It was Saturday morning when John saw his neighbors playing with fire and gasoline. Being the active and curious kid that he was, he tried lighting a piece of cardboard at home and planned on pouring just a little bit gasoline from a 5-gallon can.
John couldn’t control the amount of gasoline that flowed to the cardboard, creating a huge explosion that threw John O’Leary 20 feet onto the other side of his childhood garage.
And just like that, the 9 year old John O’Leary had a 100% burn on his body. 87% of which was third-degree.
*Warning – disturbing graphic below*
Take the hand of Jesus
Young John was admitted to the hospital and he now tells of his heartbreaking interaction with his mother:
“’Mom am I going to die?’ And when I asked that question I was looking for hope,” said John.
“She looks me in the eyes and says ‘It’s your choice; It’s not mine.’ And I said, ‘Mama, I do not want to die. I want to live.’
And her response was, ‘Good baby, good. Then look at me. You take the hand of Jesus; you walk the journey with Him.”
After that day, John miraculously overcame the trauma of that fire. The path wasn’t easy, but today, he is a successful speaker National best-selling author. He’s married to a woman named Beth and they have four beautiful children.
He was living an inspiring life, but overtime grew to hate the scars on his body – until he had an encounter with God through his son, Jack.
Perfection in brokenness
“And my little 4-year-old Jack was shaving next to me. I have a real razor; he has a fake one. My shirt was off and I saw him staring at my stomach. My stomach is full of big, thick, red scars. And then he started tracking his finger along one of the scars. He looks up and says, ‘Dad, your tummy is red, bumpy, and it has ridges and I love it! And I love it.’ He saw within me beauty that I was unable to see within myself. And I think he sees through the lens of a child, which is also the lens that I think Christ sees us all through. The lens of non-judgment, the lens of full grace. The lens of being able to see perfection in brokenness.”
John’s message of living a radically inspired life isn’t about freedom from suffering, but about seeing pain with the right perspective.
This article is compiled by Le-Jovale Vallejo.
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