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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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Praise God

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Last week I spent three days confined to my bed because my wheelchair was broken. Being confined to my bed sucks the life out of me. When this happens I have too much time to think. Because I can’t move I get anxious and paranoid and feel like I want to jump out of my skin. I get deeply depressed.

It’s inevitable during these times that I question God and his plan for me. I feel like this is so unfair and I don’t understand. If he would only give me a hint of why this is happening. But I just seem to go from one day to the next confused about my life circumstances. Dazed and confused. And very, very angry.

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise–the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. — Hebrews 13:15

It is important for me to continually praise God even in the midst of suffering. It is important for me to share with others my praise of and trust in God. What is happening to me has a greater purpose than what I can see. One day I will praise God for these life circumstances. I have to hold on from day to day and focus on things above and not what’s happening here on earth. Easier said than done!

The day this happened, I prayed diligently for God to do something to help me to connect with him. I definitely felt like I couldn’t get my life together enough to stay focused on what was important. I’m not saying God “did” this to me. But I do believe he allowed it and it has a purpose. No matter how it came about, I don’t want to go back to my former way of life. I was miserable and confused. But I don’t want to be paralyzed either. I’m still miserable and confused.

…for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. — Philippians 2:13

The Lord said, “Surely I will set you free for purposes of good… — Jeremiah 15:11

God has a good purpose in all of this. For this reason, I can praise him. One day I will be set free. There will be no more pain. There will be no more sadness. There will be no more confusion. For this reason, I can praise him.

One Day Closer

Every day I think about where I am–a nursing facility–and I ask myself, how can I get through this day? When I sit in the dining room, there are people drooling, sleeping instead of eating, babbling nonstop about nothing. My room is at the end of a long hallway with rooms on both sides. As you walk down the hall there are people yelling for help from their rooms. I think to myself, this is not where I’m supposed to be!

1 Peter 1:6 – 7

In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith— of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

2 Corinthians 3:16 – 18

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Being here feels like a trial. It feels like suffering at times. Why quadriplegia, God! This is so different than how I lived when I was able-bodied. And yet there is hope for me. On a good day, I think the following–maybe I’ve been put here to be a light. Maybe some of these people just need me to smile at them each day and give them some hope. Maybe they need an advocate (especially the ones who can’t even speak).

The Bible says our troubles are light and momentary. On a very good day, I realize this period of time in my life is light and momentary if I look at it in terms of eternity. And I have to remember, things could always be worse.

1 Peter 1:3 – 4

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.

No matter what I go through, I have an inheritance. It’s guaranteed. It’s ironclad. No stroke of a pen on a will can ever change it. It’s all mine. And it’s something to look forward to as each day passes. On my roughest days when I am in severe pain or depressed or just tired of being imprisoned in this quadriplegic body, I think to myself, I am one day closer to receiving my inheritance. And no matter what happens to me in this life, or how many mistakes I make on this journey, that inheritance will never perish, spoil or fade. Now that’s something I can hold on to for one more day.