“So is my Word that goes out from my mouth, It will not return to me void but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
I, Tristan Epperson, should not be living on this Earth. I wont go into depth about the events that should have caused my death, but I will briefly touch on them to explain what I want to get across.
When I was in the 2nd grade, on Halloween night, I was going trick-or-treating with my mother, her best friend Darcy, and Darcy’s son, Josh, who was my best friend at the time. I was dressed up as an old man; I spray painted my hair gray and everything (Yes, spray painted. I’m from Kentucky, that’s how we do things). We were trick-or-treating in a neighborhood where all the kids would get on a trailer about seven feet tall. This trailer weighed 2000 pounds with all the children, parents and hay bales on it. I was sitting on the side, and while the trailer rolled, I fell off. The rear wheels ran over my body, right over my heart. The trailer went about fifteen yards before they heard my scream. Immediately, my poor mother knew it was me that they ran over. Miraculously I walked away from that with a small fracture on my arm, from the fall. The wound was not from the trailer, but from the fall! I should have been crushed by the 2000 pounds that went over my small body. The doctors were confused as to how I survived.
Fast forward to 2014: The next incident occurred in Hawaii while I was in Discipleship Training School with YWAM. A hurricane hit that weekend, and my friends and I went out to enjoy the fifteen foot waves. However, I went too far out with my friends, and, as we were half a mile out, I missed a wave. It crashed on me, causing me to lose my boogie board. The waves pounded me in four rounds until there was a break. Then it pulled me out further to sea and I got caught in the riptide. As I started to swim across to get out I found myself in the crash zone. Waves crashed on me a total of 12 times. Around the 8th time I started to swim downward because I was so disoriented. By the 12th time I was far out in the sea. I lay back, accepting death. I knew it was over and I was going to see Jesus. I can’t explain the peace that I felt during that moment of acceptance. It truly was a peace that surpasses all understanding. But, somehow, by the grace of God, a lifeguard with a surfboard found me and brought me in. My body was in shock and I puked on the beach as soon as I got to shore.
I cannot tell you how I survived both experiences but I can tell you that God doesn’t want me dead yet. This last season of my life has been the hardest I have encountered, and at times I have asked the Lord why He has kept me alive because I surely should have died in both scenarios. I thank God for saving me and preserving me because life truly is good and I know my life is meant to glorify Him. When people ask me why I want to be in vocational ministry for the rest of my life, I share these stories to explain that my life is not mine, and that God has repeatedly preserved me from death. This is why I serve the Lord; this is why I will work for Him and Him alone. I know that the Lord wants me here and all I want is to fully know the heart of God. I want to be as confident as the Apostle John when he called himself “The disciple whom Jesus loved.” And I want more than anything, at the end of my life, to hear Jesus say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”