Miracle at Lake Watauga - by Pat Franklin.

Dr Jim Pearson and his wife Debby, wonderful Christians who live in Tennessee

The car after it slid 150 feet down a cliff into Watauga Lake.

We are thanking the Lord for the lives of two dear friends in Tennessee who survived a horrific accident in which their car went over the edge of a steep country road, flipped over, knocked down two telephone poles, slid 150 ft down, and ended under the cold water of Watauga Lake. Dr Jim and Debby Pearson would have been a great loss to all the people who love and depend on them and we are so grateful to the Lord that they survived. This article has been put back on the  front page as it is so remarkable.

We first learned of this when an email arrived from Jim. The subject: 'Miracle'. The following is the email Jim sent. “In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and He heard me.” (Psalm 120:1) “My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day: for I know not the numbers thereof.” (Psalm 71:15) Dear friends and family, Debby and I want to thank everyone for the tremendous outpouring of love and concern for us after our accident on 1/10/09.

"The prayers on our behalf, calls, cards, E-mails, visits, food, etc. have overwhelmed us and we are thankful for each of you. It was really a miracle of God’s mercy that we survived and that Debby has recovered so quickly from her near drowning. Telling this story so many times the last 4 days has been emotionally draining, but many want to know the details. Here they are and reflections on things we have learned.

"On Saturday afternoon, after spending the morning working with Zack, Josh and Kaedon, Debby and I headed to our cabin at Watauga Lake to check on things. We strapped our two Yorkshire Terriers (Duncan and McDuff) in their carrying case and placed our two birds (Bertie and Clover) into the car and took off to the lake. I was getting sleepy and almost pulled over about a mile from the cabin, but “thought I could make it.” It was cold and drizzling and about a hundred yards from the cabin, I dozed off, ran off the left side of the road and was awakened by Debby’s cry.

"It was too late!! I stuck a power pole; the car spun around backwards and then plunged down a 150 foot bank. We flipped over several times, knocked down another utility pole and ended up submerged in the lake. We were both disoriented but still alive. Debby immediately began breathing in water. She was able to loosen her seat belt before she became unconscious. There was a small air pocket on my side of the car and I was able to take a breath, loosen my seatbelt and then God miraculously helped me escape from the car and pull Debby out.

"She was probably underwater for about 2 minutes and when she came out she was totally unresponsive, pale, her eyes fixed open and I really thought she was dead. After some rescue breaths, pulling her to shore and more rescue breaths God spared her life and she began breathing again. After she woke up I went back and tried to rescue our pets, but was not able to free them due to the frigid water temperatures causing numbness of my hands so that they would “no longer work.”

The longest 30 minutes of our lives was spent getting back up to the road and to our cabin. Debby was hypothermic and having a lot of trouble breathing from water aspiration into her lungs. We were able to get into the basement where there was a phone, heater and some towels. After calling Zack and 911, help arrived about 30 minutes later. Debby spent the night in the hospital on oxygen, but did not have to be intubated.

By the next day her lungs were much better and miraculously, neither one of us had any serious injuries except for some bruises, muscle soreness, and one superficial laceration. We are now home and recovering well physically, but still having a difficult time over losing 4 pets. I’m especially grateful knowing I could have lost so much more. God spared Debby’s life (and mine) for which I will always be grateful!!

Some lessons learned: 1) Always wear your seatbelts – had we not had them on, we most likely would have been thrown from the car and seriously injured or killed. 2) If you get sleepy, pull over right then! You may not make it (I didn’t!!) 3) Enjoy all the precious things God has given us in life to enjoy (puppies, birds, etc.) They can be gone in a few seconds. 4) Most important - When you have just taken a 150 foot plunge into an ice cold lake and you know you have but a few seconds to live, nothing you have (money, possessions, titles, 401Ks, etc.) can save you.

Only our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ can do that. We all have a natural fear of death, but we know that unless the Lord returns first, we will all have to take that step sooner or later. Saturday just wasn’t our day, but being that close has a way of getting your attention! We’re glad we didn’t have to go without saying bye to our family. Having our family separated would have been heartbreaking, but as Christians going to be with the Lord together would be unimaginable joy.

The day after we got Debby home from the hospital we got our mail and received the January 2009 edition of Bible Prophecy Insights entitled “What Happens When You Die?” I had read the main article by Dr. David Reagan of Lamb and Lion Ministries before, but this time I read it with renewed interest. It’s the best Biblical summary of what the Christian’s hope is that I have ever seen. You can pull it up by going to www.lamblion.com and typing “What Happens When You Die” into the search engine.

Debby and I don’t know why God chose to spare us, but we appreciate more that each day and our possessions are gifts to use wisely. We still grieve over the loss of 4 small “friends” that He allowed us to enjoy for the past few years, but we pray some good may come out of this tragedy. For us the greatest loss would be that anyone who reads an account of this “miracle” would not know Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior. That is our prayer for all of you and we thank God for each of you in our prayers. “O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive..., To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.” (Psalm 30:3a, 12) Jim (and Debby) Note: Jim is a pediatrician


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