There’s no way an innocent, defenseless 13-year-old kid could overpower an adult trying to take his life. Young Joey was saved “few feet away” from being killed through God’s intervention and display of His great power.
Joey Kelly is a typical young teen. He had a normal childhood. He was nurtured by a loving, Christian family. He used to attend their traditional church but just viewed it as a chore. Attendance for him was something he could do to please his mom. Things took a different turn when his sister shared the Gospel to him. He had an “aha!” moment that time and he described this by saying, “And it’s just, I remember it clicking that God loved me so much and that there’s nothing I can do to earn God’s love. It’s all about what He did for me, sending His Son Jesus, to die on the cross, for our sins.” He accepted Christ as his Savior and Lord at the tender age of seven.
Having a relationship with Christ at a young age was a good start. It’s a good indicator that he’ll grow up to be a firm believer in Christ. Things seemed to go well until that fateful, tragic night happened. Joey, 13, and Mikey, 9, were the best of friends and cousins as well. One unforgettable night, Joey was in his cousin’s house for a sleepover. Mikey’s parents were on the verge of separation and were having a terrible fight. They were awakened by loud voices and they heard Mikey’s mom asking for help. They went out of the room and saw Mikey’s dad covered in blood. Apparently, he murdered his wife. He attacked his son and did the same. Joey was frozen in fear. A helpless 13-year-old was left on his own to save his life.
His uncle approached him and slammed him to the wall. He aimed to stab his chest but thankfully, was only able to stab him through his arm. The blade barely scratched his chest. Few precious moments have passed and Joey saw himself being removed from his uncle’s firm grip. He was approximately 8-10 feet away from him, literally, “a few feet away” from being killed. He did not know and could not explain how he managed to break free from him. He knew that it was God who supernaturally pulled him away from the dangerous situation so that he could save himself. Joey described that “It’s like God got him off of me just for a quick second and like, pushed me out of the way or something.” He was holding his bleeding arm and immediately went down to call 911. His uncle was quick enough to snatch the phone away from him. He stayed far from him and his uncle went up the stairs. Then, he managed to get out of the house and asked help from a neighbor at three in the morning. When the neighbor responded to his call, they saw that Mikey’s house was on fire. Apparently, the murderer started a fire and accidentally, lit himself on fire as well which caused half of his face to be burnt.
Joey’s life was spared but his ordeal after this traumatic incident just started. He was plagued with grief from losing Mikey. He also felt guilty for not being able to do anything to save his aunt and cousin. The grief, pain, ‘survivor’s guilt’ haunted him for years. Sessions with therapists were futile because he could not talk about what happened that night. He was asking God why he let that sad incident happen. He thought that Mikey was a better child than him. He could have done better in life if he only survived. He was furious with God. He got into vices and was depressed, had post-trauma stress disorder (PTSD). He also tried to put on a facade. People thought that he’s easygoing and happy most of the time. Grief, when not faced and processed properly, may make a person look good on the outside but in reality, he is struggling with so much pain on the inside.
His much-needed breath of fresh air came when he attended a church service when he was a freshman in college. ‘Amazing Grace’ was being sung that day and he just broke down when he heard the song. He cried profusely for hours. He was like, able to release the pent-up emotions. This was when he started attending Christian counseling and had a community, a group of Christian believers who helped him overcome this. He realized that it was not an accident that he was spared that night. “It was not an accident. He didn’t make a mistake. But He had a plan and purpose for me. And He just wasn’t done with me yet,” Joey said.
“I think survivor’s guilt held me back for years. And it’s through Jesus where all guilt and shame can be taken away through the grace of God. I can just move forward and that could be part of my past and that doesn’t define who I am.” John summed up how God delivered him from the trauma which made him miserable for a long time. Others now can barely see a trace of this tragedy in his life. He’s glad that instead of the sadness and depression, people can now see the joy in him. “And that joy comes from knowing Jesus Christ and living for Him,” he ended his interview with I Am Second with this powerful statement.
Joey was saved twice from death. He was saved by Him when he was “few feet away” from being killed physically through God’s intervention. He was again, given a new life when God saved his soul from desperation and agony when he welcomed Him into his life again. The Lord will not grow tired of giving us as many chances as we need in life. He is the only ‘One’ who can save not only the body but more importantly, the soul from eternal death.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16