It was on June 19, 2001, that Pat Boone's 25-year-old grandson, Ryan Corbin, fell through a skylight on the roof of the condo where he lives in southern California, and came extremely close to losing his life. His skull was crushed as he fell three stories to a cement floor. Many thought he would never awaken from the deep coma of his mind. Then, there was the dreaded fear that he would survive at best in a vegetative state.
Not long after the accident Pat Boone and Ryan's mother, Lindy Boone Michaels, were on the Larry King show to talk about it. They talked about his recovery, healing and wellness as though it had already taken place. There were ministers on the program with Larry and Pat talking about the power of prayer and faith. They were men I have met and talked with across many years, men like Oral Roberts, Jack Hayford, Kenneth Copeland and Robert Schuller.
Every bit of progress, no matter how slight and slow, was reported in subsequent programs. Some of the same questions that are being asked today were asked from the beginning. Why did God let this happen? Why do bad things happen to good people? What possible good can come out of this?
Kitty and I and our son, Mark, a mathematics teacher at Glenville State College in West Virginia, watched and listened carefully to the discussion on Christmas night, 2002, with Larry King, Pat Boone, Ryan Corbin, his mother Lindy Boone Michaels, Ryan's sister Jessi, and his pastor Rick Warren, of the Saddleback Community Church of Orange County, California. Pastor Warren reminded the television audience that "God specializes in doing the impossible."
As tears of gratitude and joy welled up in my eyes I recalled the last conversation I had with Pat. It took place at an early morning breakfast at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN, less than a year ago. We were both attending a seven o'clock breakfast in honor of Israel. Present were some high profile people whose names would be familiar with many who read this column.
There were a limited number of guests seated on the dais and because Pat and I were early arrivals, we had more time for personal conversation.
Until Dr. Ed McAteer, the congenial host and President of the Religious Roundtable, called the meeting to order, we talked primarily about Ryan and his condition. Pat's optimism and faith are an inspiration to those who hear him speak or sing. The last words he spoke to me that morning, and I think to most people who conversed with him, were as they had been for a number of months: "Remember to pray for Ryan."
Millions of people around the world have prayed for Ryan Corbin and continue to do so. His remarkable recovery to this point has been miraculous and every member of the Boone family, including Pat and his wife Shirley, Lindy, Jessi and pastor Warren, are unwavering in their faith and predictions for continued healing and improvement for Ryan in 2003.
We can all pray for each other. People need our prayers and we all need the prayers of others. Jesus said, "Ask, and it shall be given you . . ." (Luke 11:9). He also said, "Watch and pray . . ." (Matthew 26:41). The blessings of God are always just a prayer away. Try it sometime. You can begin today to change your life and that of others. If you don't know how to begin, you can begin by praying for me, all those you know and especially for Ryan.
Copyright © 2002 Bill Ellis. All rights reserved.