It has been four months. Four months since my husband was shot in a random crime event at a rest stop. This event made national news; total strangers would stop and tell me they were praying for us, for him.
We felt the prayers, felt the very Presence of our Sovereign Lord. Even as I would walk in his hospital room and tickle his feet, looking for any sign of a previous sensitivity to having his feet tickled, I felt the prayers. Even when there was no feet-jerking, I knew God was in control.
It has been four months. I still tickle his feet, and still...nothing. He has some sensation on his right leg and can just move his thigh a little, using groin muscles, but we'll take it. God is still in control.
He is very zippy in his new, permanent wheelchair.....as I write this last sentence, the word "permanent" leaps off the screen as though it's 3D. Dealing with the permanency of paraplegia due to a random crime event is the stuff of nightmares. One minute you're driving your family home from an out-of-state Thanksgiving visit; the next, it's four months later and your husband is zipping around the house in a wheelchair that's scarlet and gray, just like his alma mater, The Ohio State University.
The overnight permanency of it just hurts terribly, in a raw and unforgiving part of my heart. For both Greg and I know that a decade or two from now I'll still be helping him go to the bathroom, bathe, dress, and get in and out of bed. It's only been four months -- but we know this is our life now. The newness has worn off the "new normal" and this is what there is.
Still, God is sovereign. Strangers will still stop me and tell me they continue to pray for him, that they "feel he will walk again." That God has told them this. Friends from church will say this too, with all the well-meaning they can muster. But they don't see what I see: muscles withering away, feet dropping as though the very muscles holding them upright as he lays in bed have just disappeared.
I don't believe that true faith is based on "feelings." I believe true faith is based on the Character and Person of God, made known through His Word, the Bible. I believe that God is Sovereign. What if my husband never walks again? I don't believe the word "if" has any Kingdom-building relevance.
I believe, and Greg does too, that our mighty and sovereign Lord can use this. He has a plan. It may -- no, definitely -- was not our plan for Greg to be a paraplegic at 43 years old. But God has a plan. The bullet stopped in his L1 vertabrae; a half-inch in any direction, and it would have killed him. God has a plan. The bullet might have been fired in an attempted robbery, but God placed it where He wanted it so it would not kill Greg, but that His plan -- whatever that is -- may be fulfilled.
It was not Joseph's plan to be thrown into a pit and sold off into slavery. But God used that in His plan. It was His plan to have a drought come and Joseph save Egypt; it was His plan to have his brothers come looking for food; it was His plan for them to be reconciled and the 11 move to Egypt with all their kin; it was His plan for an evil Pharaoh to rise up and enslave the Hebrews. It was His plan to have Moses be spared and live as an Egyptian, then to be exiled; it was His plan for Moses to come back with a stick and show the Pharaoh the Power and Awesomeness of God; it was God's plan that the angel of death would pass over, killing every first-born who lived in a house that did not have the blood of a lamb brushed on the top and sides of doorways. It was God's plan that this entire story would be played out again with His Son, Jesus. What might have happened had Joseph not been thrown into that pit? God uses what we think are random life events in His plan and for His glory.
God has a plan. What if he never walks again? Why must someone use their legs to share the Gospel and do His work? Greg coached 7-8 year old basketball and is now coaching 4-6 year old t-ball at our church. What life lessons are being taught to the kids by having a coach who still invests in them, despite being in a wheelchair? What is he teaching them about God?
God has a plan for Greg, for me, for our family. The route is not easy. There's a lot of pain involved. When he grimaces from the relentless sciatica that is almost always present in his right leg or from his lower back, or the sensitive nerve endings all over his body, it's hard to see God's plan, but even in all that -- GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL. That bullet did not throw God off His throne.
Here's the thing: in order to really, really walk with Christ, you must be surrendered to Him. You must be all-in to His plan. John 3:30 states, "He must become greater; I must become less." Once we learn that it's all about Christ and not about us, we will have the joy of our salvation. It's all about Jesus. It's not about us, or the wheelchair, or the fact that unless God wants him to, my husband will never walk again.
And that, if it is God's plan, is okay. Because I know that one day, either by death or by rapture, Greg will have a new body, a resurrection body, complete with legs that work. It is our prayer, and has been all along, that people will be impacted by God working in our lives and be open to hearing the Gospel so that they too, may come to know the Risen Savior. Genesis 50:20 states, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."
After four months, that is still our prayer, that God will use this for His glory.
(c) 2016 Terrie McKee
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