Why does God allow difficult things to happen? I do not know the answer. Every time I read the news, look at Facebook, or talk to friends, I hear bad news. I often get sad and sometimes I get angry, but it bolsters my belief that I have to keep my mind set on things above and not on earthly things (Colossians 3:1-2). I do not know the purpose of me being paralyzed, but I do believe that suffering is part of our journey.
James 1: 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
I’ve had people say so many different things about my accident. Some say I was dealt a bad hand. Others say this could never be within God’s will, because God only gives “good” gifts. Still others say it was simply a “freak” accident (I’ve said that a few times myself). I’ve had so many different opinions offered to me about healing and faith (some in a very aggressive and condescending manner), yet what I’ve learned from prayer, intense Bible study, and even input from some biblical scholars, is this: God is in control of my life. He knows what he is doing. He loves me. And He is good.
Psalm 119 68 You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.
Psalm 145 9 The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.
This conviction of God’s goodness is cemented into my heart and soul, and no matter what happens to me, I still believe it. I believe Romans 8:28 that says regardless of what happens in my life, it can have a good purpose. I believe there are things that we will never understand, and we have to be at peace with that. I also believe there is an enemy in this world that is trying to use our difficult situations to make us hate God. But we have to stay strong. We have to use the Word of God and prayer to build our spiritual muscles or our faith will wither away.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
John 10:10 The thief has come to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
Do I believe that sick and hurting people can be healed? Absolutely. Do I pray about it for myself? Yes I do. I’ve already seen some of these prayers answered and it inspires me to continue to pray all the more fervently. But there are other prayers that have not been answered and I’ve learned I have to persevere in my faith and be patient. Much good fruit can be born out of suffering or difficult life circumstances as long as we trust in God.
John 15: 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
So many good things have happened as a result of my paralysis. I have shared my faith unceasingly with my caregivers at the facility where I live. They are often amazed that I am in the position I am in but am still faithful to God. I also have many people following my blog and hearing a message of perseverance and hope. None of these things are happening because I’m such a great example. On the contrary, I am weak, but God is strong. All of this glorifies God and hopefully leads some people to think about their own relationship with Him.
In addition to all of that, my own faith has been strengthened and purified by this whole ordeal. I am digging deep in the Scriptures looking for the truth more than I ever could have imagined. My prayers are filled with a desperation for God and I’ve learned to pray very specific prayers. I’m finding I get very specific answers. My greatest joy is the deep-seated gratitude I’ve experienced, even during some of my darkest days. Even though I sit in a metal wheelchair each day, I still have hope. And I still hold on.
I do not believe that my broken neck was a freak accident or was outside the will of God. This injury has caused me to learn things I never would’ve learned as an able-bodied person. For this reason I am grateful and convinced that God is good.
Psalm 119: 67 Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.