A Florida pastor is expressing gratitude and trust in God’s plan after a rare infection forced doctors to amputate his arm.
Pastor Nate Hille told WTSP-TV he lost his shoulder, arm, and nearly died after he fell off a step stool six months ago and scratched his elbow.
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What should have been a minor injury turned into something far more troubling: necrotizing fasciitis, described by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a “rare bacterial infection that spreads quickly in the body and can cause death.”
“I ended up having to get my arm amputated,” Hille said. “And then, over the course of 19 days, had 12 surgeries, lost my scapula deltoid, muscle, minor pectoral muscle, lymph nodes, and just continued to have surgery, after surgery, after surgery.”
His wife, Cassie, said in an interview last April the entire ordeal moved very fast, as the family had no idea the scratch would develop into anything so serious.
Hille, speaking to media months after the ordeal, said he leaned heavily on his Christian faith despite facing unimaginable horror that placed innumerable pressures on him, his wife, and his family.
“Who am I to question the Lord?” Hille told WTSP-TV. “He gave me an arm, and He took it away. That was just kind of our attitude towards this — that the Lord gives and He takes away, and we are to bless His name regardless of what transpires in your life.”
And the pastor wasn’t done there. Hille, looking even deeper into God’s plan for his life, said he believes God used his time in the hospital for him to minister and speak with others.
“I got to talk to people about the Lord that I never would have gotten to talk to otherwise,” Hille said.
Even in the hospital, as he clung to life, Cassie said her husband was thinking of her and asking if she was able to take care of herself.
“He woke up from sedation, and his first concern was, ‘Are you taking care of yourself? Have you been eating? Have you had enough water?'” she told WTSP-TV earlier this year.
Cassie, too, found herself selflessly praying with others as she faced her own uncertainty at the beginning of her husband’s health crisis.
“Even in the tragedy of all of it, there has been so much good,” she said back in April. “And we have been able to share the Lord with people that we would have never met, you know, sitting in those waiting rooms, praying with families that maybe didn’t have hope.”
With this trust, obedience, and love for others in mind, the dire health crisis didn’t come without its difficulties; the situation was hard on the family as they navigated uncertainty and change.
Despite losing his right arm and hand, the faith leader said he fully trusts God’s plans.
He’s even preaching this weekend at Bible Baptist Church in Plant City, Florida, sharing the goodness of the Lord with parishioners “to thank God for all that He’s done and to give thanks to Him, just for His mercy and grace and all that He’s done for us.”
The Hille family’s reaction to tragedy offers two important lessons for us all: the importance of relying on God even when we face incomprehensible circumstances and the call to love others more than ourselves.
Hille and his wife have truly lived out 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 (NIV), which reads, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Despite their monumental loss, they’re still crediting God.
Beyond that, while they could have been mired in the mess of their own pain, they looked beyond themselves to find others needing hope, talking with them, praying, and offering encouragement.
It’s the sort of Gospel-driven love encapsulated in Scriptures such as Philippians 2:3 (ESV), which reads, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
Continue to pray for Hille, his wife, and his family.
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