Bruce Van Natta: Saved by Angels
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CBN.com Bruce Van Natta loved trucks and his job as a self-employed diesel mechanic helped this Christian family man live out his power truck dreams and provide for his wife and four children. He never gave a second thought to the danger of working on engines that weighed thousands of pounds until November 16, 2006.
"I was working on a PeterBuilt logging truck about an hour from our home," Bruce tells The 700 Club. "The guy I was working with, the driver of the truck, asked me if I would look and try and diagnose one more problem, one more leak before I left.
"So, if you could picture one of these great big Petebelt trucks, here’s the front bumper, and I slipped underneath the great big bumper feet first. He had the front axel jacked up in the air and the passenger side wheel removed. I slipped underneath that great big chrome bumper feet first, I said to him, 'You jump up inside and see what the temp of the engine is.' The axle is going right across my chest at this point, maybe an inch or two above my chest."
Just as Bruce slipped under the truck, the 20-ton capacity jack holding up the truck shot out from its position.
"This 10,000 to 12,000 pounds of weight that is on these two front wheels, on this axel, came down across my mid-section, basically like a blunt guillotine, and just crushed me in half. Blood had splattered into my throat when it fell. I looked down and I could see that there was less than an inch or air space between the bottom of the axel and the cement. I knew the thickest part of my body was maybe two inches thick.
"The man who jacked the truck up, I begged him to get me out from underneath the truck. He didn’t want to because he could tell that I had to have a broken back and I did. The vertebrae in my spine were cracked the width of the axel.
"I tried to pull my self out from under the truck. It was the most incredible pain you can think of. I got myself just to the point where my head is sticking out from underneath the front bumper of the truck. The very next thing, I just called out, 'Lord, help me.' I called it out twice."
Instantly, all of the pain left Bruce’s body.
"At that point, I became unconscious. My spirit left my body and floated into the ceiling, and now my spirit is looking at the accident scene from above.
"The man I had been working with was on his knees above my body. I can hear him saying things like, 'I’m sorry. I’m sorry.' But on each side of him, also on their knees were huge angels. They would have been about eight feet tall. They didn’t have wings, just very, very broad shoulders. Between the two angels and him, it took up the whole truck.
"There was a bright light shining around each one of them. They were matching bookends. They didn’t budge; I never heard them say anything. They just had their arms underneath the truck, not holding the truck up…but they had their arms angled in toward my body.
"There was no pain, just peace. I can’t even describe the peace I felt in the ceiling up in the garage."
Bruce knew he had a serious choice to make.
"I was definitely on the very edge of life and death. There were two thoughts in my head. One was, 'Shut your eyes and give up and die. You are just going to go to heaven anyway.' It was very loud. There was another voice in my head, much quieter. Much more of a whisper, 'If you want to live, you’re going to have to fight and you are going to have to fight hard.' The next thing I knew, my spirit went back down into my body just like a shot."
Bruce was conscious as he was flown on a life flight to the hospital. Doctors there doubted he would even survive the next few hours. His ribs were broken, his pancreas and spleen crushed, and several major arteries had been severed.
"We found out from doctors later that I had five places that major arteries were completely severed. I found out from doctors that were was a medical study done in 2001. According to that study, by the University of South California, they’ve used my case and compared it against that study. According to that, they can’t find anyone else in the world that has ever lived with five major arteries being severed.
"I should have bled to death in a few minutes. So, my thought is the angels were there to somehow hold me together."
Bruce stayed in the hospital for over two months and survived five major surgeries. Yet he had overwhelming obstacles to overcome. Almost 75 percent of his small intestines were crushed in the accident and had to be removed.
"An adult has 18-20 some feet of small intestine. I was down to less than 100 cm of small intestine. Someone came in and told us that didn’t expect me to live much more than a year, that I was going to starve to death. I was losing weight very rapidly; they were feeding me intravenously."
Bruce’s once 180 lb frame dropped to 126 lbs. But his family was praying and his community rallied around him. He received an unexpected visitor in his hospital room one day.
"The Lord woke up a man in New York two days in a row. Someone that I met one time on vacation. He came and prayed for me in the hospital. Put his palm on my forehead, and when he prayed, he prayed the way Jesus taught us to pray. He spoke to the mountain, in this case my small intestine, 'I command you to supernaturally grow back length in the name of Jesus Christ.' When he did, I felt like 220 volts come out of his palm into my forehead, right into my body. I could feel my intestines moving around and up and down. "
After long nine months of surgeries and hospital stays, Bruce was eventually able to feed himself and gained weight, all the way up to 170 lbs. When he returned for testing, radiology reports and doctors confirmed that he had almost nine feet of small intestine. His intestineshad doubled in length.
"When they tested me, they said that the small intestines the Lord gave back to me were twice as good as normal. They absorb, even though it is half the amount…they work just as well if I had all of it, so they are twice as good as normal. They absorb the vitamins, the minerals, the nutrients I eat into my body.
"Over and over, the Lord kept confounding the doctors from the point of saying I shouldn’t lived. I should have bled to death. My intestines miraculously coming back. God was showing miracles were happening. My pancreas rejuvenated by itself. My spleen rejuvenated by itself. Miracle after miracle, God just showing up and showing Himself very real and very strong. He is a miracle worker."
"I think that one of the most powerful parts about my testimony is, despite myself, it raises their faith to say, 'Wow, if God would send angels to save him on an accident scene, knowing he didn’t deserve it,' then it raises people’s faith to the point they think 'God may do that for me.' Miracle after miracle.
"He is alive and well and wants to reach people at their point of need. He knows exactly what our needs are and He’s willing and capable to meet us at the point of our need.
"We’ve got a God that loves us more than we could ever imagine and He pours out His love in such an amazing way. That’s it’s indescribable."Can God change your life?
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