Update from Donna (Tom’s wife)

We realize that, after Tom’s last blog post, an update on his condition is long overdue. Many expressions of love and concern have been passed along to us and each one has been used by God to encourage us. This has been an interesting journey and our family still finds ourselves traveling uncharted territory.Since Tom’s previous post, we have learned much more about the mysterious and unpredictable after-effects of being struck by lightning. Initially, following his lead, we all found a great deal of humor in the situation. Though the Lord has enabled us to continue to laugh, we now are coming to terms with the seriousness of what has happened.

In fact, as Tom and I have talked, we have agreed that he should apologize for any contribution his words have made to discount the seriousness of this type of injury. We understand more about the mysteries of the human body and how many people suffer from real symptoms that cannot be viewed by casual observers. Even as Tom struggled through the airport, I wondered how many travelers were aware of his struggle. I doubt that those who were frustrated by his slow gait and halting steps stopped to consider what might be going on inside of him. I pray that God would help me to be more compassionate to those who struggle internally.

I am happy to say that in many ways Tom is doing better than could be expected. His recovery has been a slow process (though in comparison to the recovery of others and in God’s timetable, it has been more rapid than we deserve).

By God’s grace, less than a week after the lightning strike, after undergoing some tests and consulting with doctors, Tom boarded a plane and flew to Michigan with our family. The trip itself was a challenge and a real test of faith. Because his nerves and sense of equilibrium were still severely affected, the noise, crowds, movement, jostling, etc. involved, not only with the plane ride but also with a bustling airport, were almost more than he could bear. Surprisingly, the escalator going down was the hardest challenge of the day. However, God helped him, and our family has been enjoying a much-needed time of rest and relaxation at some friends’ home in Michigan.

During our time away, Tom has made great improvement in many of his symptoms. He can tolerate more and louder conversations (a real plus when you have six talkative children). His bouts of pain, which hit without warning in varying degrees and location, have lessened. He has more energy, is able to be more active and has had some meaningful conversations with all of us. He has led our family in some sweet times of worship. God is faithful.

His recovery is not complete though. Nights are still very hard. Sleep may or may not come. When it does come, Tom is visited with disturbing and disruptive nightmares that leave him tired and emotionally shaken. We are so grateful for the truths of the Gospel that ring true in the middle of the night, as well as the day.

Tom also continues to struggle with crowds and being easily startled. Walmart was a real challenge this past week (although it was a challenge PRIOR to the lightning strike!) ūüôā If he had to give up Walmart for the rest of his life, he could live with that. We worshipped at Berean Baptist Church in Grand Blanc on Sunday and I am grateful that Tom experienced very little discomfort and was able to be fully engaged in the service.

However, he must still deal with crowds of people in general. We are trusting God to help him adjust to these and other disruptive side-effects of his encounter with lightning.

We have a few more days of R & R to enjoy and then we will head home to Cape Coral for a week before Tom and I, and our eldest daughter will be leaving for a conference in Alaska, Lord willing, where Tom will be preaching for the first time since the lightning strike. Believing that God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, more than we are able to ask or even think, we are anticipating being able to make this trip and for Tom to be able to preach for the honor of Christ and for God’s glory.

We are trusting God to perfect ALL that concerns us. He is able. His love for us knows no bounds. He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32)

Hard nights are often followed by hard days. Last night was a hard night. But God is still faithful. His mercies are new each morning. We are resting in His promises. Thank you for your prayers.

(Photos by Rebecca Ascol)

Tom Ascol has served as a Pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL since 1986. Prior to moving to Florida he served as pastor and associate pastor of churches in Texas. He has a BS degree in sociology from Texas A&M University (1979) and has also earned the MDiv and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas. He has served as an adjunct professor of theology for various colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary, the Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary, African Christian University, Copperbelt Ministerial College, and Reformed Baptist Seminary. He has also served as Visiting Professor at the Nicole Institute for Baptist Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. Tom serves as the President of Founders Ministries and The Institute of Public Theology. He has edited the Founders Journal, a quarterly theological publication of Founders Ministries, and has written hundreds of articles for various journals and magazines. He has been a regular contributor to TableTalk, the monthly magazine of Ligonier Ministries. He has also edited and contributed to several books, including Dear Timothy: Letters on Pastoral Ministry, The Truth and Grace Memory Books for children and  Recovering the Gospel and Reformation of Churches. He is also the author of From the Protestant Reformation to the Southern Baptist Convention, Traditional Theology and the SBC and Strong and Courageous. Tom regularly preaches and lectures at various conferences throughout the United States and other countries. In addition he regularly contributes articles to the Founders website and hosts a weekly podcast called The Sword & The Trowel. He and his wife Donna have six children along with four sons-in-law and a daughter-in-law. They have sixteen grandchildren.
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