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Tag Archives: Christian devotional

Soldier of the Cross

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As expected, I’ve had another traumatic hospital experience that’s prompted me to write this blog post. I wish that I wrote my best blog posts during times when I’m on the upswing in my faith and filled with overwhelming hope and good news; but if I’ve learned anything over the last four years as a quadriplegic, the hardest times have been the most fruitful times in terms of my spiritual growth.

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Apart from God, I Have No Good Thing

For the last few months, I have been fighting to believe that God is good at all times. I am facing a drastic change in my living situation. I will still be in a facility but it might be a different facility and it will definitely mean living in a double room with someone I do not know. These changes terrify me.

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The Beauty of Affliction

We all have a journey. I’ve been fighting mine as a paralyzed person because it’s felt so hard. I’ve been trying to tell God, this is too much for me. I kept thinking that he would make it easier because of my diligent prayers and the prayers of so many others in my life. And yet in many ways things just got harder. There were more visits to the ICU and more physical pain. There was more emotional turmoil and a deep depression. And I just couldn’t understand why he was allowing these things to occur.

It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. — Psalm 119: 71

Suffering and affliction can bring about a desperation for God. I’ve learned things when I’ve suffered that I never would’ve learned when things were going along nicely. It’s my most painful moments that make me desperate to hold on to Jesus and believe his words. I want to know him in a way I’ve never wanted to before. I thirst for a close relationship with him. When I feel the worst inside, I think about him grasping onto my arm as if I were hanging off the side of a cliff. It gives me comfort and peace.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. — John 16:33

There was a time in my life when I knew the truth about God but chose not to live according to it. I drank too much and got into dangerous relationships. Nothing could fill my empty soul. I finally reached out to a support group and was able to get sober for almost 3 years. That’s when I began to reach out to God once again and sought the fellowship of Christians in a bible-based church. And if you know my story, you know that I fasted one day, fainted in my kitchen, and woke up paralyzed.

I have often questioned why this happened to me when I was on my road to recovery. My road to reconnect with God and people. Why such a tragedy? Why now? It seems like when I was on my way to getting my life fixed, it suddenly became broken. Snapped like the C4 vertebrae in my neck. In a split second – the blink of an eye – everything changed.

I have contemplated this idea of my life being broken during my “upswing” for a little over two years. I have come to this conclusion: Is my life really broken? Or am I being healed?

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees. — Psalm 119:67-68

True Healing

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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)