|Pastor's Dale & Tammy Miller|
In this post I desire to share with you about an extraordinary couple that I have crossed path with thirty years ago as I first attended Bible school. There was a group of us that tended to sit together in the cafeteria and just 'hang' out. In that group was two sweet people; Dale and Tammy.
Many who know them today have had their lives only enriched by the testimony that they have lived out one day at a time.
Pastor Dale Miller in his own words, sharing with the world his declaration of God's True Faithfulness through the brightest and darkest days of his life.
In the words of Pastor Dale Miller:
I came to realize my need for a Savior at the age of 5 years old. Up to that time, the worst I had done was pop M&Ms and snort pixie sticks! I remember kneeling down at our couch with my mom and committing my life to Jesus Christ.
I especially remember being water baptized at age 13. Our church did not have a baptistery, so someone bought a brand-new horse trough! I did not realize how privileged I was. When I came up out of the water, one of our deacons, Brother Sanders, took hold of me and asked if I wanted to be filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. I wasn't sure what all was involved, but decided it was a good idea since Brother Sanders was much larger than me!
Then in 1981, at a Sunday night service, I responded to the altar and felt like God was calling me into ministry. This was quite intimidating as I had not grown up in a pastor's family. Thankfully, our assistant pastor, Pastor Mark Lehman, began to disciple, and prepare me for what God had in store. He was the one that took 13 of us to check out Central Bible College in Springfield, Missouri.
|Dale & Tammy in the 1980's.|
I started attending CBC in 1983 (and graduated in 1987 with a Bachelor's in Bible). We were told that the college was called "Central Bridal College". I vowed that would never happen to me. Thankfully, God overruled! In the fall semester of '83, in speech class of all places, sat this beautiful young lady who caught my attention because of her joy and enthusiasm for life. My friends finally couldn't stand it that I wouldn't ask her out, so they went and ask her for me. She said, "If he is that interested, have him ask me out himself." Two months later, she actually forced me to marry her, but you can ask her for that part of the story. Imagine my parents surprise when I called home and told them I was engaged – they didn't even know that I was dating someone!
|Pastor Dale & Tammy being installed at their church.|
After graduation in '87 we started our lives serving our Lord in full capacity. The Lord blessed us with three children: (oldest to youngest) Kristen, Kyle, and Kody. In January 1998, we moved to Bloomington, Illinois to pastor Harvest Family Worship Centre on West Locust St.. To subsidize my income, I worked outside the church as a painting contractor. In the summer of 2002, God impressed two things upon my heart. First, this would be the last house I would paint. I was glad because I was tired of working outside the church. Second, there would be a fall. I didn't give this a second thought, because I had fallen off of ladders and scaffolding before!
On September 9, 2002, we were four hours from finishing the house. All that remained was the peak. I was on a ladder 30 feet in the air. I heard the ladder slide. I do not remember anything about the fall except landing on the ground. I had difficulty breathing and could not move my arms or legs...
The lady next door (an ICU nurse) stepped off her porch as I hit the ground. She was there immediately to help and call the paramedics. She had errands to run but could not get motivated to go do them. Finally, at 4:25 PM she left to go to her errands -- the very moment I fell.
If there was ever a time that God had lined up a series of miracles in my life, this was it. Only one ambulance in the city was equipped to handle situations such as mine. Of course, that was the only unit available to respond. When we arrived at the hospital, the pulmonary doctor was walking through the ER. He immediately noticed that my lung had collapsed and my windpipe was twisting in such a way that it was cutting off my air flow. God used this man to save my life.
Later, both neurosurgeons happened to be walking through the ER. If I made it through the night, surgery would be early the next morning. After surgery, the neurosurgeon said that God must be looking out for me. She had ordered screws and parts the week before. When the order came, it contained long screws which she had not ordered but were exactly the screws she needed for my surgery.
Because of a tracheotomy, I could not speak. I communicated by blinking my eyes or moving my lips. I was on the ventilator for two months. The pulmonary doctor told me I would be on it the rest of my life. Because of God's grace, I am no longer on a ventilator and breathing freely on my own!
When they loaded me into the ambulance and took me to the Rehab Institute in St. Louis, I was devastated. I felt as if God had left me and let me down. I was embarrassed, because the newspaper had done two front-page articles on our situation where I proclaimed that God was my healer. I went through a lot of depression while at St. Louis. Today, we continue to look to God for healing. Tammy and I, plus my children (who were 11, 9 & 7 years old at the time) identified with the three Hebrew children as they faced a fiery furnace: our God is able to deliver us; but even if he doesn't, we will still serve Him.
Financially, our part was somewhere around $175,000. Because of the community's support, we are debt free. A lady in the community even bought a van for us!
|Dale & Tammy|
|Pastor Dale ministering at his church.|
Although I am paralyzed from the chest down, I continue to pastor our church in Bloomington. I get around in a "sip and puff" wheelchair. Much of my filing material has been put on my laptop computer. I use "Dragon Naturally Speaking" software to surf the web, respond to e-mails, write my messages and whatever else is required of me. I have a great leadership team that takes good care of me and my family. My children grew in the Lord, with Him developing within them an amazing amount of godly character. My oldest; Kristen is now 22 and is a junior at Evangel University. Kyle is 20 and works at a local moving company in hopes to become a fireman soon. Kody, is now 18 finishing up his freshman year of college at Bloomington.
The real hero in all of this is my wife, Tammy. She has held the family together!
The promise scripture I have held close is Romans 4:17-21 "We serve... the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "so shall your offspring be. Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead – since he was about 100 years old – and that Sarah's womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had the power to do what he had promised."
Why would God allow this to happen to me or any other person?
The question assumes that God did allow this to happen to me. No one can prove that God did this; I refuse to sit around wondering if and why God allowed this. I do know this: from the moment I fell until today, God had people in the right place at the right time to take care of me. Sure, there has been much suffering involved, but don't forget that James 1:2-4 reminds us, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
Instead of looking for someone to blame, thank our Father in heaven for His many blessings that he has provided and will provide to bring you through any situation you may face. Don't forget, the enemy of our soul has every intent to steal, kill, and rob from us. But, God's word trumps the enemy's plans in our lives. All things still work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose! For me, these are not words on a page anymore. I continue to live this out every day of my life.
By ~ Pastor Dale Miller