Joni and Friends Blog
SCI Awareness Month
Glorify God whatever the suffering.
Back in 2013, Jay Erwin became paralyzed when a tree he was sawing crashed down on him, severing his spinal cord. As a marathon runner, many of his dreams ended right there and then. At the same time, Jay remembered a promise he had made to glorify God ‘whatever the suffering.’ He decided to do just that, and began exploring ways to help others suffering injury to their spinal cord. In fact, not long ago, he invited me to join a spinal-cord injury support group he started on Facebook. I was surprised to discover that it has more than 10,000 members!
Obviously, this Christian brother touched on a genuine need when he began this online peer-support group. I know I appreciate ‘talking shop’ with other people living with paralyzing injuries – whether it’s about new seat cushions, wheelchair design, or ‘here’s a cranberry-supplement that really works on UTIs!’ Sometimes it is just helpful to be able to say “You, too?”
I’m thinking about words that resonate with fellow wheelchair users because it’s Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month. The National SCI Statistics Center estimates that 288,000 people in the US have sustained a spinal cord injury. And yet, when someone first suffers injury to their spinal column, often they feel isolated, as though no one else can possibly understand. This is true for both the one paralyzed, and their family members. Only years after my catastrophic accident did I realize how lonely my own mother felt as she struggled to accept the permanent paralysis of her youngest daughter.
“If God can raise the dead, then He can raise your spirits.”
If you or someone you know are new to spinal cord injury, don’t remain isolated. In this age of social media and the world-wide web, it is so easy to connect with like-hearted people who are living full, rich lives from a wheelchair… and glorifying God while they do it.
Hey, I’d like to hear from you if you have an injury to your cervical, thoracic, or lumbar vertebrae. For although “we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:9). And if God can raise the dead, then He can raise your spirits, even if you have a paralyzing injury to your spinal cord!
When we share our hearts, burdens are lifted and joy is multiplied – thank you for telling me about the Lord’s work in your life! Some of what you share may end up being a part of one of our radio programs. Thank you for encouraging me and others with your story!