Jerry W. Lukensmeyer ~ Hampton, Iowa

            On November 13, 1950, I was pheasant hunting with friends when suddenly I felt weak. The next day, I developed a fever. That night I could not swallow a drink of water. Doctors immediately transferred me to University Hospital in Iowa City. I knew I was near death and was scared of meeting God in my sins. During the three hour drive to Iowa City, my wife, Jean, read from the Bible about the death of Christ. I saw nothing in it. When we arrived, they put me in an isolation ward. I was alone, and terrified.

            Life had been great up to this point. I won awards in school, went to college, married Jean, had four terrific children and managed a flourishing business. Life seemed great, yet I felt something was missing.

            Five years before, we went to a gospel meeting. Mr. Oliver Smith explained from the Bible “there is none righteous, no not one,” and that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10,23. He then explained that the Savior died so all might be saved and know they will be in Heaven (1 John 5:13). However, I let the matter pass.

            On November 16, 1950, I thought I would never see my wife again. Desperately, I searched my Bible longing for peace with God. It eluded me. Doctors diagnosed my condition as Bulbar Polio, (affecting the respiratory system, breathing and swallowing). My fever soared to 108 degrees and my respiratory count was eight. Doctors decided to put in a breathing tube in my neck called a tracheotomy.

            I tried to escape through a window but was quickly captured and returned. Troubled in soul, I reached for my Bible but the pages were only a blur. Envisioning my obituary in the newspaper, I tossed my Bible away and sighed. “God will just have to send me to hell!” Then suddenly I realized for the first time that when God said He gave His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die for my sins, it must be true (John 3:16). The burden of my sin was gone. I lay back quietly on the bed.

            The operation was done using only lemon juice for an anesthetic. Afterward, I was placed in an iron lung for nearly three weeks, with only my head sticking out. Often I was packed in ice to control my fever. I was very ill and could not talk. When I left the hospital on January 10, I weighed only 89 pounds. “By all rules of medical science, you should be dead,” said my doctor. I knew in my heart that God had wrought two miracles; He had saved my life and He had saved my soul. I was very grateful.

            I recovered and went back to work. Then, in 1994, problems from polio resurfaced. Several times that year and the next I came very close to dying. Then in 1996, a permanent tracheotomy was put in. Since then, I get all my food and water through a tube in my stomach. I am hooked to a breathing machine at night and talking is difficult. However, the Lord has been gracious. I know that He used polio to make me face the dramatic discovery, that I was a sinner in need of savior. I will always be thankful for this. Life is really great!