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.”1 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.”2