John Edwards Preaches Jesus From Hospital Bed
This is the story of an Irish man who traversed the cold, lonely streets barefoot due to homelessness, pricked his arm veins with increasingly lethal doses of drugs, and then miraculously turned his life around, walking and running long distances fueled by God’s love–as a living, breathing billboard for Christ. This is a story of hope and redemption, culminating with a powerful testimony from a hospital bed.
John Edward’s life is a patchwork of God’s love, intricately quilted for all to see that nobody–but nobody–is beyond God’s saving grace.
Here’s his story.
John Edward’s childhood was riddled with pain, as his mother and father fought and his father gradually became an alcoholic. In the midst of tumult, young John mimicked his father, turning to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain. For the next 24 years, John’s life consisted of alcohol, tranquilizers, and heroin.
It was a dead-end track. John was hopeless, homeless, and lonely. On frigid nights, he would call 911 to report an unconscious person and then lie on the street, waiting for the ambulance to pick him up so that he could have a warm bed and a reassuring pat from the nurse – simple human connection that he so desperately missed.
A wake-up call
But then, in 1984, John’s father died. Controlled by addiction, John didn’t make it to the funeral – compounding his grief. Then and there, he resolved to pick up the pieces of his life, vowing to work hard to patch them back together. Sure enough, over the next few years, he bounced from rehab centers to AA groups to psychiatric units – but he just couldn’t seem to muster up enough glue to mold his life back together.
It was only at a Christian meeting that John realized that maybe it wasn’t within his own power to patch his life together; maybe, just maybe, healing was within God’s realm. Not one to delay, he bowed down before his Creator, acknowledging God for the first time. According to John, “God zapped me with His love.” Today the chains of addiction hold him no longer.
Inspired by Genesis 12:17 – “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you” – John embarked on a harrowing journey, walking the length and breadth of Ireland, Wales, Scotland, England, and finally, the USA – no small feat. While in America, his health deteriorated. He soon learned that he had Hepatitis C, which had turned into full-blown liver cancer.
But God was still quilting John’s patchwork. John agreed to a liver transplant surgery, fully knowing that he could die – but trusting in God’s plan. Just 23 hours after this successful life-saving operation, John gave the following heartfelt, tear-jerking testimony from his hospital bed:
“God is just so good … The peace of God is just all over me. The presence of God is just with me so much … If you’re not a Christian and you’re facing your future, you have to have God with you. Because if I died during that operation, I would’ve gone straight to heaven. That’s why I wasn’t worried so much … But if you don’t know that you need to ask Jesus into your life. I hope and pray that you do.”
Triumph on the track and in the streets
With a healthy liver and a new lease on life, John decided to relentlessly pursue two others the way that God had relentlessly pursued him. Across Ireland, he is known for his compassion and care for the sick, addicted, and homeless. His fervent desire to help is a remnant of his own experience with addiction and homelessness.
But John demonstrates God’s love in yet another way. This 72-year-old man displays God’s ability to renew and regenerate his body, mind, and spirit on the track, competing in the Irish Transplant Games. But he didn’t just compete – he brought home three gold medals – in the 400 meter, 800 meter, and 1500 meter races. All this just 12 months after his transplant!
God’s beautiful creation
John’s success on the track and in life is due to his unwavering conviction that only God has the power to heal. Sure enough, God – in his faithfulness – quilted the broken pieces of John’s life together. Today this quilt is not a hodgepodge; it is a beautifully designed work of art – a stunning contrast of deep darkness and unfathomable light.