“However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” 1 Peter 4:16

In 1985, Bill Roades of North Huntingdon Township, Pennsylvania was on a roll.  As a medical technician and operator of heart and lung machines, Bill was on the cutting edge of science.   His wife Marcia was a special education teacher who also brought home a good salary. The two of them were card-carrying members of the American dream and middle-class suburbia.

Bill was also an avid archer.  He set a few local archery records by shooting at least one trophy buck four years in a row.  Then on that fateful day in July 1985, Bill took a short motorcycle ride on his brother’s bike.  As he rounded the corner approach to the bridge he knew he was in trouble.  He misjudged the bend and hit his right shoulder on a large girder.  In a split second the nerves from his arm were torn away from his spinal column. The resulting paralysis was immediate and life changing.

After three life-saving operations, Bill faced his long recuperation with thoughts of despair, denial, and deep grief. Bill recalls, “You mourn the loss of an arm the way you would the death of a friend or a family pet”.

As Bill began to get in touch with his spiritual nature, he realized that God wasn’t through with him yet.  Despite the fact he lost his occupation, altered his physical appearance, and now was unable to do all the things he once did, he was determined to move ahead with life.  Bill claimed God’s promises, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Nevertheless, you have done well to share with me in my affliction.”  Phil 3:13-14

With that assurance, he began to think about his favorite pastime – archery.  He contacted another disabled person who told him how to modify a compound bow to accommodate a nylon mouth-piece on the string.  By using his teeth and a modified anchor point, Bill now shoots a 60-pound compound bow and is again taking some nice deer.

Each time he pulls back the bowstring and feels the power of the draw, he is reminded of God’s power. Bill now appropriates God’s strength in place of his own limited energy.

Another man who was no stranger to pain, anxiety, suffering, threats, fear and despair was King David.  He penned a few lines that will help all of us keep the proper perspective on life and living.

“God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth should change,
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.”  Psalms 46:1-3

Personal Application:

When those very tough trials come that test your faith, can you rest in God as your refuge and strength?

If you are like most of us it takes some practice to totally trust Him for His peace, presence, power, and plan.  Remember dear friend, Jesus is HOPE when we are broken and HEALING when we are hurting.

God desires to be our Comforter in tribulation–2 Cor. 1:3-4.  He is our Protector when fear falls upon us.  Our Lord stands ready to be invited into your pain or problem.

“I am in pain and distress; may your salvation, O God protect me.  I will praise God’s name in song and glorify Him with Thanksgiving.”  Ps. 69:29-30

Jim Grassi, D. Min.