Luke Keller was a junior in high school suffering from depression, thoughts of suicide, and separation-anxiety disorder. His dad left when he was ten years old, his grandmother, who had lived with him, passed away from cancer, and his grandfather had been sentenced to prison.

He remembers the day the suicidal thoughts almost got the best of him.

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He had just returned home from school when he saw a list of chores his mom left for him to complete, the Portsmouth Daily Times reports. In an attempt to clear his head, Luke started up the lawn mower and got to work.

With suicidal thoughts still filling his mind, Luke made an effort to talk to the one person he never tried to talk to before, God.

“I said ‘God if you are real. If you are what people say you are, then tell me something because today I’m going to end my life. I need you now if you’re real.’”

As he worked through his list of chores, he heard a voice say, “I want you to follow me.” Luke asked the Lord to repeat his request, and again he heard Him say, “I want you to follow me.”

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Luke fell to his knees and started crying. He tells Independent Journal Review that what he felt at that moment is almost unexplainable. He was left in “complete shock” after enduring an entire year of therapy and feeling as though there was only one way out. He couldn’t believe the suicidal thoughts and the feeling of separation anxiety were gone.

All he could say was “Thank you” over and over again.

Feeling as though it was God who gave him the strength to carry on, Luke used his senior year of football to show his gratitude. After every touchdown the starting running back scored, he would kneel in the end zone and point up toward the sky.

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However, not everyone was a fan of his touchdown celebration. When his team made it to the second round of the play-offs, one of the officials told Luke that if he made the gesture again, he would be penalized and not allowed to play the rest of the game.

“I was completely devastated,” Keller explains. “What I play for is to glorify God. I decided I was just going to do it and if I got thrown out, then I got thrown out. I wouldn’t even be here right now if it wasn’t for God saving me.”

At halftime, he was given a note from his sister that simply read:

“Be patient and let God work.”

After scoring another touchdown, Keller refrained from pointing to the sky. But when he looked into the stands, he saw the 7,000 people in attendance kneeling and pointing to the sky, just like he had been doing after every touchdown.

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“I felt like God said, ‘Listen Luke, I told you Satan would come at you and I would separate it.’”

Luke’s story didn’t end there, either. Thanks to his stellar play during his senior season, Luke was recruited by Morehead State University in Kentucky. However, life threw a few more curve balls.

At the start of his sophomore season, Luke suffered what was thought to be a sprained ankle, but was later discovered to be a more severe injury that would require surgery.

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However, when Luke woke up after his surgery, he discovered that the surgeon had accidentally operated on both ankles. While working to get ready for his junior season, Luke suffered a broken wrist and again needed surgery.

Later, Luke contracted MRSA from the surgery. Doctors told him his chances of putting on a uniform again were slim to none.

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Then, just six weeks into his treatment, Luke got a call from his doctor.

“He said, ‘Hey, are you sitting down?’ I’m thinking oh no, what else is going to come up,” Luke says. “He said, ‘I just wanted to tell you that God has blessed you. Your blood work is perfect. It’s completely back to normal.’”

Luke was stunned. On October 10, 2015, he was able suit up for the Morehead State Eagles again. As he ran onto the field, the same flood of emotions he felt when he heard a voice while mowing, and when he saw what the crowd had done in the stands, came rushing back.

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What Luke had been searching for that day when he contemplated suicide was finally found. He knew only one thing: “God is real.”

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