B.H. McDaniel was a very successful orthodontist with a thriving practice. He also loved to fly his plane for a hobby. One day, he was flying from El Paso, TX to Lufkin, TX, when the engine stalled, and he couldn’t start it again. He was over the Davy Crockett National Forest, so an emergency landing was going to be almost impossible. But God was with him every step of the way. He looked down and saw an opening among the trees. He tried to set the plane down in the little spot, but it was too short for landing. His plane hit hard, skidded into the trees on the other side of the field and broke into flames. B.H. broke his back in the crash and lay helpless as the fire began to burn.
By the providence of the Lord, a farmer saw the plane go down and hurried to the wreckage. He pulled the Doctor to safety just in time, as the aircraft was engulfed in flames.
B.H. was taken to a local hospital. That started the long journey of healing, then therapy. It was going to take over two years to get even limited use of his legs back. Naturally that was to wreak havoc on his orthodontic practice.
Enter Dr. Stephen Kerr. Stephen had attended dental college in the early days with B.H. and they had become fast friends. One school day without really thinking about it, the two men made a “friendship pact” (much like David and Jonathan in the Bible) that they would take care of the other’s family in case something happened. Then they went on without ever really thinking about it.
Now something had happened! There was B.H. lying paralyzed in a hospital bed. He opened his eyes to see Stephen standing in the room. It was good of him to come to B.H. and give support in his darkest hour. But he did more than that. Stephen was there to stay. He was an orthodontist also. He immediately went home to Houston and shut down his own practice. He sold his home; then, he and the entire Kerr family moved to El Paso to run the clinic for B.H. He purchased a portion of B.H.’s practice (to give him cash) and then shared the profits with him to give B.H. an income.
That kindness lasted 12 years! That’s right! He did the work and shared the income with B.H. until the injured man could get around — first on crutches, then canes, and when he could sit to do his work. Only then did Stephen sell his interest in the business back to B.H. and go home.
“How do you thank a friend like that?” Asked B.H. “You couldn’t if you tried 100 years” *
“A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” – Proverbs 18:24
Because of our sin, you and I were facing the “plane wreck” of eternal destruction (cf. Matthew 7:13-14), but Jesus came to us (see John 1:14). But He did more than that. He died on the cross to pay the price for our sins (Ephesians 1:7) so that we might live eternally with Him in heaven.
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” – John 15:13. Jesus demonstrated this kind of love for us. He is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother.
How do you thank a friend like that? You can’t, even if you tried 1,000 years! But you CAN be grateful, and you CAN accept His offer of salvation by placing your faith and trust in Him (Acts 16:30-31), turning from sin in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38).
—David A. Sargent, Minister; Church of Christ at Creekwood