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Father Prays, “God, Don’t Let My Son Die,” After Horrific Lawnmower Accident

“I said, 'God, don't let my son die,' is first thing I said. I could see my son laying there. I could see his heart and his lungs and his intestines and his ribs. it just was horrific. There's no other way to say it,” says Kenny Batson.

On a summer evening in 2010 Kenny Batson was mowing his lawn on his riding mower when he noticed two of his kids playing near nearby. “Something caught my attention and I knew they were behind me. I turned around and I kind of gave them a glare and they knew to quit and they both quit.”

But a moment later, his seven-year-old son Josiah snuck up behind him when he wasn’t looking.

Kenny says, “I was hitting reverse to back it up and get closer to the tree, and all of a sudden, so I hit something and it killed the engine. And I – it scared me. I didn't know what it was. And I looked down and I could see my son underneath-underneath the lawnmower.”

The mower blades struck Josiah on his upper body and arm, cutting deep into his chest. His hand, and half of his ribcage had been nearly cut off. He clung to life as his dad rushed him to a nearby hospital. He was then life-flighted to Kansas City Children’s Mercy Hospital.

His mom Angie remembers waiting for answers. She says, “And I just wanted somebody to tell me he was going to be okay. I just was just freaking out cause my baby was laying on a, you know, laying on a table and I didn't know if he was even gonna make it.”

Dr. Caloline De Roode was one of his physicians at Children’s and saw how critical his condition was. She says, “Basically I could see his heart and lungs because of how much of his chest wall was missing an – a centimeter more and it would – his heart would have been open and he would have never made it a-a minute after that, he would not have survived.”

Josiah’s dad Kenny is a pastor. In the anguish of watching his son suffer, he struggled to understand God’s plan. He remembers, “Is God mad at me or judging me? Or, am I under a curse? Or, what's the problem here? Cause I still can't figure out how God would permit something like that to happen. I felt like I was going to lose my mind.”

As word spread, many from their church family made the long drive to the hospital to pray for Josiah’s survival and healing.

“When I got to the waiting room, I couldn't believe all the people that were there people from church and, a-another church I pastored, a lot of them came up. I could literally feel the grace of God and I could feel prayer. That's the only way I can explain it. I just could tell people were praying for us. That’s what got us through," says Kenny.

By the next day their prayers were being answered. A surgery to reattach Josiah’s hand went beyond doctor’s expectations.

Angie says, “As soon as he woke up, the very first thing he said to me, he said, ‘Mama, I can – I can move my hand’ And I was like, ‘Sure, you can, baby.’ I was just kind of like just talking to him. And then looked over there and there it was, it was just going just like this [motions hand]."

Kenny says, “That was a miracle because his hand was cut off. All the tendons and everything was cut off."

“There are wonderful things in medicine that we get to witness that don't always have a good explanation. The fact that he had any motion at all, with everything that had gone on in that arm, I agree is really amazing,” says Dr. De Roode.

Josiah spent weeks in the hospital ICU and burn unit enduring numerous surgeries and skin grafts. Dr. De Roode says, “He had dirt and grass in his bone, like pounded into segments of his bone that we, over time, have to debride and take out and remove.”

Every surgery was successful and Josiah’s condition soon stabilized. The family found hope in the prayers of God’s people and their Lord Jesus.

“I truly know Him as my Lord and Savior, so that helped. That was everything. But as far as his recovery it’s been wonderful. It’s a miracle!” says Kenny. 

Dr. De Rood says, “There just always so much love around them that I think that lifted him up and helped him through all of this. He really has an amazing spirit.”

After 40 days in the hospital Josiah returned home to continue healing. Over the following year Kenny and Angie made peace with God.

“I remember laying on my face here just praying that morning. All of a sudden, I found myself saying, ‘God, I thank you for the accident.’ I was really more thankful that God saved his life. I saw it differently. I saw it as God saved his life, rather than God let something bad happen that He shouldn't have let happen. He doesn’t get taken by surprise. He's Sovereign. And anything and everything in our life, if we're trusting in Jesus Christ, every single thing goes through Him. He is good. He doesn't just do good things. He is good," says Kenny.

“God taught me to trust Him completely and to forgive and to realize that I need Him just as much as anybody else needs Him. And that I've got to lean on Him in the hard times and in the good times. And that He's good no matter what is going on,” says Angie.

It’s been over ten years since the accident and Josiah has lived a healthy, active life; thankful for God’s goodness and the prayers that brought him through a terrible situation.

Josiah says, “Just 'cause something seems bad or looks bad, doesn't mean that God can't use it for good, because I believe that God can use anything for good. And if I could go back and made it where it never happened, I wouldn't. 'Cause I feel like overall, God made it a good thing.”

“I just keep on thinking God is still good and He's – Josiah's still here and he's healthy and he's ornery and he's smart and God has blessed us,” says Angie.

Kenny says, “I like hugging him and I squeeze him real tight all the time. He probably just thinks, ‘Oh, my dad loves me,’ but he doesn't understand. I'm so glad I get to hug him. I'm just so thankful.”

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