Paul at graduation with Cru staff members Gary and Cherry Warrick. photo courtesy Gary Warrick
My Story: How My Life Changed

God Brought Me Through My Brain Injury

Paul Bayer finds Christ and gets another chance at life after a brain injury.

Paul Bayer with Jess Fong

Before I accepted Christ, I was all about living a lifestyle that would help me become really popular in high school. It was my number one focus.

I was raised in a Christian home, but my impression was that God was just some old guy in the sky and it didn't really matter what I did with my life. I thought, “He may be real, and if He is, I still don't really care to have Him around.” I was rather miserable during this time: I was willing to do just about anything to become popular.

God brought a young man named Lance into my life, and we agreed to start a young men's group. I still had not accepted Christ at that point.

God, however, was using my desires to bring me to Him.

I grew up in Nebraska, and I was a huge Husker football fan. My dream was to one day play for the team. Shortly after the young men's group kicked off, I heard that a former Husker coach, Ron Brown, was coming to Fort Calhoun High School to speak.

I thought Coach Brown was coming to talk about football, and I wanted to get his inside information about playing football. He started off on that topic, but he used his experience to transition into speaking about God.

That night my eyes were opened to the fact that I had sinned and offended the Lord of the universe and that I had to get right with Him. Coach Brown asked us to come out of the bleachers, get on our knees and bow our heads as he lead us in prayer.

I remember I didn't want to do something so humiliating, but a friend pulled me down there with him. I willingly, in my heart, repeated the words of Coach Brown’s prayer. After the prayer, I remember feeling very different.

I could tell that I had changed — a gaping hole had just been filled in my life.

I could tell that I had changed — a gaping hole had just been filled in my life.

After that, my lifestyle changed radically, and people noticed. I shared the gospel with other students in the high school and invited them to the youth group that I was in. My whole mission in life was to do the will of God and understand His heart.

During my senior year, I had an accident. I don't remember the event, but I’ve been told what happened: I was on top of a moving vehicle and I was thrown off. The doctors think the truck was going somewhere between 20 and 25 mph based on the severity of the injury. My head hit the pavement and took most of the impact.

I had a severe traumatic brain injury. My brain was swelling and bleeding inside my head. Before the surgery, the doctors warned my parents that it was very touch and go and that I might not make it . They also said that if I did come out of the surgery, I would never walk, talk, or eat again on my own.

Some of the young men at the youth group got together and prayed the very night of my accident. Gary and Cherry Warrick, who were Cru staff members, were instrumental in prayer efforts and set up a website about me to get the word out.

It sounded like I had many people praying for me and that many people were praying to God for the first time in years. Miraculously, I was out of the intensive care unit within 18 days.

From what Gary told me, word spread quickly and many people in the school and town rallied together and began to pray for me. Word continued to spread into surrounding communities and towns. It sounded like I had many people praying for me and that many people were praying to God for the first time in years.

Miraculously, I was out of the intensive care unit within 18 days. I was sent to acute therapy, where I was expected to stay for a year or more. The prayers kept coming and another miracle happened: I was out in 17 days almost fully functional, just in time to walk across the stage for graduation.

My mother told me that she and my father had lifted me up to God and given Him full control over what would happen. They trusted Him. When they did that, it allowed God to shine in His full glory. God turned a bad situation into a good and powerful story. I give all the credit for my second chance at life to God and those who prayed for me.

Since I laid down my life for Christ, He has really met all of my needs, especially the need for attention. I really am baffled at times that the Lord and Creator of all things gives me His full attention when I pray to Him. Life seems much more orderly and fulfilling, and I have a sense of security knowing that the Lord is watching over me. The knowledge of God has changed everything for me.

I want people to know that Christ is not an abstract idea, but a real person. There is nothing more practical than a relationship with Him.

Would you like to know God personally?


Paul Bayer graduated from Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, in 2015 with a degree in government. He earned a graduate degree in political theory from Regent Univerity in 2016.

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