5 Survivors Share Their Stories Of Holding Onto Faith In Painful Times

5 Survivors Share Their Stories Of Holding Onto Faith In Painful Times

Five different people. Five sad stories. These 5 survivors share their stories of holding onto faith in painful times.


Fear. Isolation. Sorrow. These three words describe the various stories shared with I Am Second. These interwoven stories detailed individual hardships that were all held together by something these people had in common - faith.

They believed they could overcome their misfortunates, and by God’s provision, they did. This didn’t mean they didn’t have doubts. Each of them struggled. Despite their physical impairments, some of which were permanent, they found a deeper sense of God.

Brian Birdwell, 9/11 Pentagon
One minute he is working, the next there is a huge explosion. American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building where he was working. About 60% of his body was burned to the 3rd degree. He was “burned beyond recognition.”

People tried to help him up, but the physical contact was too painful. He wanted God to just end his life.

Brian tearfully said goodbye to his son. That moment made him think about how God felt saying goodbye to his son before the Resurrection.

He recovered after almost 40 reconstructive surgeries and ran for texas State Senate.

Tyrone Flower, Gunshot
A competitive game of basketball turned into a verbal confrontation. Tyrone thought he and the other guy were only exchanging words, but found himself preparing for what he thought was a fist-fight.

The first shot was “deafening.” He didn’t hear the other two shots, nor did he feel any pain as he was instantly paralyzed.

He knew that by choosing God he was not choosing a life free of suffering. Still, in the end he would get both “peace and understanding.” Tyrone forgave the man who shot him. Others thought he was weak for not seeking revenge, but he felt empowered by his choice of love.

Annie Lobert, Sex Trafficking
Annie was in a relationship with a “boyfriend” who doubled as a pimp. She realized her ordeal after coming home. She had just finished two calls when her boyfriend asked for her money.

“Break yourself,” he told her.

Her disagreement turned violent when he and his goons attacked her.

She prayed to herself in the shower, “Jesus, please save me. I don’t know if you’re real, but I don’t wanna die.” Her body was badly injured, but not as much as her spirit. Still, God gave her a second. Now, she considers herself “redeemed.”

She now helps people trapped in the world of sex trafficking.

Bethany Hamilton, Shark Attack
The year was 2003 and the day was Halloween. She swam out further than others, waiting for the waves to appear. Instead, she saw a shark take her by the arm. Bethany had lost 60% of her blood before receiving emergency medical treatment.

A paramedic whispered to her, “God will never leave you, nor forsake you.” She still remembers that single moment as a moment of hope.

Bethany went on to recover and became a top surfer in America.

Sujo John, 9/11 Twin Towers
The time was 8:40 in morning. Sujo was working at the fax machine when he heard an explosion. When he heard the next explosion, he found himself surrounded by chaos, screaming, and fire. All he could think was, “Where was his wife?” She was in the other tower that fell.

Sujo felt serious loss, so when his phone rang he was preparing himself for bad news. There was good news instead. His pregnant wife spoke to him from the other end. Her life was spared. That night they prayed and surrendered their lives to God.


“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147: 3)

Death, and any other form of suffering can bring us to the realization of how much we need God. These stories encourage me to enjoy the peaceful moments of life. I have to remind myself from time to time that no matter how difficult life seems, someone somewhere has a more difficult life than me.

Plus, no matter what I face, no matter the trauma, God can heal me. I pray you know that god will do the same for you.