Please Join Me in Praying for Tom Ascol

Tim Brister —  July 17, 2008 — 31 Comments

NOTE: For regular updates on Tom Ascol’s health condition, please see the comments section of this post.

Many of you know the influence Tom Ascol has had on my life.  For several years now he has been like a father to me in the faith, and most recently Grace Baptist Church, where Tom is senior pastor, called me to serve alongside him in gospel ministry.  Needless to say, being mentored and trained in such a position is something I am most grateful.

About three weeks ago, Tom hurt his back while exercising, which has resulted in numerous visits to the chiropractor and several days of bed rest.  The pain in his back has at times been so severe that he is not able to stand up (last Sunday he preached sitting down).  Then what happened this week is almost unbelievable.

Early Monday morning, the alarm in the Ascol’s home went off because the garage door was up.  With reasonable suspicion that burglars might be around, he called the police who came and inspected the house and property.  The officers informed Tom that a couple of cars were unlocked and advised him to go outside and lock them.  Tom and the officers proceeded out into the stormy weather, and upon reaching for the first vehicle, lightning struck Tom and the vehicle, immediately throwing him on his back.  Paramedics were called in, and all immediate tests revealed that there was no life-threatening issues as a result of the strike (you can read Tom’s recounting and reflections of the night here).

Nearly four days have passed, and I am writing this post to all of you asking for your prayers on behalf of Tom and in particular his health.  While his back is continuing to be an issue, the more eminent concern is the after-effect of the lightning strike on his nerve endings and sensory receptors.  Since Monday evening, Tom has not been able to sleep at night.  At best, he gets 1-2 hours during the day.  The slightest whisper sounds like someone screaming into his ears, and his nerve endings are so inflamed that it is giving him severe headaches and affecting even his digestive system.  Riding down the road at grandpa-like speed is like a roller-coaster ride.

Tomorrow morning (Friday morning), Tom is going to see a neurologist with the hopes of ascertaining what exactly he is experiencing and how long it will last.  A cardiologist this afternoon said that what he is experiencing is very similar to “post traumatic stress syndrome,” and that such inflammation of the nerves is expected to recede in 4-5 days.

Many of you know Tom either through Founders, his blog, or speaking at conferences.  Those of us here at Grace have the privilege of knowing him as pastor and dear friend.  I am asking that you join us in praying for Tom in the coming days and weeks as he recovers, specifically that God would heal those nerve endings, allowing him to sleep and recuperate.  Plans have already been made for August to be a mini-sabbatical for him, and we are praying that God would indeed give him rest and renew his strength.

Thank you for praying for Tom, his family, and God’s providential care during the days to come.  May the God who causes lightning to strike at his will be pleased to cause healing to come to Tom for the glory of His name, the advancement of the gospel, and the good of His people.

For I know that the Lord is great,
and that our Lord is above all gods.
Whatever the Lord pleases, he does,
in heaven and on earth,
in the seas and all deeps.
He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth,
who makes lightnings for the rain
and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.

Psalm 135:5-7

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31 responses to Please Join Me in Praying for Tom Ascol

  1. Thanks for the update Timmy. We will certainly be praying for Tom. He has truly been a blessing to many of us. I met Tom at T4G. What a gracious guy! Please convey to him our concern. Blessings to you in your ministry at Grace.

    todd

  2. Thanks Todd. Yeah, Tom has to be the most gracious and self-deprecatory person I have ever met. Thanks again for praying.

  3. Terry Delaney July 17, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    Wow, talk about the providence of God. I will be praying and will gather up some prayer warriors here and in St. Louis.

  4. I know Tom is clinging to the knowledge that God is good despite this awful event. I will add him to our family’s prayer time for this specific health issue. May God heal him quickly and give him comfort and rest!

  5. Puts my tiny little health struggles in perspective. He was faithful in adversity by not forsaking preaching of the gospel… have to wonder if he annoyed “some one”. That said nothing enters our lives that has not gone through our Father’s hands. I praise Him and take such huge comfort in that. I will be praying for him and his family to be comforted in this time and it calls to mind John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Your Cancer” insert any trial in the place of cancer and we have our answer in our faithful and amazing God. Please keep us posted.

  6. Please tell Bro. Tom that he is loved and prayed for at Reformation Baptist Church in Eustis, FL! May the Lord be glorified through healing His choice servant!

  7. Just an add on note from my comment last night, I read Pastor Ascol’s blog on being struck by lightening. While I found his humor very funny! I was most struck by this paragraph
    “Though our family has been able to see some humor in all of this, we are also aware of its seriousness and are very grateful to the Lord for His mercy in these events. I recognize that His mercy and goodness would not have been diminished in the least had the lightning killed me. Nevertheless, His mercy has been manifested to me in that not only have I been spared serious injury, but also the frayed-nerves-feeling seems to be slowy improving.” That is a wonderful demonstration of having your theology in place before the trial. I was so very blessed reading his post and it really made me feel better that I to had been blogging from bed that day as I was recovering from a epidural steroid injection for a bulging disc. I took the liberty of forwarding the prayer request and blog links to Way of the Master Radio.

  8. Jackie,

    Yeah, I recall Tom telling me that he had just listened to C.J Mahaney’s message “Don’t Waste Your Humor.” It’s been fun coming up with all the nicknames. :) I just think he was wanting to be like me (I was hit by lightning when I was 15). The only pastor yet to feel the finger of God is Ken. Perhaps we should be praying for him as well!

  9. Wow!! I will be praying for him.

  10. Praying for a full recovery with his back and the situation caused by the lightning strike. May the grace of God meet every need and fill in the spaces wherein we fail to pray according to His will. May God gain glory and honor for all. selahV

  11. Our church is praying. Thanks for the update.

  12. Timmy,

    I met Tom at the Building Bridges Conference and got to chat with him a couple of times. I’ve also got to know more about him by chatting on a regular basis with one of your church members. He truly is a gracious man and a great pastor.

    I will certainly be praying for Tom.

    By His grace,
    Mark

  13. Angie, SelahV, and Stephen,

    Thank you so much. I was informed that the neurologist gave a promising report this morning. When I hear more details, I will pass them on.

    johnMark,

    Curiosity is provoking me to ask you which member you chat with on a regular basis. :) Thanks for praying brother.

  14. Here’s a little more info from Donna, Tom’s wife, regarding his visits to the cardiologist and neurologist:

    Yesterday, Dr. Bud Dansby gave Tom a thorough check of his systems and particularly his heart (which checked out well) and prescribed some powerful medications to assist him in sleeping and with the pain that remains from the electrical jolt. Dr. Bud described Tom’s symptoms as a type of “Post-traumatic stress reaction” – sort of like surviving a car bombing. Thankfully, because of the medication,Tom was able to sleep off and on for a large portion of the day yesterday, but only for about an hour or two at a time. Because of that, he felt a bit better before bedtime last night.

    Unfortunately, the most severe pain of this whole ordeal awakened him around 2 AM last night. Thankfully, by God’s grace and with the help of pain medications, he was able to sleep fitfully until this morning. We met with a neurologist first thing this morning. After the examination he told us that Tom is exhibiting “post-concussion-like” symptoms and that he was encouraged that Tom should be able to recover fully from this shock to his system, though the recovery would be very slow. He has ordered some x-rays, an MRI and an EEG that will be performed in the next few days/weeks.

    We are resting and trusting in Christ and we cherish your continued prayers for Tom as he rests and recover. What a gracious God we have.

  15. Hi Timmy,
    Thank you for sharing this food for prayer – seeking God for him and his family, and for all of your in Grace.
    God bless,
    Andrew

  16. He is on our fervent prayers. Interestingly, much of what he is experiencing sounds similar to an MS exacerbation.

  17. Thanks for the update. Will certainly be praying for him.

  18. My family and I will be praying for Tom. Thanks for passing on this info.

  19. Andrew, Lisa, Doug, Rod, and Kevin:

    Thank you so much for laboring with us in prayer for Tom. May God be gracious to answer according to his perfect will!

  20. Praying that God would bring healing, and that Dr. Ascol would not waste his lightning!!!

  21. We will be in prayer for Tom and his family. May God strengthen you as you minister to him and to the members there. God bless.
    Pastor Bob Curtis
    New Prospect BC
    Olive Branch,MS

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