Have you ever wondered why God allows bad things to happen? Why there is pain and suffering in the world when He could stop it all if He wanted? Let me share with you what happened to me 25 years ago today and you be the judge of whether or not good can come out of bad.
It was my 7th grade year and I was all of 4′ 11″ and 75 pounds. I was a sports nut and what I lacked in size I made up in speed and determination. Baseball was my first love and like most kids I dreamed of one day going pro. I was always making All-star teams and what not so when my cousin Deron called and said I should switch from soccer to football during the fall sports season I was on board. As you can tell already from the picture in this post, things didn’t turn out so well.
September 23, 1985. My team was playing the late game and the call was for me (a running back) to run a reverse. Unfortunately the exchange between myself and the quarterback didn’t go so well and there was a fumble. As I reached down to try to scoop it up with my left leg extended far behind me, two guys (one 145 pounds and the other 135 pounds) both came down on the back of my left leg and shattered my femur bone almost all the way up by the hip. In fact, when the paramedics came out they thought I had just dislocated my hip and that’s how they were treating me, which turned out to make things worse.
I won’t get into all the details of that night but let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. I ended up having surgery that night to put a pin in my leg and I then spent the next month in the hospital in traction. After that came a full body cast for 2 more months. As you can see in the picture the cast went all the way down my left leg, halfway down my right leg and all the way up my chest. A bar connected the two legs so they could not move at all the entire time. Lying flat on your back for 3 months is not fun. Being constantly dependent on others is not fun. Being a sports junkie and not being able to go out and run and play is not fun. Having to use a jar and bedpan for the bathroom for 3 months when you need others help to do it and you’re a 12 year old boy…really not fun. However, looking back this was the best thing to ever happen to me in my life. Here’s why…
When I was able to return to sports, while I was still fast, I had lost the advantage I once had. I continued to play sports even into high school but when I was 16 I got a summer job that I loved. When the fall rolled around I decided to quit soccer so I could keep my job in the evenings. I told myself though that once baseball season came there was no way I’d quit baseball. Guess what…I did. I realized that at my size and with my quickness gone, there wasn’t a future for me in baseball, but there was the possibility with the job I had. So I continued working there and it was that summer that I met Lisa. She not only ended up becoming my wife a few years later but through her, her family and their church, I ended up becoming a follower of Jesus on July 27, 1993.
The rest as they say is history. After owning two businesses, God called me into vocational ministry and now in the past 10+ years I’ve been able to lead 1000’s into a relationship with Jesus and had the privilege of training over 10000 other churches during my time with Purpose Driven Ministries. Now I get the opportunity to start a new church in Harrisburg which I’m sure God is going to use to make an eternal impact. And it all can be traced back to, what at the time seemed like a devastating injury, 25 years ago today.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I do now…God wants to take what Satan means for evil and turn it around for your good. The choice is ours though. Will you become bitter or become better? Will you “Consider it pure joy when you face trials of many kinds…”? Difficult times are like weight lifting. What builds muscle is when you push through the resistance of the weights pushing down on you. Without the struggle, your muscles wouldn’t be built up. It’s the same with your faith. God will allow tough times in your life not because He doesn’t love you, but because He knows that if you stay strong to Him and His Word that your faith will be stronger than ever.
So what problem or challenge do you need to thank God for today? Who knows, like me you may be able to look back in 3 years, 10 years, 25 years and say “Wow that’s the best thing that every happened to me because if it hadn’t I wouldn’t have and be all that I am today”.