Since I became a quadriplegic in August 2013, I’ve spent most of my time thinking of this whole ordeal as a negative event. We all have difficult or catastrophic events in our lives, and becoming paralyzed from the shoulders down was my catastrophic event. Losing the things I thought made up my identity—my home, my job, my physical appearance, all of my material possessions—was an adjustment I was not prepared to face. And learning to live life in a facility with 24 hour dependence on others was frustrating, degrading at times, and very discouraging.
Being completely overwhelmed and confused about why this happened I diligently searched in my Bible, prayed, and asked for input from other trusted Christians. No light bulb went off during the first year. In fact, I had some devastating things happen during that time and found myself asking God, what good is all of this? I was bitter and filled with rage much of the time. I was angry at God and angry at people.
Amazingly enough, over the last few weeks I feel like I’ve gained some positive perspective on my quadriplegia. Don’t get me wrong—I haven’t had a day yet when I felt happy about my current life circumstances. There are days when I just want to give up and wish I could disappear from this earth. In all honesty, I think there will be many more days like that ahead. And yet as much as I want to fight putting the next statement on paper (and saying it out loud) I’m going to do it anyway: something inside of me is pushing me to believe this is not a bad thing at all. This seemingly “negative” life change could actually be a good and perfect gift.
Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. — James 1:17 (NLT)
When I get weary of living this way, I sometimes think of Paul. Although I don’t dare compare my circumstances to Paul as he went through life-threatening events almost daily, I do know the Lord chose not to take away his thorn (whatever it was) so his power could be revealed.
Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”… For when I am weak, then I am strong. — 2 Corinthians 12:8-9, and v. 10 (NLT)
I talked with a dear friend of almost 30 years, who I consider to be a spiritual mentor, about healing. She taught me that healing comes to us in different ways. It’s not always physical healing that we need. I realized when I was able-bodied I looked for self-worth through things of this world and I never felt at peace or complete. Now that I have none of these worldly things I am completely reliant on God for my peace and sense of completeness. This has been and continues to be a soul healing process and it has only come to me as a result of my accident.
I have quoted this passage in several of my posts and will do it again…
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. — Romans 8:28 (NLT)