Bob Bjerkaas Interview II

  • Feb. 19, 2008
  • #6732

Joni interviews Pastor Bob Bjerkaas and he shares how he his disability has pointed him towards God and brought him witnessing opportunities he would not have had otherwise.

JONI:  Well, the last time we met I was in conversation with our new pastor at our little PCA church, the Reverend Bob Bjerkaas.  Bob comes from my home state of Maryland so out here in California it's kind of fun having a fellow Marylander.  Welcome back, Bob.

BOB:  Thank you for having me again.

JONI:  The last time you were here you were talking about your disability, retinitis pigmentosa.  I still have that picture of two toilet paper rolls to my eyes and the limitations that put on your peripheral vision.  That's pretty serious.  You don't drive so describe to our friends how you get yourself to church on a weekday.  What do you do?

BOB:  Well, I thank my God for my wife who has two eyes that work and can drive me in the morning.  It's a great blessing.  One thing that I've learned is that when you have a limitation, look at it as an opportunity to receive help.

JONI:  I was going to ask you that. You're a guy, you're pushing 40, you're a bright man, it is hard to ask for help?

BOB:  It is, but you know it's the kind of thing you can get better at.  There's hope for the typical American male.  I know that we can even find it funny sometimes.  You've seen the grocery stores that have the carts that look like a car.  Once in Vermont we were walking into one of them and the grocery store had just bought those carts and I heard my son say to his sister, "No, no, you have to sit there because the girls do all the driving."  So you have to learn to laugh about these things, but I get rides into work after my wife drops the kids off at school she takes me to work and I really enjoy riding the bus home.

JONI:  Now you take a transfer to get the bus route.

BOB:  What I do is I walk.  I have a walk about ¼ mile from the church office to the bus stop and then I ride the bus for about 8 miles and then I have about a 20 minute walk to get home from the last bus stop.

JONI:  But I've heard you say you like riding the bus.

BOB:  I love it!  It's one of those things where if I believe that what God says in His word is true that His strength is made perfect in my weakness I have to look at those opportunities when I am challenged, when I have some difficulty brought about by my weakness as an opportunity that God wants to display his strength and so I say "What is the opportunity here?"  Well, riding the bus forces me to meet people I would not otherwise have met.  I've had conversations with people on the bus regarding everything from when is Jesus going to come back again to is the Bible true?

JONI:  Great!

BOB:  And these are people that I would never have met if I had been someone with good eyes, so...

JONI:  ...and people who might never darken the door of a church or open up God's word.

BOB:  Well, in one case I know that to be true.                 

JONI:  Wow!

BOB:  Those are just blessings that come about because of circumstances I have as a result of a limitation.

JONI:  Well thank you for that attitude.  That speaks to me in a wheelchair.  And, Bob, with the time we've got left I know there are a couple of young people with disabilities, struggling to come to grips with what God is doing.  What advice would you give them?

BOB:  I would say, "Always seek God, never run."  I know that in simplest terms we can do two things: when we're hurting and when we're struggling, when we're full of grief or fear we can either try to hide from God or we can just go running to him and say, "God I'm hurting, I'm lonely, I'm sad, I'm afraid, I'm crushed."  I would plead with you young people if your listening or folks approaching 40 like me or older never run from God, always run to Him and know that He loves you and invites you to come and He is capable of binding broken hearts and wiping tears.  He's capable.

JONI:  Well, coming from a man with retinitis pigmentosa who has severe limitations, legally blind, speaking to me in this wheelchair that says a lot!     Thanks, Bob.

BOB:  Thank you.

©  Joni and Friends

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