“…for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
(Philippians 2:13)


Broken, But Not Defeated

God@Work in the life of Josh Street

Saturday morning of March 25, 1995, changed Josh Street’s life forever. It is a day that he’ll never forget. A day Josh relives over and over in his memories.

“Growing up, my father was always helping others. He was a church deacon who was a big, tough, outdoors type of guy with an expertise in everything mechanical. If you had a problem, you called my dad. One day, friends asked him to help them use a chainsaw to take off branches of a very large oak tree in their back yard. The night before, my dad asked me if I wanted to come with him the next day to help out. I had just turned seventeen, and like most teenagers, I didn’t feel like getting up early and lugging around wood all day out in the cold. So I said, ‘no.’ I didn’t realize at the time that declining the invitation would later haunt me.”

Early the next morning, Josh woke up to the sound of his dad leaving the house. “For some reason, I decided to get up and crack my window shade to see him shuffle down the steps, stroll out to his truck, and drive away. Then I went back to sleep, not knowing that would be the last time I ever saw my father walk.”

A few hours later, Josh awoke again. This time it was to the sound of a phone ringing and his mother having an urgent conversation. “She came into my room and told me, my brother, and sister that dad was in an accident, and we had to leave right away. We rushed to the scene of the accident, unaware it was much worse than we thought.”
When Josh and his family arrived, they saw an alarming scene of ambulances, firetrucks, and police cars. “Dad was being loaded into an ambulance and rushed to the helicopter to be flown to Cooper Hospital in Camden. We still didn’t know the extent of what happened until we arrived at Cooper and were briefed by a doctor.”

Josh soon learned that his dad was about twenty feet up on a ladder without a safety strap, cutting a branch. The branch he was cutting violently snapped and crashed back into the ladder. As a result, Josh’s dad was thrown into the air and fell to the ground on his head. The fall caused him to become paralyzed from the neck down.

“My dad was admitted to the trauma unit at Cooper. I wasn’t allowed to see him until the next night. The hospital nurses said they had never seen so many people in a waiting room at once. There were about forty of us. However, even surrounded by many friends and loved ones, I was numb. For the first time in my life I didn’t know what to say. When it was my turn to see my dad, I walked into the trauma unit and finally realized how dire his situation was. There he was. A 6’ 4,” 260-pound man who was so strong but now couldn’t take on anything. He was strapped to a bed, helpless, fragile, and broken. He was surrounded by machines and had many tubes coming out of his body, including a ventilator down his throat. His head was screwed into a large metal cage to keep it firmly in place.”

Josh was so horrified about what he saw that he fainted and dropped to the floor. “I woke up a few moments later to the sound of my dad faintly rasping my name around the ventilator tube. I stood up and took in the scene again, quite embarrassed for passing out. For the second time in my life in the same day, I didn’t know what to say. What can you say to someone in that situation but that you love them?”

“I think that most people in this situation would be hopeless and want to give up on life.”


From that day forward, life was never the same for Josh. After his dad was stabilized and moved out of the trauma unit, he was transferred to Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia. “I had to become the man of the house, juggle going to school, working part-time, and visiting my dad and mom at Magee four to five times a week.”

Josh also had to be trained on how to give his dad physical therapy. “It was the most difficult and challenging time of my life. Responsibilities were thrust upon me that most teenagers will never experience. However, the accident brought many people into our lives who blessed us with their kindness and assistance. It was a time where God showed us that even in the midst of adversity, He would always take care of our needs. There were countless times when we had a very specific need that we thought we had no hope of obtaining. Every single time, God provided for those needs, sometimes down to the very cent.”

Since the accident, Josh has watched his dad suffer with many health issues due to being a quadriplegic. He’s experienced and continues to endure severe pressure sores, unending muscle spasms, low blood pressure, gastro and circulatory problems, constant back pain, and even colon cancer.

“My dad’s life is a never ending form of torture. He’s in a wheel chair, unable to move, and unable to feed himself. He can still feel pain everywhere. I think that most people in this situation would be hopeless and want to give up on life. However, my dad has Jesus. He has the hope that one day he will be restored in a new body in the presence of God. This is what keeps him going and what keeps the depression at bay. He could never bear this burden without hope in God. Of course he still has his bad days, but his faith eventually pulls him out of those valleys and helps him to live in that hope.”

Through it all, Josh’s dad has always tried to be a Godly example. Josh is thankful that his father and mother were the ones who helped encourage him to accept Christ into his heart when he was seven years old during family devotions.

One of the powerful Bible stories that Josh learned was about the Apostle Paul asking God to take away his thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12). Similarly, Josh has prayed often for his father to be healed; however, just like with Paul, God’s answer was always no. “I have no idea why God allowed my dad to become a quadriplegic and live in constant pain, but I do know that He loves us and wants us to grow. Growth sprouts from adversity and is cultivated from how we deal with trials.

It’s been twenty-one years since the accident and Josh’s faith has grown tremendously. “Seeing my dad’s faith and the absolute selfless love my mother shows in taking care of him has greatly affected my life. It has changed the way I view the world and brought me into a clear perspective of what really matters. It’s taught me the true meaning of God’s providence and how His love can work miracles. Now as a father myself, I hope to communicate this to my own children. No matter what adversity we face in life, God still loves us more than we can imagine.”