The joy of feeling Hopeful not Helpless
Before I head back to the beginning of what has been the biggest challenge of my life, I want to share with you thoughts from a talk a gave yesterday at the Darden School Christian Fellowship. It gave me a chance to express how important the encouragement of others has been in my recovery.
There are times in our life where we may feel helpless but I can tell you that even in those times there is no reason to feel hopeless.
The Bible says hope is believing in things unseen. Six months ago I was in a hospital bed only able to move a couple fingers and toes. I was told by people who knew a lot more than me that I would get better. Almost 3 weeks went by and nothing changed but I hung on to those words “ you will get better” Here is my personal version of 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 matter how weak and miserable I was I did not lose heart, though my outer man was in turmoil, I found my inner man being renewed day by day. 17For momentary, light affliction produced in me an eternal weight of glory far beyond anything I could comprehend. I am thankful I could learn in my adversity not to look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen (God is with me, I will get better) for the things which are seen are temporal, but the faith and character that were made evident will continue by God’s grace, to make me a better person. 7 months later the promise of me getting better is becoming a reality.
But this today my desire is to encourage you toward as the Bible says, “love and good works.”
You see my hope in getting better was firmly rooted in my faith in God. But the encouragement of others has allowed me to persevere and come back from what is called Guillain Barre Syndrome. If you know me at all, you know I’m a huge UVA sports fan.
UVA basketball coach Tony Bennett says all the time, if you want to go fast, go alone if you want to go far go together. He also quotes from a Ted Talk “If you learn to use it right adversity will buy you a ticket to a place you couldn’t have gone any other way.”I have personally experienced how True this proverb is and the Ted Talk quote.
The Bible has a lot to say about being the one, being kind, and the importance of encouraging one another. I want to quickly focus on one passage which is mentioned in 3 of the 4 gospels. Luke 5:18-25 New International Version (NIV)
18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus.
20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.”
21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God.
Verse 20 is striking. It wasn’t because of the paralyzed man’s faith, it was because of the faith of his friends. I did not immediately stand up. It took a great deal of time but after 56 days in the hospital and rehab, On April 25th I did go home praising God. Not just for my health but for how He showed me what the support of others can do in a person’s life.
What an incredible thing these men did for their friend in need. This is what happened to me. When I needed it most, folks continuously carried me to the One of true Hope.
I will close with a quote from Mother Teresa.
“I know God won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love. God can do things you cannot, you can do things God cannot; together we can do great things.” May it be so for all of us.