Drawing on God’s strength

Allan Tabaro

Just before Christmas a few years ago, I was involved in a car accident that almost took my life. I sustained a spinal cord injury to my T4 vertebra, leaving me paraplegic, paralyzed from the chest down, and confined to a wheelchair.

Nothing can prepare anyone for coping with paraplegia and disability, especially to the extent that you have to rely almost completely on others for assistance. Suddenly the things you had taken for granted, like getting out of bed and walking to the bathroom, are no longer possible because your body refuses to function.

Questions flood your mind, and fear, doubt, and anxiety can get the better of you. It was like being in a bad dream, struggling to come to terms with what was happening, and hoping to wake up.

My family and friends were encouraging and stood by my side, but in the end, the difficult choice to stay positive and carry on with life is always a personal one. In my experience, though, it is possible to carry on.

It’s tough to deal with disappointment, and we always want to figure things out, but if faced with something man or money cannot fix, who do you turn to for answers? I had nowhere to turn but to God. My girlfriend gave me a Bible and told me I would find the answers I was looking for in it. “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else,” I read, “and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33) I set out to keep my end of the bargain, and God has been faithful to keep His.

I’ve learned that He isn’t surprised by our moments of pain in the valleys; in fact, He’s quietly waiting for us to call out to Him so He can enlighten our darkness. It’s one thing to be a Christian, and another to truly know who Jesus is.

God showed me that He cared as much about the condition of my spirit as that of my paralyzed body. Before my injury, I was easily distracted by the things of this world, and I got my happiness and security from them. Now I know that none of this compares to the love of Jesus, which comforts to the uttermost.

He will heal the wounds and sicknesses of our souls and plant seeds of hope in the most difficult conditions. His light will shine into the deepest valleys. “[He] is our refuge and strength and a present help in times of trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.—Eleanor Roosevelt

To the finish line!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author unknown

We can find inspiration from the life of John Stephen Akhwari, as told in Bud Greenspan’s book 100 Greatest Moments in Olympic History.

When the winner crossed the finish line in the 1968 Mexico City Olympic marathon, the officials and spectators thought that had been the highlight of the race. Then, an hour later, John Stephen Akhwari, a runner from Tanzania, entered the stadium. Bloodied and bandaged from a fall, and with a dislocated knee, he limped painfully.

As Akhwari made his way around the track in the setting sun, the remaining crowd began to cheer loudly. When he crossed the finish line, you would have thought by the roar of the crowd that Akhwari had been the victor.

Later, when asked why he had not dropped out, Akhwari replied, “I don’t think you understand. My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race. They sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race.”

When you’re bruised and bloodied by life, press on; your Creator did not send you here to start the race, but to finish it! “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1–2)

Dr. A. B. Meldrum put it this way: “Bear in mind, if you are going to amount to anything, that your success does not depend on the brilliancy and the impetuosity with which you take hold, but upon the everlasting and sanctified bull-doggedness with which you hang on after you have taken hold.” Or in other words, “Fight the good fight of faith!” (1 Timothy 6:12)

The Scottish minister and hymnist George Matheson was someone else who didn’t quit, despite the onset of blindness. His advice: “We conquer—not in any brilliant fashion—we conquer by continuing.”

Keep going, no matter what the cost. Keep fighting, no matter what bruises you get. Keep running, no matter how many times you stumble and fall. Your cuts and bruises and scrapes and scars are medals of honour in God’s sight, signs that you had the faith, courage, determination, and commitment to keep going even when it was tough! You may have fallen, but you refused to quit.

At the end of the race, you’ll be able to say, like the apostle Paul: “My only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me.” (Acts 20:24)

Now isn’t that amazing

The solution to our problems and despair may not be as hard as we imagine.

Let’s say you’re going through a desperate time and have lost your bearings, or are experiencing loss, suffering, grief, or big changes in life, to the point that you question how you’re going to go on.  Sometimes in the midst of problems and hopelessness, you can barely even have faith that God will hear you. What can you do?

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Dealing with dragons

By Marie Story

Have you ever faced a challenge? A challenge that seemed so big and scary that you wanted to run away from it before you even assessed its enormity and level of difficulty? We all reach these points in our lives when we say to ourselves, “I’m too small to tackle what’s ahead.”

Dealing with scary challenges isn’t easy. It takes a whole lot of courage.

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