FINCASTLE, Va. (BP) – When pastor Kevin Cummings stood to preach his sermon this past Sunday (Aug. 14), it was no ordinary feat for him.
It was his first time preaching standing up since he experienced a catastrophic leg injury after being hit by an SUV in January.
Cummings, senior pastor at Fincastle Baptist Church in Virginia was helping his son and daughter-in-law relocate from Virginia to Little Rock, Ark. It was a Tuesday morning in early January when Cummings and his son met at the apartment complex to begin unloading belongings into the apartment they were renting.
While he was standing behind the U-Haul trailer, an SUV struck Cummings from behind, pinning him in between the back of the trailer and the vehicle. It is still unknown why the SUV driver hit him.
Cummings said he knew one or both of his legs were broken as he collapsed to the ground and began to scream in pain. Even during this traumatic moment, his instinct was to praise through the pain.
“It was the most pain I’ve ever felt in my life,” Cummings said. “When I fell to the ground I just keep saying over and over again, ‘God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.’ I just keep repeating that over and over as I waited for the ambulance to come for what seemed like a long time, but was really only a few minutes. I just held onto that.”
Immediately upon arriving at a local hospital, Cummings, who said he had never been in the hospital as a patient, underwent the first of what would ultimately be four surgeries on his right leg. His injuries included multiple breaks and a compound fracture.
After the surgeries, Cummings’ leg now has two plates and 21 screws permanently placed. The incisions left him with 50 stitches. He described his leg immediately after the accident as looking like a jigsaw puzzle. Doctors told him the breaks he endured were the worst they could be.
All of his doctors have told him they don’t understand how his injuries were not more severe. They don’t understand how he did not break both legs, and only needed a few stiches in his left leg. They also don’t understand how he avoided hitting his head on the pavement, how he didn’t lose consciousness, or even how he survived the accident at all.
Cummings and his wife ended up staying in Arkansas about a month due the surgeries and the immediate rehab. Through the incredibly painful experience, Cummings said he has never been more thankful for support from the family of God.
“It was hard being staying there in Arkansas for over 30 days, but we never felt alone,” Cummings said. “It was so humbling to see and hear from people all across the country.”
Cummings, who has been the pastor at Fincastle for almost 25 years, posted a video update on Facebook that quickly received more than 40,000 views. Word of the accident began to spread, and support and love came pouring in from all over.
The family received thousands of texts from all over, offering prayers and support. SBC of Virginia staff assisted the church with immediate needs, and Fincastle Baptist members prayed and supported Cummings as they awaited his return. They would later even build a ramp for him to come up onto the platform to preach in a wheelchair.
Even Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock, where his son Brent was moving to join the church staff, sent the family a gift basket in the hospital.
Cummings also serves as a trustee with GuideStone Financial Resources. When GuideStone President Emeritus O.S. Hawkins heard the story, he asked another local church to come visit and minister to him while he was in Little Rock.
“We know we’re never alone as Christians because of our relationship with God, but we’re also part of God’s family, the Church,” Cummings said. “I’ve never been more grateful to be a part of the family of God.”
Once Cummings was out of the hospital and back in Virginia, a long road of recovery awaited him.
He would slowly move from a wheelchair, to a walker, to crutches, to a cane and eventually to walking on his own feet. The recovery process usually involved some form of physical therapy every day, whether through home exercises or guided by a therapist. He is currently walking months ahead of where they predicted he would be able to.
Known for his passion and creative evangelism methods, Cummings used his time in physical therapy as a way to have spiritual conversations.
He invited his physical therapist, who is not a Christian, to listen to a Sunday service in March, during which he spoke about what he has learned spiritually through the accident.
In the sermon, Cummings said the phrase he kept repeating during this difficult season: “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good.”
After watching the service, his physical therapist posted that phrase on the ceiling for Cummings to view as he did his therapy exercises.
Cummings said his main takeaway from the accident has been a reminder of God’s goodness. His advice to others going through hard times is to focus on their hearts, and not their circumstances.
“In life, things happen around us, things happen to us, but the only thing that truly matters is what happens within us,” Cummings said. “I can’t control what happens to me, including just freak things, but I can always control my response.
“My prayer has been what Paul said in Philippians 1:12, that what has happened to me will serve to advance the Gospel. That’s been my prayer all along, and if I have a relationship with Jesus, I know He will ultimately heal my hurts because one day I’m going to be with Him in Heaven.”