Friday, May 2, 2008
Gifts Wrapped In Pain
What would you do if your son had cerebral palsy? This father and son team is inspirational, and that is a major understatement. The father is now 66 years old and still participating in the Iron man with his son. With our narrow vision we think in terms of a "handicap." We can't think of positive outcomes as a result of adversity; but when does human nature shine the brightest? Are we full of courage and triumph under the guise of pleasure and affluence?
Our first reaction to the news of a Down syndrome child, or spinal bifida, or cerebral palsy( fill in the circumstance) is tragedy. Put them away. It can be the worst defeat, or it can be the catalyst to drive a family to such a close connection that others would stand in awe and wonder. When a person can't speak they develop their non verbal skills. When a son can't walk, his father helps him to experience being an athlete by carrying him. When a family says "No," to the recommendation to institutionalize their child, they take a stand on a hill of sacrifice. What great love, when a father says, this is no vegetable, this is my son, and give him life.
This father and son are a picture to me of what our relationship is with the Lord Jesus. We are powerless, weak, and dependent; but because of his great love He endures overwhelming challenges for us. We can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us. We feel the heat, the wind, the forces of the race, but He is the one who is carrying us. His love provides for our needs, quenches our thirst, and thrills our hearts with victory, with Him we forget our disabilities.
It is a picture of the ultimate victory, to overcome the worst odds, to develop ones character, to set a shoulder to the wind and persevere. These giants among us, who receive these gifts wrapped in pain, achieve what ease can never birth. The soul refined by fire, gleaming and reflecting the Father, inspires us to greater heights and reduces whatever little obstacle we may be facing to what it truly is. Without adversity we would shrivel up and surely die. There would be no shining ones among us. No one would ever desire to chose to suffer, or should; but in all these trials there is a gift, the potential to overcome, to be stretched, to experience victory. It is up to us to decide how far we will go. Will we trust? Will we endure what seems to be so hard?
A prayer of mine is that the Lord would open my spiritual eyes that I would see life in light of eternity. Stamp eternity upon my eyes. These two men have increased my vision, my faith and my hope. I hope their example impacts your life too.