If you could choose just one thing to change about your life, what would it be? What causes you the most discomfort or pain? What tempts you towards apathy or discouragement?
Last week while in Pulcallpa, Peru, my husband met a man named Victor. Victor contracted polio as a small child and was left paralyzed from the waist down as a result. As he got older, he became painfully aware of how much he burdened his family, both socially and physically. The cultural norm was to shame families of those with disabilities, so for years Victor was hidden away in his room as much as possible. On top of the embarrassment, his daily care was a burden to a family that was already struggling to meet their very basic needs.
When Victor’s hopelessness about his situation became more than he could bear, he decided to take his own life. He wrote his family a note, left it under his pillow, and wheeled himself to a bridge with rushing water below. He figured that this was the most selfless thing he could do. Just as he was about to drive his wheelchair off the bridge, an acquaintance from the town drove by on a brand new motorcycle. The man asked Victor if he wanted a ride. Thinking it may be a great last thrill, Victor agreed to go.
Once the ride was over, Victor worried that someone may find his note before he had actually followed through with his plan. He rushed home, hid the note, and decided to try another day. Thankfully that day never came because he and his mother turned to God in prayer. One night his mom, full of emotion, earnestly begged God to heal her son’s paralysis. After the prayer, Victor’s feet began to tingle. Through the night, the tingling increased and spread to his legs. By the next day, he told his mom he needed to stand. Not believing that was possible, she reminded him that he was paralyzed and couldn’t get out of his wheelchair. But he was insistent that he needed to walk, so she reluctantly helped him up. From that day until now, Victor has walked on his own.
So what is Victor doing now? He has founded and directs The Refuge of Hope in Pulcallpa, Peru where he and a team serve abandoned and disabled children that are walking through the same trials he experienced. God used the many years of despair that he endured to give Victor a heart for this ministry. Now hundreds of children, once rejected and without hope, have found love and healing at this center.
There are many takeaways here, but two things I want to emphasize: 1) God will not waste our pain. 2) Our situation is never beyond His mighty hand.
Sometimes in the middle of a trial, we just need to be reminded that there is purpose in our hardship. God used the years that Victor was paralyzed to give him a heart for children with disabilities; this passion eventually led him to open The Refuge of Hope that has changed hundreds of lives and brought countless children to Christ. Maybe your pain is marriage difficulties. Maybe it’s a wayward child, loneliness, infertility, financial crisis, or work issues. Whatever it is, God will redeem our stories and use it for His glory. As impossible as that may seem right now, He is more than able.
Which brings me to my second point. Our trials are never beyond the hand of God. It may feel funny, but I’d encourage you to say it out loud: My trial is not beyond the hand of God. Doesn’t it feel great to speak in faith? Now, let’s really freak out the co-worker in the cube next to us or our little people at home by saying things like this out loud all day! When we pray, we aren’t talking at the air. We are petitioning a God that heals the sick, calls out demons, opens wombs, raises the dead, parts seas, and calms storms. And not just thousands of years ago. No, he does these things today. If you find that hard to believe, I’d encourage you to buy one of these books to boost your faith in a BIG God: The Heavenly Man, Living Water, Revolution in World Missions, and Miraculous Movements (just to name a few!). These books are filled with present-day testimonies of God’s miraculous hand throughout the world.
Be encouraged! You may be in the oven, but God has his hand on the temperature dial and the door. When you’re perfectly prepared for your next assignment, He will turn off the heat and direct you into your destiny. He sees you. He hears you. His hand is on you, and it’s mighty to save!