Jesus' Visit

  • July 26, 2016
  • #8932

We are praying for a newly quadriplegic young man to draw closer to Christ as he adjusts to life in a wheelchair.

Jesus' Visit

Welcome to Joni and Friends where we are all about giving Christ-centered encouragement to people with disabilities, especially people who are newly injured. I’m thinking of a young man named Tommy, Tommy lives in Colorado, is well loved at his high school, and came to Christ through Young Life. Earlier this year, though, when he was in Hawaii, playing around in the ocean, Tommy broke his neck. In an instant, this young man became paralyzed, a quadriplegic. I learned about him through some Young Life friends, and followed his progress as he was flown back home and eventually entered a rehab center. Tommy’s friends from Young Life asked me to pray for him and his family which I have been doing, personal prayers, heartfelt prayers. Prayers of empathy and understanding, and prayers salted with tears.

Honestly, there have been times, praying for this young 17-year-old guy newly injured, there’ve been times my heart has just ached for him. And I’ve cried. Which, to me, it’s a little curious, cause it’s not like his story is all that unusual to me. I pray every day for people who suffer accidents and injuries. But Tommy’s story has gripped my heart in a special way. I think it’s because I, too, once was 17 years old. I also came to Christ through Young Life. And I know firsthand the deep disappointment of watching my friends go off to college and get on with their life, while for me, life seemed to grind to a halt.

But looking back (and yes, this Saturday will mark 49 years since I took that dive); looking back, I often reflect on how I encountered Jesus while I was in the hospital. On many nights when I couldn’t sleep and I wanted to cry, instead, I pictured Jesus coming to visit me in the hospital. No, I did not actually see him, but I just imagined what a visit would look like. I pictured Jesus lowering the guard rail of my hospital bed and gently sitting on the edge of the mattress. I imagined him, with one hand, gently brushing back my tears and, with the other, showing me the nail prints in his hand. And though I did not audibly hear anything, I used to imagine Him saying, “Joni, see these nail prints? If I’d loved you enough to die for you, really, don’t you think I can be trusted with this?” And although I was hurting and still confused about the Bible, that simple encounter was such a huge comfort. It was comforting because it was all about Jesus. When you focus on Jesus, the depression and discouragement can’t help but eventually melt away.

And this is what I’m praying for Tommy. Cut through all the ups and downs of adjusting to quadriplegia, he will encounter Jesus. For if Jesus loved Tommy enough to die for him – and he did – then he can be trusted with what’s ahead.

You know, a hospital really can be a gymnasium for the soul. It really can be a place where you draw closer to Christ. And Dr. John Piper reflects on this in his new little booklet “10 Lessons from a Hospital Bed.” I’d love to send it today as my free gift, so please visit my radio page at joniandfriends.org/radio. You’ll love reading it and maybe even passing it on to a friend, maybe someone in the hospital that you know! And please, would you join me in praying for Tommy? Pray as my friends did for me. Pray that he will encounter Christ in a fresh way. Thank you, friend listening, for caring for young people like Tommy, this man who is brand-new to the world of disability.

© Joni and Friends

 

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