Dickerson: Trouble and blessing not mutually exclusive

Trouble and blessing are two things we do not usually think about occurring simultaneously. However, pastor Billy Dickerson experienced these two seeming opposites at the same time.

After delivering the morning sermon at his church, Cedar Grove in Belton, on June 20, he was driving home when an erratic driver, weaving in and out of traffic at a high speed, blindsided him. Following a state highway patrol trooper’s analysis, the speed of the vehicle that hit him was estimated to be 110 miles per hour. His car flipped eight or nine times, he was told. Suddenly this pastor who says he is “extremely claustrophobic” was trapped in an automobile that had been destroyed almost beyond recognition.

“Shortly after my car stopped rolling, I heard bystanders and yelled for them to open the passenger door. They could not. I stuck my hands through an opening in the car (later he realized it was the sunroof).” One of the men saw his hand and said, “There he is.” Dickerson relates, “They pulled me out of the car. I took five or six steps, and they suggested I lie down.”

Soon, he was taken by ambulance to the trauma unit of the hospital. “As I lay there, I remembered the prayer I prayed that morning before church. ‘Lord, I am ready to come home to be with You when it’s my time. However, until it is my time, please help me to continue to run the race that You have called me to run and help me to finish well.’ I was overwhelmed with the realization as to why I had miraculously survived the wreck — God was not yet ready for me to leave this world. I still had more race yet to be run. There is no way I should have survived that accident. It was miraculous. There is no human reason I survived — it was God’s intervention, and I never felt fear.”

Dickerson broke vertebrae in his back and had a severe concussion. “During the first two weeks, I had a lot of dizziness, and some of it has continued. I have trouble with my short-term memory and sleep 15 to 16 hours a day. I have been dealing with a lot of different emotions and apprehensiveness about preaching again, but I know I am in the Lord’s hands. He is the vine, and I am a branch,” he said.

After the accident, he spent one week in the hospital and was told by doctors it may take between three to six months for him to heal. When he began to feel better, he started making plans to return to the pulpit. Then, five weeks after he was discharged from the hospital, he was diagnosed with COVID-19 and spent two weeks quarantined. During that time, he had to reschedule appointments with doctors.

He plans to resume his preaching ministry soon. Palmetto Association Missions Director Mike Baker said, “Our Lord’s protection was certainly with him that day. He has been a valued and active member of our association. I want to commend the members of Cedar Grove for faithfully standing with their pastor during this extended time of his recovery. We all look forward to the great day when he returns to preach again the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Job 5:7 says, “Man is born for trouble as the sparks fly upward.” Jesus, after counseling us not to worry, added in Matthew 6:34 that “each day has enough trouble of its own.” Psalm 1, on the other hand, describes the blessed man. Trouble and blessing are not mutually exclusive. Billy Dickerson has experienced both — simultaneously. He said, “I continue to experience God’s supernatural peace, along with the knowledge that He is in complete control. My eternal bags are packed. I am a child of the King on my way home. But, until it is time for me to leave this world, I am safe and secure within the everlasting arms of my Savior!”