Some of the people I admire the most are people who emerge from trial and tragedy with a healthy, positive outlook on life. Overcomers, I call them. I met Matt several weeks ago but got to know him better today, working at his church.
I learned today that he’s confined to a motorized wheel-chair because of a head-on motorcycle accident over 25 years ago. That the other driver was someone he knew. Yet I heard no malice in his voice as he told me his story. I learned that the accident took his future plans from him in a split second. That he went back to college – a second time and scared to death – in his mid 30s to acquire the skills needed to start anew. That he had to ask classmates to share their notes with him because he cannot write enough to take notes, the accident having taken most of his fine-motor skills. That he graduated with honors – that he earned A’s in spite of his disability.
I heard the wonderful story of God’s work in his life, how He brought people into Matt’s life to encourage and strengthen him, about the tutors that became friends. About his job, his friends and loyal family. About his young marriage, and the story of how he and his wife met. About his two-week old daughter. As he described her to me she seemed almost the miracle that Isaac was to Abraham and Sarah.
We went to lunch. Matt drove. I watched in wonder as computer-assisted technology helped him navigate. I tried (unsuccessfully, I think) to imagine myself in the world that has become normal for him, relying on God who loves and cares as much today as the day before his accident. I tried to picture the healing, forgiving, remarkable work God must have done through the years for my new friend to be such a blessing. Today he’s an elder on his church board, a voice for progress, a husband, and a brand new dad.
What are you facing today? I’m facing some significant challenges, maybe you are too. You may feel like someone just crossed the center line and hit you head on. That figuratively speaking your motorcycle was no more protection than Matt’s was a quarter of a century ago. What are you going to do?
I have only one bit of counsel for you – fresh tonight because I spent the day with an obvious overcomer:
Let God work.
I saw with my own eyes today the result of years of God at work after a tragedy, after many would have lost hope and caved in to despair. God is bigger than whatever is is we’re facing right now. He probably won’t lessen the struggle, whatever it is, He may not reverse decisions or actions or circumstances to make everything “right” as we define the word. He didn’t change everything for for quite a few we read about in the Bible either.
But He DID say “I will never leave you. I will never forsake you.”
Which means WE can say “though I walk through the valley…” (you know the verse) “… I will fear no evil. Because You are with me.”
I met another overcomer today and he blessed me, probably without his even knowing so.
I hope God uses my life now and then to press courage into another. I don’t need to know when it happens, I just need to be the kind of man God can use to do that, should He decide to. By His grace, in His strength, I will be.
Thanks Matt, for being real today. I saw Christ in you and you encouraged me.
It was a great day. (And the system works fine – can’t beat that!) 😀