Bret Merkle’s life changed forever on May 15th, 1986.

“I was driving down the road on my motorcycle heading to my college dormitory. I had just taken a friend across town to get a term paper. On the way back, there was a car in traffic waiting to turn. Being an impatient kid, I decided to go around him. At the last minute, he turned right in front of me. I hit his fender. My friend Mindy flew up over the top of the car and then hit the road. I slid with the bike, hit a curb and was catapulted into a tree. The tree did most of the damage. I busted my back and pelvis in 4 places. I was instantly paralyzed from the waist down.”

Because of the massive injuries to his spinal cord, Bret’s doctor wasn’t optimistic. In his words, “you will never walk again or father children.” Bret didn’t want to hear the news.

“I think everybody knew life wouldn’t be the same for me except me. It probably took me a good year to figure that out. It was through the recovery process I accepted the fact life wasn’t going to be the same.”

How did Bret initially take the dismal diagnosis?

“Up until the accident, I had faith in God. I had accepted Christ about a year earlier. The Bible says if you believe in your heart He raised his Son from the dead, you’ll be saved. I believe that. After the accident and spending six months in the hospital along with over twenty surgeries, I still had faith I was going to walk again. Although I did lose one of my legs, I am walking today. Even though the doctor didn’t think I would ever be able to have children, I am the proud father of four girls. During the hospitalization, I was completely focused on God and what He could do for me.”

Despite his faith, Bret admits his recovery was tough. At one time, he thought about ending his life.

“I really felt the medical experts were giving up on me. But I wasn’t giving up on God. In my eyes, if I gave up on God, or me I would be without hope. The hope was that God would let me walk again. But, when I got to the place where I realized I wasn’t getting what I wanted, I started to turn on Him. I was consumed with anger to the point of wanting to end my life. One night I went out with some friends and decided to drink and drown my sorrows. Afterwards, I came back to my parents’ house. I knew my father had a gun in a cabinet. It was a shiny, nickel-plated revolver. I grabbed the gun and wheeled up to a desk with my wheelchair. I put the gun to my head. I remember to this day the pressure on my finger from the trigger. I tried to pull the trigger, but it wouldn’t’ work. I don’t know if it was jammed or not. Something in me wanted to end my life. But, there was something else ---as if an angel from heaven reached out of the clouds, took the gun and set it on the desk. I knew it wasn’t my time to go.”

Hours later, Bret experienced what he describes as a miracle from Above.

“I wheeled myself up to the bed, threw myself on the bed and cried myself to sleep. The next morning, I woke up with a totally new outlook on life. For me, up until that time, my life evolved around me. That was the real pivotal point of my life where God taught me to quit looking at Bret and start looking at Him. I felt like God came to minister while I was in bed that night. I felt a new sense of life within me when I woke up. I believed God was telling me, ‘two years ago, you gave your life to Me and now you want it back. You need to take the focus off you and put it on Me.’”

From then on, Bret describes the paralyzing accident as a blessing in disguise.

“You have to find the hope. Without it, there is no life. My hope is in Jesus Christ. I believe it’s the only hope there is. If you can find the hope, it’s like flipping on a light switch in a dark room.”

What does it take to find the light?

“You find it through Christ in the word of God. Jesus Christ is the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings. If people are willing to turn to Him and give up the desire to live for themselves, they need to turn to Christ and say, ‘Lord, I’m willing to live for You, that’s when it all begins right there.’”

In light of his miraculous recovery, what is Bret’s life really like today?

“I believe I’m living the abundant life. I’ve learned through my adversity that life isn’t getting what I want. It is wanting what I get. I accept what it gives me. That truly is the abundant life.”

Thanks to his unbending faith, Bret Merkle is now living the abundant life---a life that includes a career as a successful trial lawyer, a loving wife and four beautiful daughters!

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