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Comer: A reminder of how trials can strengthen faith of others


By Ryan Comer - | Mar 11, 2023

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Ryan Comer

As Elijah McCormick walked onto the audition stage for “American Idol,” judge and country music artist Luke Bryan was practicing his duck calls.

“I’m getting all the hunting vibes,” he told McCormick.

McCormick said he had just been telling his mother that he wanted to go hunting, even though he said he had never been.

An interesting coincidence, but one that paled in comparison to the ones that would be realized in the conversation following the performance.

First, the backstory.

On June 8, 2019, just a couple of hours or so after he had graduated from high school, McCormick was involved in an automobile accident that caused the vehicle he was driving to catch on fire.

McCormick said he flatlined nine times while in the process of being airlifted as well as on the operating table.

McCormick had to be hospitalized for 79 days and needed to relearn how to walk and talk. He said he had about 10 surgeries, including open heart surgeries, and dialysis.

McCormick had a faith-filled choice for his audition song. “Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts.

Following the performance, judge Lionel Richie, who had been emotional throughout the audition, said: “Let me just tell you this. God brought you back nine times for you to do something amazing. I’m so glad you’re here with us. That was just one of those moments in my life I will never forget.”

Judge Katy Perry chimed in: “And you sang ‘God bless the broken road that led me back to you.'”

“Yeah, he did bless the broken road,” McCormick said.

“He blessed it,” Perry said. “You had to relearn how to walk and talk.”

Then the coincidences were learned.

McCormick said his mother had signed him up for the show before the accident.

“I had my ID number and everything,” he told the judges.

“So, you’re just here fulfilling your destiny. This was always meant to be,” Perry said.

“What a circle. What a circle,” Richie added.

The judges invited McCormick’s mother into the room, and Richie told her, “Let me just say to you. Your son, when he opens his mouth, it’s divine. God brought him back for a reason. There is a purpose in life and it starts right on that oval. I know you went through absolute torture, but God bless you and your family and that golden child right there.”

That led to the next coincidence.

“It’s crazy you said golden child,” McCormick said. “My ID got burned up in the car and that’s what they called me on that whole floor in the hospital was golden child. That’s crazy you just said that. My hair was gold at the time, so that’s why they called me golden child.”

To stick with the talent show theme, if you’ve watched a show like “America’s Got Talent” and you see a magician or a mentalist perform a routine, they often will do something that impresses everyone, and you think if that was the end of it, it would be amazing enough, but then they add another one or two layers just to really put the performance over the top. That’s what it felt like happened here. It was like God said, “You know, I know you’ve all been really impressed up to this point and can see the divine guidance, but just to really put this over the top, how about this? And then this?”

It all compelled Perry to look up and say, “God, God, I know you have a sense of humor, but this is getting really funny.”

In what at that point seemed like a mere formality, the judges voted McCormick through to the Hollywood round.

“The golden child deserves the golden ticket,” Perry said.

So often we wonder “why” when adversity strikes us. This story provided a good reason. Trials can lead to the strengthening of the faith of those around us. The key is to see the trials that way and to take advantage of them by persevering.

McCormick persevered, and because of that, he strengthened the faith of three judges and countless others watching.

Contact Ryan Comer at rcomer@standard.net.


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