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.
Tag Archives: Christian living
John 15: 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.
When I read this verse, it reminds me of the early days after my injury. It was the first time in my life I realized that I could do nothing.
When I think back to almost 4 years ago, I remember the terror I felt when I woke up lying on my kitchen floor unable to move. After lying helplessly for almost 3 days , I was raced off to the ICU where I had surgeries to repair my broken vertebrae and insert a feeding tube and trachea. Because of the apparatus in and around my throat and larynx, I was also unable to speak.
I’ve spent the last three weeks without my computer. The first week was okay, even though I had nothing to do besides watch TV. The second week I started to become anxious and depressed because I didn’t have what I consider to be my lifeline. My laptop is the only way I can read the Bible, write my blog, and communicate with people through email, texting and phone calls.
I am amazed by the perseverance of women in my life who allow tough times to strengthen them. I know a young woman who lived through the midst of the Civil War in Liberia. Rape and molestation were rampant. She became pregnant when she was 14 years old and her parents abandoned her. She had to overcome bitterness towards those who treated her like nothing more than an object, and anger and resentment towards her parents. At 29 years old, she reflects on her past with hope and forgiveness. She wants to help other women to overcome the pain and suffering that she has endured in her own life.
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.
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.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. – James 1:2 – 4 (NIV)
Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds. My favorite word in this passage is pure. We are not just talking about regular old joy, here. We’re not talking about the kind of giddy joy that comes from situational events such as getting an A+ on a paper, getting a good review at work, or becoming infatuated with someone new. We are talking about joy that has been refined by fire and is completely unblemished. Joy that comes from going through difficult trials and yet still praises God. This is the joy that’s not watered-down or tarnished by any outside influences. This is joy that is unshakable. Joy that is cemented to the soul. Joy that clings to the heart despite the raging negative life experiences that swirl around like a hurricane. Joy that stays intact even when the flaming arrows of Satan infiltrate our minds telling us we are failures; we’re ugly; we are not worthy of a pure, faithful relationship; we are not loved and cared for; we are not worth the ground that we walk on…
This pure joy stays intact when we are facing trials of many kinds. This pure joy doesn’t grow and build when life is going perfectly and we are getting all of our prayers answered. Don’t get me wrong, I love those times and they can be euphoric and produce much joy. But this purified joy sinks its roots deep into the ground when the pink slip comes at work; when the teenager becomes rebellious; when depression seems to surround us; when the cancer diagnosis comes; when a child dies in a car accident; and when a woman faints in her kitchen and breaks her neck. If we can persevere, keep our faith, and mature through these life circumstances, we can develop the purest type of joy: a deep-seated contentment and acceptance of God’s will.
I am not there yet with this pure joy idea but I’m beginning to gain perspective. Something deep inside of me is shifting and moving me to a point of clarity about pure joy. I don’t understand why my life events have played out the way they have, but I’m beginning to understand that devastating events don’t have to be viewed as a negative events.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:28 (NLT)