I’ve been waiting for the question that hasn’t come. But it will, I’m sure of it.
“Scott, aren’t you even a tad jealous that Kevin Everett will likely retrieve all his bodily functions and mobility after suffering a potentially grave spinal cord injury?”
This is going to sound weird, I know, but Kevin should be jealous of me. Hear me out. Kevin Everett is the tight end for the Buffalo Bills who sustained a near-crippling injury while making a tackle in Sunday’s NFL season opener. He launched at his opponent, driving his helmet into the player’s chest and immediately crumpled to the ground. Early indications were that he would be paralyzed for life, his career in football over in seconds. Twenty-four hours later we were hearing he was voluntarily moving his arms and legs and his doctors were hopeful even of a full recovery and return to normal life.
Two roads, he and I, with two patently different outcomes.
When I blew a gust of relieved air with the rest of America, I steeled my mind on the truth of God’s sovereignty. One man’s miracle is another man’s blessing. Sure, the enemy was there with his typical suggestions: “…it’s not fair, is it, Scott? You didn’t get the same break, did you? God is so cruel! I’ve been listening to your prayers for your own healing for almost 26 years now…and what? Nothing. Still stuck in that wheelchair! And you’re a, what, preacher of the Gospel? You’d think your Father would look out for you…”
But I sit here, clacking away at these keys, a blessed man!
(Nice try, Slewfoot.)
The fact I am in a wheelchair does not mean I have not been healed. Oh, I have, believe me! My paralysis is a pathway to glory and I am resting in the knowledge that my Maker has set me apart for a privileged season in His sun. He’s given me a break. You want to know Me? Your brokenness is the essential way. The same Apostle who said his own suffering was working for him an eternal weight of glory, said that in the life to come some will shine like the sun, some like the moon and others like the stars in glory. I’m after the former.
I am thrilled for Mr. Everett but I wouldn’t trade my journey for anything. Years ago I picked up a copy of Jerry Bridges’ Trusting God Even When Life Hurts and found in its pages the answer to my soul’s questions and even now, years later, find myself referring to its basic tenets time and again. Mr. Bridges says that God is sovereign, meaning He can do whatever He wants because He is God. He says He is also all-wise and His children can draw comfort from the fact that while God can do whatever He wants, He knows exactly what He is doing. Everything He does has purpose. The third truth pouring from its pages is that God is all-loving. Ah, this is the most comforting unguent of all! While God does as He chooses, He always does it in view of His own glory, and always, always, for our eternal good.
This is the God of my life and I am determined to follow Him through every vale of sorrow, every mile of struggle, and every season of loss and despair. I can do this because the broken road is the blessed road and my Savior walks it with me. Had feeling been restored to me on October 3, 1981 (the day “after”) and the next 26 years been “normal” for me, I have some doubt whether I would have known the Lord as intimately as I do tonight. Perhaps yes, perhaps no. I leave even that to His sovereignty.
I praise the God who sits on the circle of the earth, over those who walk and those who don’t. Over those who succumb to disease and those who get well. Over those who serve Him and those who shake their fists at Him. Makes no difference. He is Lord.
One last thing. There was a time when I could sit down (well, of course I’d be sitting!) and write song after song. Interesting that it was in the early years of my disability and I probably wrote three dozen tunes. One of the songs that flowed out of my belly pretty much sums up how I feel about these matters. Mind you, the lyrics were written over 25 years ago and they show some youth, but they are just as real for me today as they were in the early 80’s. To the praise of His glorious grace!
HE KNOWS WHAT’S BEST FOR ME
I know I can’t walk around and at times it gets me down
But He knows and I’m kept by Jesus’ love
There’s so many things I’d like to do
Run a race and win one too
But He knows and that’s enough for me
He knows how much my spirit can stand
He’s so concerned for my good
He is so wise and He hears all my cries
He knows what’s best for me
Sometimes it’s hard to pray when He seems so far away
But He’s there and He’s listening to my heart
He reaches down in love
From His heavenly throne above
‘Cause He knows what I need the very most
And when my life is done
And my crown of life is won
Then I’ll know my pain was worth it all…
It’s my guess that the question I’m still waiting for won’t come after you read this. Oh, one more thing. Please don’t think I am being haughty and patting myself on the back. The truest thing I know is this: none of this comes from me. Only God could take a broken man’s life and give it meaning and rhyme.
And Father knows best.