Joni shares a story of a time when she encouraged a person with quadriplegia who was depressed and without hope.
I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with a story that, I know, will touch your heart.
It was maybe 10 years ago when I was asked to call a quadriplegic in Texas, a man who had given up on life – Ron had served as a pastor until a motorcycle accident crushed his spinal cord. The accident also crushed all his hopes and dreams for his church. Now, having resigned the pastorate, he was resigned to lying in a dark bedroom, completely depressed. Bev, his wife had reached out to me, hoping that I might be able to somehow shake him out of his despair. When I called their home, she tucked the phone under his ear. I could barely hear him breathe, and he was pretty quiet even though I shared my story, shared some scriptures, talked about prayer, heaven, and even sang a hymn. Nothing, nothing moved this guy lying there in a dark bedroom, shades closed. He only grunted at my encouragements.
I had to pray, oh Jesus, help me help this man, show me how to make a connection with him! Suddenly I had an idea. I remembered an old movie, and decided to borrow a few lines from it. I took a deep breath and said, "Ron, there are maybe 15,000 other quadriplegics like us who are wondering right now whether or not it's worth getting out of bed. For them, it's either (now here’s the line from the movie) 'get busy living or get busy dying.' I'm going to join them in getting busy living today – and Ron, I want you to join us. Because hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things… and no good thing ever dies."
Suddenly I heard life on the other end of the phone. He actually responded and told me he liked that movie too. Well, I told Ron, the thing about hope is really very biblical. Romans 15 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
“That verse is for you, Ron. It was written for you.” Trust him with this accident and you’ll have hope that will get you busy living!” Three months later, a little reticent, he decided to come to Family Retreat with his wife Bev. It changed his life. Jesus became his reason for getting out of bed. And eventually, Ron was able to wheel back into his pulpit, and into a national prayer ministry that even hired him on to serve as prayer director for his region. Sadly, though, a few months ago, Ron went home to be with the Lord. I will miss him sorely (our ministry Joni and Friends did a TV episode about him that I'd love for you to watch… just go to joniandfriends.org).
Yes, I will miss Ron; a little piece of my heart always accompanies quad-friends who head home to heaven; sometimes, a bit too early, it seems. But Ron's example inspires me still – and I hope you, too. Maybe you’re having a tough time getting up in the morning and facing the day… and you’ve lost your desire to get busy living. Some deep disappointment in your life has blind-sided you, and drained you of all hope. Well remember from Romans chapter 15 that hope really is the best of things. And the God of hope can fill your heart with his hope today as you decide to haul yourself out of bed and get busy living for Jesus. ‘Cause if a quadriplegic named Ron could find the strength to get out of his dark bedroom and start trusting the Lord with his life, moment by moment, then you too can find that same strength and more. And what more can I say except “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Hey find some extra hope by getting inspired by Ron’s story today at joniandfriends.org. And friend, get busy living…
© Joni and Friends
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