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In His Own Words RICHARD’S STORY

 



In His Own Words

RICHARD’S STORY

On August 27, 2008, an accident at work forever changed my life—for the better.

As I returned from the cafeteria with my lunch that day, the powered wheelchair I had used for over eight years abruptly stopped. Unfortunately, the forward momentum pitched me out onto the concrete sidewalk, and I broke my left femur. This accident began a journey of pain, perspiration, inspiration, and sanctification that continues on to this day.

 

I was in the hospital a solid nine and a half months before I was able to go home. Why so long? One reason was that I had “died” on the operating table at the end of my first surgery to repair the broken leg. The anesthesiologist who got my heart restarted visited me the next day in ICU and recommended that I avoid any and all surgeries the rest of my life. Yet due to infections and other reasons I had to undergo surgery another six times before I would get to go home.

 

Then after seven days at home, I rebroke my leg and had to return to the hospital for yet another surgery—the eighth one. This time an awesome orthopedic surgeon—a fellow believer— put a titanium rod in my femur. That approach seems to have finally solved my problems. I spent over eleven months— almost a full year—in various hospitals, and I was out of work for a total of fourteen months.

During that long ordeal many people asked me, “How do you keep such a positive attitude?” Some even asked, “How are you keeping your sanity?”

 

What kept me positive and sane was my firm belief that God has a plan for all of our lives. As a Christian I knew all along that Christ has a home for me in heaven and that since he wasn’t taking me to be with him, since he continued to spare my life each time I underwent one of those surgeries, he must have a reason for me to go on living. Oh, I won’t lie. Many times, too many to count, I asked myself why I kept on fighting to recover. Giving up would have been so much easier.

 

But God would not let me give up. For instance, he let me know how much I was loved. The great support I received from my wife and my family was amazing. Their care and prayers for my recovery helped keep me going. There was also a great group of Christian brothers and sisters who often visited me and consistently prayed for my recovery. I logged over three hundred visits from this body of believers.

So I can tell you with absolute certainty that God will carry you through whatever it is you’re dealing with. God carried me through. Trust him. He will not fail you.

BEAUTY

FROM ALL THINGS

IS GOD ALWAYS GOOD?


When the cancer is in remission, we say, “God is good.”

When the pay raise comes, we announce, “God is good.”

When the university admits us or the final score favors our team, “God is good.”

Would and do we say the same under different circumstances? In the cemetery as well as the nursery? In the unemployment line as well as the grocery line? In days of recession as much as in days of provision? Is God always good?

 

For my friends Brian and Christyn Taylor, the question is more than academic. During the last year their seven-year-old daughter was hospitalized for more than six months with six surgeries for a disease of the pancreas, Brian’s job was discontinued, several family members died, another was diagnosed with brain cancer, and Christyn was pregnant with child number four. Life was tough. She blogged:

Multiple hospital stays with my daughter were exhausting, but I held faith. Losing Brian’s family members one by one until there was only one left, who was then diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer, was incomprehensible, but I still held faith. Being hospitalized seven-and-a-half weeks with a placental abruption was terrifying, but I held faith. I held to the faith that God worked for my good, and though I did not necessarily understand the trials, I trusted God’s bigger, unseen plan.

 

God and I had a deal—I would endure the trials that came my way as long as he acknowledged my stopping point. He knew where my line had been drawn, and I knew in my heart he would never cross it.

 

He did. I delivered a stillborn baby girl. With my daughter Rebecca still at home on a feeding tube and her future health completely unknown, it was a foregone conclusion that this baby we so wanted and loved would be saved. She wasn’t. My line in the sand was crossed. My one-way deal with God was shattered.

 

Everything changed in that moment. Fear set in, and my faith began to crumble. My “safety zone” with God was no longer safe. If this could happen in the midst of our greatest struggles, then anything was fair game. For the first time in my life, anxiety began to overwhelm me.

 

I have spent weeks trying to figure out why a God I so love could let this happen to my family at such a time. The only conclusion I came to was this: I have to give up my line in the sand. I have to offer my entire life, every minute portion of it, to God’s control regardless of the outcome.

My family is in God’s hands. No lines have been drawn, no deals made, I have given our lives to the Lord. Peace has entered where panic once resided, and calmness settled where anxiety once ruled.

At some point we all stand at this intersection. Is God good when the outcome is not? Our choice comes down to this: trust God or turn away. He will cross the line. He will shatter our expectations. And we will be left to make a decision.


In His Own Words:

GARY’S STORY

Since the very beginning of my life, God has been drawing me to himself. Through high school, college, and twenty-

one years of marriage he was near me, but I pushed him away. You see, I thought I knew a better way to live—and that better way was my way. I didn’t need God, “religious life,” or any part of whatever people do in church.

 

I thank God for his patience. He let me go down my road of destruction because he knew it was the only way to bring this man, full of pride, to his knees. God knew bringing me low was the only way to get me to look up.

 

After twenty-one years of marriage, my wife was so sick of my thinking I knew it all, of my doing what I thought was right and not listening to anyone else, she asked me for a divorce. The unthinkable happened to me: I went through a divorce, which led to a business failure and ended up in bankruptcy. I was totally bankrupt! I had no wife, no family, no business, no money, no friends—and, worst of all, no relationship with Christ.

 

Why did this happen to me? I started looking for answers. And that’s when God put a faithful Christian in my life. She shared with me a tape of her pastor’s sermon, I listened to it, and the light went on. The next Sunday I attended church and —go figure—the pastor’s sermon was called “The Husband’s Role in the Marriage.” God’s timing is perfect. I hadn’t been in church for years, but the first Sunday back, my heavenly Father had a special sermon just for me.

 

The following Tuesday morning, when I was on the trail for my 5:30 run, God told me to trust him with my life. I told him out loud, “You have to be 100 percent real—or I don’t want any part of it.” Through the years I had seen too many people play church, be religious, put on the church face. I wanted a real, personal relationship with God—or nothing.

 

At forty-three years old I was utterly humbled by God’s grace and mercy. I repented of my sins and, by faith, accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior that very morning.

 

The rest, as they say, is history. I have an intimate relationship with God. He gave me a real hunger to learn his Word and his ways. He blessed me with a Christian wife that most men could only dream of—and seven grandchildren. I’ve had the blessed opportunity to lead four of them into a relationship with Jesus Christ, and I am confident that the other three are on their way.

 

Whatever you are going through, know that God will absolutely get you through it. Trust God one day at a time, even one hour or one minute at a time. He can and he will get you through whatever tough and painful circumstances you face.

 


Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. * I keep the LORD

before me always. Because he is close by my side, I will not be hurt. * God is my protection. He makes my way free

from fault. * People who do what is right may have many problems, but the LORD will solve them all. * How precious also

are Your thoughts to me, O God! How

great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand.

2 CORINTHIANS 4:17 NIV; PSALM

16:8; PSALM 18:32; PSALM 34:19; PSALM 139:17–18 NKJV

 


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