“things happen to us, but the only thing that truly matters is what happens within us.”
FINCASTLE, Va. (BP) – When Pastor Kevin Cummings stood to preach his sermon on Sunday, August 14, 2022, it was no ordinary feat for him. It was his first time preaching while standing since he experienced a catastrophic leg injury after being hit by an SUV in January.
Cummings, the senior pastor at Fincastle Baptist Church (near Roanoke), was helping his son and daughter-in-law relocate to Little Rock, AR. On an early Tuesday morning, Cummings and his son met at the apartment complex to begin unloading belongings into the apartment they were renting. Standing behind the U-Haul trailer, an SUV struck Cummings from behind, pinning him between the back of the trailer and the vehicle. It is still unknown why the SUV driver hit him.
Cummings said he knew one or both legs broke as he collapsed and began to scream in pain. Even during this traumatic moment, his instinct was to praise through the pain. “It was the most pain I’ve ever felt in my life,” Cummings said. “When I fell to the ground, I just keep saying over and over again, ‘God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.’ I kept repeating that over and over as I waited for the ambulance to come for what seemed like a long time but was really only a few minutes.”
After multiple surgeries, Cummings’ leg now has two plates and 21 screws permanently placed. The incisions left him with 50 stitches. He described his leg immediately after the accident as looking like a jigsaw puzzle. Doctors told him the breaks he endured were the worst they could be. Cummings and his wife stayed in Arkansas for about a month due to the surgeries and the immediate rehab. Through the incredibly painful experience, Cummings said he has never been more thankful for the support from the family of God.
God’s goodness became a recurring theme throughout Kevin Cummings’ recovery from a shattered leg. His physical therapist posted reminders above his therapy table.
“It was hard staying there in Arkansas for over 30 days, but we never felt alone,” Cummings said. “It was humbling to see and hear from people across the country.” The family received thousands of texts from all over, offering prayers and support. SBC of Virginia staff assisted the church with immediate needs. Fincastle Baptist members prayed and supported Cummings as they awaited his return. They would later even build a ramp for him to come onto the platform to preach in a wheelchair.
“We know we’re never alone as Christians because of our relationship with God, but we’re also part of God’s family, the Church,” Cummings said. “I’ve never been more grateful to be a part of the family of God, especially the SBCV family.”
Once Cummings was out of the hospital and back in Virginia, a long road of recovery awaited him. He would slowly move from a wheelchair to a walker, to crutches, to a cane, and eventually to walking on his own feet. The recovery process usually involves some form of physical therapy every day, whether through home exercises or guided by a therapist. Known for his passion and creative evangelism methods, Cummings used his time in physical therapy to have spiritual conversations. He invited his physical therapist, who is not a Christian, to listen to a Sunday service in March, during which he spoke about what he has learned spiritually through the accident.
In the sermon, Cummings said the phrase he kept repeating during this difficult season: “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.” After watching the service, his physical therapist posted that phrase on the ceiling for Cummings to view as he did his therapy exercises.
Cummings said his main takeaway from the accident had been a reminder of God’s goodness. He advises others going through hard times to focus on their hearts and not their circumstances.
“In life, things happen around us, things happen to us, but the only thing that truly matters is what happens within us,” Cummings said. “I can’t control what happens to me, including freak things, but I can always control my response.
“My prayer has been what Paul said in Philippians 1:12, that what has happened to me will serve to advance the Gospel. That’s been my prayer all along, and if I have a relationship with Jesus, I know He will ultimately heal my hurts because one day I will be with Him in Heaven.” ■
Originally posted August 18, 2022, in Baptist Press—updated and modified for the Proclaimer.
About the Author: Timothy Cockes is a Baptist Press staff writer.