell, one of my ski poles up-ended in the hard-packed snow. The momentum and my weight as I fell on it drove the pointed tip about five inches into my chest, through the breastbone and into my heart.”
In that moment, Walker said he knew he was dying. As he waited for help to arrive, the actor thought about his life and realized what was important in his life. Walker prayed to God to help him stay alive.
“I said, ‘God, I’m really in trouble! I can’t help myself. I’m not going to make it, unless You will see me through—and I would like to stay around for a while.’ With that, I seemed content to let go,” he said.
Walker made it to the hospital but had no recordable pulse or blood pressure and was pronounced dead. However, the doctors kept working and performed open-heart surgery on Walker.
“The surgery was on Monday, May 24, and I left the hospital walking, eight days later,” Walker marveled. “I spent three days at the UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles and then went home. The end, you might say, of a remarkable experience.”
However, that was just the beginning. While being interviewed about the accident, Walker shared with the world the story of his answered prayer and people around the world felt the power of that message.
“I expected the usual get-well messages, and of course there were those, too,” Walker explained. “But the majority have one theme: ‘Thank you, Clint, for saying what you did. When a big outdoor guy like you will tell the world that he prayed for help, and got it, it strengthens my own faith.’”
“Up there on the mountain, I found a new appreciation of life,” he continued. “I realize now that if we are going to accept God’s help, we must accept it in His time and in His way. I have found that many of the problems I thought had to be solved at once can wait. And very often, it is in that time of waiting that the Creator speaks most clearly to us.
“The waiting is not always easy, but I understand more fully now the verse from Psalm 62 which has always been a favorite of mine: ‘My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.’—Psalms 62:5.”
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