If you had told Andrew Geddie 10 years ago how many times he would stare death in the face by the time he was 25, he might’ve laughed and said that was crazy. And he would be right—it is crazy.
Or miraculous, depending on how you look at it.
From Suicide to Salvation
Growing up in a Maryland home with parents who took him to church each week, Andrew knew all the Sunday school answers. He knew going to church and learning about God were things he was supposed to do. But he also knew he liked the thrill of being a little rebellious, even if he did get in trouble often because of it.
His relationship with God wasn’t a big deal during his middle school and high school years.
“There was a small, personal relationship there,” Andrew said. “I knew everything about Him and appreciated Him. It was more like a parent relationship, like, ‘I’m glad you’re there, but I hate you, Mom and Dad.’ But if something happened to me, I’d say, ‘God, please don’t let me die. Please. I’m sorry.’ But then I’d turn around and do the same thing the next day. … I definitely took Him for granted.”
That small, personal relationship grew smaller and smaller as Andrew discovered his love of and skill for playing football. Soon, sports, alcohol and physical relationships with girls consumed him. But it wasn’t enough, and in 2012, Andrew had his first look at death.
He attempted suicide.
Unwilling to admit his depression, Andrew recovered from his suicide attempt and went back to the routine of sports, alcohol, some drugs and girls. It wasn’t until he began a relationship with someone whose faith was the complete opposite of his that Andrew began to seriously question his own relationship with God.
It all came to a head one evening in 2014 after Andrew and his girlfriend decided to take a break from their relationship.
“It hit me one night that I had been trying to do this on my own, and look where it got me,” Andrew said. “I may never get her back. That’s me doing it my way. I need to listen to God and do it His way, because when I do anything my way, I mess it up. … So I said, ‘I need to give this all to God.’ And that’s what I did. I went and got baptized, which was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I said to myself, ‘If I’m going to be serious about this, then I really need to be serious and take that leap.’”
A Continuous Struggle
Not knowing what to expect with his newfound faith in God, Andrew thought there should have been some magical feeling to prove he was truly different. At first, he ignored the warnings of friends who told him he would still struggle with sin and temptation. But soon after he got back together with his girlfriend, the same struggles of physical purity took hold of him once again.
“I quit smoking weed. I quit drinking for a while. I worked on my language, which goes up and down,” Andrew explained. “I’ve done a lot of stuff to change my life and do good, but when it comes to sex and a couple other sins like that, it’s really almost impossible to beat. … That’s the biggest struggle I’ve had and continue to have to this day.”
Sex wasn’t the only struggle for Andrew. His love for football continued to grow until it drove a wedge between him and those he loved. And it began to take the place of God in his life. What was once a serious leap and a desire to change his life was fizzling in the background as football took all his time, energy and devotion.
After he played an unexpectedly bad football game one spring night in 2016, followed by a breakup with his girlfriend and an unrelated trip to the hospital for dehydration as a result of binge drinking, Andrew began to realize how he had slowly allowed something that would never satisfy him to rule his life.
And he once again came face-to-face with death.
“I said, ‘You know what?’ ” Andrew remembered. “ ‘I could make it to the NFL tomorrow, but I’d still be depressed, I’d still be unhappy. All the riches and championships would still be nothing.’ … I had been chasing something for 25 years that wasn’t going to make me happy. So that’s what drove me to (try to) kill myself.”
Moments before he attempted to take his life a second time, Andrew paused. In the silence, he heard a voice say to him, “If you do this, you’re going to miss your miracle.”
And he knew he couldn’t give up just yet.
One More Brush With Death
Barely a week later, Andrew once again found himself in a hospital bed. Except this time, it wasn’t from attempted suicide or alcohol. He had crashed into a parked dump truck on the side of the road as he drove around a curve one morning.
It was near-death experience number three.
The doctors told his mother they didn’t think Andrew would make it. As his mind took him to a place of unconsciousness, his body struggled to survive bleeding in his brain, a punctured lung, a jaw broken in multiple places and a neck injury. When he did wake up, doctors told him he might never walk again.
“The whole time in the hospital and after, the thing that kept me going was I could literally feel the power of prayer,” Andrew said. “Something was keeping me going. It wasn’t sports; it wasn’t food or water. It was the prayers.”
During those weeks in the hospital, Andrew decided something needed to change. He knew his mindset and the way he lived his life needed to turn back to God. And as he learned to walk once again, he realized his life held meaning because he could glorify God with it.
“My belief is stronger and my convictions are stronger,” Andrew said. “And my effort to gain things and (see) Him work in my life is stronger. I don’t want to say I’m a Christian and then go out and do stupid stuff anyway. … I really want to do my best to glorify Him and be productive for Him, not productive for myself or for others. I never thought I’d ever say that. I never understood that, but I’m starting to understand what it really means to be a Christian and what it means to live a godly life.”
Andrew is once again on the football field, but this time he’s playing because he loves the game, not because it defines him. He’s excited to pursue school and earn his degree in physical education. That doesn’t mean he no longer faces temptation.
“Just because I’m a Christian now, I’m still a human,” Andrew laughed, explaining he still struggles with the temptation of sex as well as his depression.
He now knows his renewed faith doesn’t mean that magical feeling. But despite the desires to put aside his convictions, Andrew knows following God outweighs giving into the pressure of sin.
He’s still wondering why God saved him from death on three different occasions. Unsure if his recovery from the accident was the miracle God promised, he’s ready to take life more seriously this time, believing God saved him for a purpose and continues to do so every day.